Category Archives: Inspirational/Self-Help

New inspirational books for relationships, self-help, health, spiritual improvements

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Flatiron Books
September 2, 2014
Hardcover

After film critic Gene Siskel asked her, “What do you know for sure?” Oprah Winfrey began writing the “What I Know For Sure” column in O, The Oprah Magazine. Saying that the question offered her a way to take “stock of her life,” Oprah has penned one column a month over the last fourteen years, years in which she retired The Oprah Winfrey Show (the highest-rated program of its kind in history), launched her own television network, became America’s only black billionaire, was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard University and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, watched friends and colleagues come and go, lost beloved pets and adopted new ones, and celebrated milestone birthdays. Throughout it all, she’s continued to offer her profound and inspiring words of wisdom in her “What I Know For Sure” column in O, The Oprah Magazine.

Now, for the first time, these thoughtful gems have been revised, updated, and collected in What I Know For Sure, a beautiful book packed with insight and revelation from Oprah Winfrey. Organized by theme — joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power — these essays offer a rare and powerful glimpse into the mind of one of the world’s most extraordinary women. Candid, moving, exhilarating, uplifting, and dynamic, the words Oprah shares in What I Know For Sure shimmer with the sort of wisdom and truth that readers will turn to again and again.

Essence Magazine, June-2014

Essence Magazine’s Book Features for June 2014

Essence Magazine’s book selections for June 2014, featuring their “Summer Reading Challenge” (Wendy Williams’ “Hold Me in Contempt,” Walter Mosley’s “Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore,” Morowa Yejide’s “Time of the Locust,” Cynthia Bond’s “Ruby,” Lauren Francis-Sharma’s’s “‘Til the Well Runs Dry,” and Elizabeth Nunez’ “Not for Everyday Use”), Toni Braxton’s memoir “Unbreak My Heart,” and T.D. Jakes’ “Instinct”:

Hold Me in Contempt: A Romance by Wendy Williams

Move over 50 Shades, there’s a new romance in town. Superstar Wendy Williams brings on the heat in her first ever, no-holds-barred, down and dirty, romance novel.

Kimberly Kind is trying to get beyond her roots. A successful, beautiful, smart lawyer, she’s finally finding direction in her life and getting out of the streets. But a terrible accident threatens to throw her carefully laid plans off course. Now Kim’s hiding a huge secret — one that could threaten everything.

Enter King. A perfect mix of Justin Timberlake and David Beckham, the man oozes sex and has more swagger than anyone Kim’s ever met. Their chemistry is off the charts. But after passion-filled nights, the intensity of their emotions takes both of them by surprise.

Love was not supposed to be an option. Now it’s the only thing holding them together. When their pasts come back with a vengeance, can love possibly be enough?

Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore: A Novel by Walter Mosley

In this scorching, mournful, often explicit, and never less than moving literary novel by the famed creator of the Easy Rawlins series, Debbie Dare, a black porn queen, has to come to terms with her sordid life in the adult entertainment industry after her tomcatting husband dies in a hot tub. Electrocuted. With another woman in there with him. Debbie decides she just isn’t going to “do it anymore.” But executing her exit strategy from the porn world is a wrenching and far from simple process.

Millions of men (and no doubt many women) have watched famed black porn queen Debbie Dare — she of the blond wig and blue contacts — “do it” on television and computer screens every which way with every combination of partners the mind of man can imagine. But one day an unexpected and thunderous on-set orgasm catches Debbie unawares, and when she returns to the mansion she shares with her husband, insatiable former porn star and “film producer” Theon Pinkney, she discovers that he’s died in a case of hot tub electrocution, “auditioning” an aspiring “starlet.” Burdened with massive debts that her husband incurred, and which various L.A. heavies want to collect on, Debbie must reckon with a life spent in the peculiar subculture of the pornography industry and her estrangement from her family and the child she had to give up. She’s done with porn, but her options for what might come next include the possibility of suicide. Debbie . . . is a portrait of a ransacked but resilient soul in search of salvation and a cure for grief.

Time of the Locust: A Novel by Morowa Yejide

Travel into the heart and mind of an extraordinary autistic boy in this deeply imaginative debut novel of a mother’s devotion, a father’s punishment, and the power of love.

Sephiri is an autistic boy who lives in a world of his own making, where he dwells among imagined sea creatures that help him process information in the “real world” in which he is forced to live. But lately he has been having dreams of a mysterious place, and he starts creating fantastical sketches of this strange, inner world.

Brenda, Sephiri’s mother, struggles with raising her challenged child alone. Her only wish is to connect with him — a smile on his face would be a triumph. Meanwhile, Sephiri’s father, Horus, is sentenced to life in prison, making life even lonelier for Brenda and Sephiri. Yet prison is still not enough to separate father and son. In the seventh year of his imprisonment and the height of his isolation, Horus develops supernatural mental abilities that allow him to reach his son. Memory and yearning carry him outside his body, and through the realities of their ordeals and dreamscape, Horus and Sephiri find each other — and find hope in ways never imagined.

Deftly portrayed by the remarkable and talented up-and-comer Morowa Yejide, Time of the Locust is a brilliant narrative about the psychological realms of solitude, youth, and wonder. At its heart, this is a harrowing, surreal, and redemptive journey to the union of a family.

Ruby: A Novel by Cynthia Bond

The epic, unforgettable story of a man determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her — this beautiful and devastating debut heralds the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.

Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city–the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village–all the while hoping for a glimpse of the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When a telegram from her cousin forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby Bell finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage. This wondrous page-turner rushes through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom’s Juke, to Celia Jennings’s kitchen where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby. Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man’s dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love.

‘Til the Well Runs Dry: A Novel by Lauren Francis-Sharma

A glorious and moving multi-generational, multicultural saga that begins in the 1940s and sweeps through the 1960′s in Trinidad and the United States.

Lauren Francis-Sharma‘s ‘Til the Well Runs Dry opens in a seaside village in the north of Trinidad where young Marcia Garcia, a gifted and smart-mouthed 16-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk Karam, an ambitious young policeman (so taken with Marcia that he elicits the help of a tea-brewing obeah woman to guarantee her ardor), the risks and rewards in Marcia’s life amplify forever.

On an island rich with laughter, Calypso, Carnival, cricket, beaches and salty air, sweet fruits and spicy stews, the novel follows Marcia and Farouk from their amusing and passionate courtship through personal and historical events that threaten Marcia’s secret, entangle the couple and their children in a scandal, and endanger the future for all of them.

‘Til the Well Runs Dry tells the twinned stories of a spirited woman’s love for one man and her bottomless devotion to her children. For readers who cherish the previously untold stories of women’s lives, here is a story of grit and imperfection and love that has not been told before.

Not for Everyday Use: A Memoir by Elizabeth Nunez

Tracing the four days from the moment she gets the call that every immigrant fears to the burial of her mother, Elizabeth Nunez tells the haunting story of her lifelong struggle to cope with the consequences of the “sterner stuff” of her parents’ ambitions for their children and her mother’s seemingly unbreakable conviction that displays of affection are not for everyday use.

But Nunez sympathizes with her parents, whose happiness is constrained by the oppressive strictures of colonialism, by the Catholic Church’s prohibition of artificial birth control which her mother obeys, terrified by the threat of eternal damnation (her mother gets pregnant fourteen times: nine live births and five miscarriages which almost kill her), and by what Malcolm Gladwell refers to as the “privilege of skin color” in his mother’s Caribbean island homeland where “the brown-skinned classes…came to fetishize their lightness.” Still, a fierce love holds this family together, and the passionate, though complex, love Nunez’s parents have for each other will remind readers of the passion between the aging lovers in Gabriel Garcia Marquez‘s Love in the Time of Cholera. Written in exquisite prose by a writer the New York Times Book Review calls “a master at pacing and plotting,” Not for Everyday Use is a page-turner that readers will find impossible to put down.

Unbreak My Heart: A Memoir by Toni Braxton

In this heartfelt memoir, six-time Grammy Award-winning artist and star of WE TV’s reality hit, Braxton Family Values, Toni Braxton writes about her personal life decisions and their impact on her health, family and career.

While Braxton appears to be living a gilded life — selling 60 million records, appearing in sold-out Las Vegas performances and hit shows like “Dancing with the Stars,” and starring in her own reality series — hers is in fact a tumultuous story, a tale of triumph over a life filled with obstacles, including two bankruptcy filings. The mother of an autistic child, Braxton long feared that her son’s condition might be karmic retribution for earlier life choices, some of which will shock fans. But when heart ailments began plaguing her at the age of 41 and she was diagnosed with Lupus, Braxton knew she had to move beyond the self-recrimination and take charge of her own healing.

Intensely honest and deeply inspirational, Unbreak My Heart is the never-before-told story of the measures Braxton took to make herself and her family whole again.

Instinct: The Power to Unleash Your Inborn Drive by T. D. Jakes

Modern life can seem like being lost in a jungle. With distractions and dangers emerging from every direction, it’s easy to lose focus. Over time, we lose touch with one of our most powerful, purposeful, God-given attributes–the desire to be fruitful and multiply, what Bishop T. D. Jakes calls our “instinct for increase.”

Combining historical, cultural, and personal examples with biblical insights, in INSTINCT, Bishop Jakes outlines how to re-discover your natural aptitudes and re-claim the wisdom of your past experiences. When attuned to divinely inspired instincts, you will become in sync with the opportunities life presents and discover a fresh abundance of resources. Knowing when to close a deal, when to take a risk, and when to listen to your heart will become possible when you’re in touch with the instincts that God gave you.

Bishop T.D. Jakes — iconic preacher, bestselling author, and entrepreneur–has inspired millions of people around the world. Here he writes from the peak of his personal power about how to experience the satisfaction of a life well lived. If you long to conquer the jungles of life, INSTINCT offers the personal and professional tools needed to navigate your course successfully and according to God’s design.

Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple by Russell Simmons

Master entrepreneur, original hip-hop mogul, and New York Times bestselling author Russell Simmons shares the most fundamental key to success — meditation — and guides readers to use stillness as a powerful tool to access their potential.

In the New York Times bestseller Super Rich, Russell Simmons proved that to be rich is more than just having money in the bank — wealth is about balance, joy, and conscientious living.

In Success Through Stillness, Simmons shows the connection between inner peace and outward success through interviews with other successful leaders in various industries, and how learning to be still has been instrumental in his own career. Simmons attributes his meditation practice with changing his life for the better and says that there is no “bad” way to meditate, only different forms for different people.

In this highly anticipated new book, Russell Simmons guides readers into finding greater clarity and focus, and explains how to be healthier in both mind and body. Simmons’ breaks down what he’s learned from masters of meditation into a guide that is accessible to those unfamiliar with the practice.

Ebony Magazine cover, March 2014

Ebony Magazine’s Book Choices for March 2014

Ebony Magazine’s March 2014 book selections:

Red Now and Laters: A Novel
Marcus J. Guillory

In this impressive debut Marcus J. Guillory brilliantly weaves together the many obstacles of a young man growing into adulthood, the realities of urban life, the history of Louisiana Creole culture, the glory of the black cowboy, and the role of religion in shaping lives.

South Park, Houston, Texas, 1977, is where we first meet Ti’ John, a young boy under the care of his larger-than life father — a working-class rodeo star and a practitioner of vodou—and his mother — a good Catholic and cautious disciplinarian — who forbids him to play with the neighborhood “hoodlums.” Ti’ John, throughout the era of Reaganomics and the dawn of hip-hop and cassette tapes, must negotiate the world around him and a peculiar gift he’s inherited from his father and Jules Saint-Pierre “Nonc” Sonnier, a deceased ancestor who visits the boy, announcing himself with the smell of smoke on a regular basis. In many ways, Ti’ John is an ordinary kid who loses his innocence as he witnesses violence and death, as he gets his heart broken by girls and his own embittered father, as he struggles to live up to his mother’s middle-class aspirations and his father’s notion of what it is to be a man. In other ways, he is different — from his childhood buddies and from the father who is his hero.

The question throughout this layered and complex coming-of-age story is will Ti’ John survive the bad side of life — and his upbringing — and learn how to recognize and keep what is good.

Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South
Blain Roberts

From the South’s pageant queens to the importance of beauty parlors to African American communities, it is easy to see the ways beauty is enmeshed in southern culture. But as Blain Roberts shows in this incisive work, the pursuit of beauty in the South was linked to the tumultuous racial divides of the region, where the Jim Crow-era cosmetics industry came of age selling the idea of makeup that emphasized whiteness, and where, in the 1950s and 1960s, black-owned beauty shops served as crucial sites of resistance for civil rights activists. In these times of strained relations in the South, beauty became a signifier of power and affluence while it reinforced racial strife.

Roberts examines a range of beauty products, practices, and rituals–cosmetics, hairdressing, clothing, and beauty contests–in settings that range from tobacco farms of the Great Depression to 1950s and 1960s college campuses. In so doing, she uncovers the role of female beauty in the economic and cultural modernization of the South. By showing how battles over beauty came to a head during the civil rights movement, Roberts sheds new light on the tactics southerners used to resist and achieve desegregation.

Saint Monkey: A Novel
Jacinda Townsend

A stunning debut novel of two girls raised in hardship, separated by fortune, and reunited through tragedy.

Fourteen-year-old Audrey Martin, with her Poindexter glasses and her head humming the 3/4 meter of gospel music, knows she’ll never get out of Kentucky — but when her fingers touch the piano keys, the whole church trembles. Her best friend, Caroline, daydreams about Hollywood stardom, but both girls feel destined to languish in a slow-moving stopover town in Montgomery County.

That is, until chance intervenes and a booking agent offers Audrey a ticket to join the booming jazz scene in Harlem — an offer she can’t resist, not even for Caroline. And in New York City the music never stops. Audrey flirts with love and takes the stage at the Apollo, with its fast-dancing crowds and blinding lights. But fortunes can turn fast in the city — young talent means tough competition, and for Audrey failure is always one step away. Meanwhile, Caroline sinks into the quiet anguish of a Black woman in a backwards country, where her ambitions and desires only slip further out of reach.

Jacinda Townsend’s remarkable first novel is a coming-of-age story made at once gripping and poignant by the wild energy of the Jazz Era and the stark realities of segregation. Marrying musical prose with lyric vernacular, Saint Monkey delivers a stirring portrait of American storytelling and marks the appearance of an auspicious new voice in literary fiction.

The Secret of Magic
Deborah Johnson

In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.

Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.

As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest.

Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past.The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.

The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery
Sarah Lewis

It is one of the enduring enigmas of the human experience: many of our most iconic, creative endeavors — from Nobel Prize-winning discoveries to entrepreneurial inventions and works in the arts — are not achievements but conversions, corrections after failed attempts.

The gift of failure is a riddle. Like the number zero, it will always be both a void and the start of infinite possibility. The Rise — a soulful celebration of the determination and courage of the human spirit — makes the case that many of our greatest triumphs come from understanding the importance of this mystery.

This exquisite biography of an idea is about the improbable foundations of creative human endeavor. The Rise begins with narratives about figures past and present who range from writers to entrepreneurs; Frederick Douglass, Samuel F. B. Morse, and J. K. Rowling, for example, feature alongside choreographer Paul Taylor, Nobel Prize-winning physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, Arctic explorer Ben Saunders, and psychology professor Angela Duckworth.

The Rise explores the inestimable value of often ignored ideas — the power of surrender for fortitude, the criticality of play for innovation, the propulsion of the near win on the road to mastery, and the importance of grit and creative practice. From an uncommonly insightful writer, The Rise is a true masterwork.

Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, and Southern Flavors Remixed by Bryant Terry



Hardcover
April 8, 2014
Ten Speed Press
African, Caribbean, and southern food are all known and loved as vibrant and flavor-packed cuisines. In Afro-Vegan, renowned chef and food justice activist Bryant Terry reworks and remixes the favorite staples, ingredients, and classic dishes of the African Diaspora to present wholly new, creative culinary combinations that will amaze vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.

Blending these colorful cuisines results in delicious recipes like Smashed Potatoes, Peas, and Corn with Chile-Garlic Oil, a recipe inspired by the Kenyan dish irio, and Cinnamon-Soaked Wheat Berry Salad with dried apricots, carrots, and almonds, which is based on a Moroccan tagine. Creamy Coconut-Cashew Soup with Okra, Corn, and Tomatoes pays homage to a popular Brazilian dish while incorporating classic Southern ingredients, and Crispy Teff and Grit Cakes with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Peanuts combines the Ethiopian grain teff with stone-ground corn grits from the Deep South and North African zalook dip. There’s perfect potluck fare, such as the simple, warming, and intensely flavored Collard Greens and Cabbage with Lots of Garlic, and the Caribbean-inspired Cocoa Spice Cake with Crystallized Ginger and Coconut-Chocolate Ganache, plus a refreshing Roselle-Rooibos Drink that will satisfy any sweet tooth.

With more than 100 modern and delicious dishes that draw on Terry’s personal memories as well as the history of food that has traveled from the African continent, Afro-Vegan takes you on an international food journey. Accompanying the recipes are Terry’s insights about building community around food, along with suggested music tracks from around the world and book recommendations. For anyone interested in improving their well-being, Afro-Vegan‘s groundbreaking recipes offer innovative, plant-based global cuisine that is fresh, healthy, and forges a new direction in vegan cooking.

The Tiara: 5 Ways to Reign as Queen of Your Castle by Lakia Shauntee Brandenburg



Paperback
December 20, 2013
Perfectly Imperfect Publishing Company
Lakia fulfilled her journey by saying “I do.” Now she’s learning how to effectively communicate with her husband, love him, and keep their intimacy alive. But these lessons were not learned without a little help from an imaginary headpiece. For wives and wives-to-be, Lakia is back to present you with The Tiara, an acronym that details what a wife should do after saying, “I do.” In The Tiara, Lakia reveals five principles that will give a wife the power to strengthen the love, intimacy, and communication that she has with her spouse. Sharing personal stories and providing practical steps for any wife to follow, The Tiara is a must-read if you want to understand how to reign as queen of your castle.

Essence Magazine’s Book Features for January 2014

Essence Magazine’s book selections for January 2014, including “Patrik’s Picks,” “A Writer to Watch,” “10 Ways to Gain Financial Freedom,” and “Redefining Realness”:


St. Martin’s Griffin, 1/28/2014, Kindle Edition

St. Martin’s Griffin, 1/28/2014, Paperback

Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana Byrd and Lori L. Tharps

Two world wars, the Civil Rights movement, and a Jheri curl later, Blacks in America continue to have a complex and convoluted relationship with their hair. From the antebellum practice of shaving the head in an attempt to pass as a free person to the 1998 uproar over a White third-grade teacher’s reading of the book Nappy Hair, the issues surrounding Black hair continue to linger as we enter the twenty-first century.Hair Story is a historical and anecdotal exploration of Black Americans’ tangled hair roots. A chronological look at the culture and politics behind the ever-changing state of Black hair from fifteenth-century Africa to the present-day United States, it ties the personal to the political and the popular.Read about:
* Why Black American slaves used items like axle grease and eel skin to straighten their hair.
* How a Mexican chemist straightened Black hair using his formula for turning sheep’s wool into a minklike fur.
* How the Afro evolved from militant style to mainstream fashion trend.
* What prompted the creation of the Jheri curl and the popular style’s fall from grace.
* The story behind Bo Derek’s controversial cornrows and the range of reactions they garnered.

Major figures in the history of Black hair are presented, from early hair-care entrepreneurs Annie Turnbo Malone and Madam C. J. Walker to unintended hair heroes like Angela Davis and Bob Marley. Celebrities, stylists, and cultural critics weigh in on the burgeoning sociopolitical issues surrounding Black hair, from the historically loaded terms good and bad hair, to Black hair in the workplace, to mainstream society’s misrepresentation and misunderstanding of kinky locks.Hair Story is the book that Black Americans can use as a benchmark for tracing a unique aspect of their history, and it’s a book that people of all races will celebrate as the reference guide for understanding Black hair.


Three Ducks in a Row Publishing, 6/19/2013, Kindle Edition

Paperback

Me First: A Deliciously Selfish Take on Life by C. Nicole Mason

Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if it revolved around you? Me First: A Deliciously Selfish Take on Life is an unapologetic and hilarious perspective on what it takes to get to the top and to live life on your own terms.

Before making any big decision such as getting into a relationship or choosing a career path—you will start with the most important question: What do I want? The second question you will ask is: How does this decision, action, or choice benefit me directly? If it’s not what you want or does not benefit you directly, don’t do it. At the heart of Me First is the belief that YOU deserve to be happy and fulfilled. Its “Delish-isms” will show you how to become the number one priority in your life and become smarter and more strategic about your relationships, career, health, and finances. Every chapter also contains “Kick Starters” to help you get moving in the right direction. How selfish, right? Absolutely! A deliciously selfish life means taking a step back from the craziness to figure out who you are and what you want, and once you do, to own it. Because the only person holding you back from getting what you want is you.


St. Martin’s Press, 12/31/2013, Hardcover

Paperback

Super Shred: The Big Results Diet: 4 Weeks 20 Pounds Lose It Faster! by Ian K. Smith

Using the same principles—meal spacing, snacking, meal replacement and diet confusion—that made his SHRED a major #1 bestseller—Dr. Ian has developed what dieters told him they needed: a quick-acting plan that is safe and easy to follow at home, at work, or on the road.

It’s a program with four week-long cycles:
–Foundation, when you’ll eat four meals and three snacks a day, start shedding pounds and set yourself up for success
–Accelerate, when you’ll kick it up and speed up weight loss
–Shape, the toughest week in the program, and the one that will get your body back by keeping it guessing
–Tenacious, a final sprint that cements your improved eating habits and melts off those last stubborn pounds

The SHRED system never leaves you hungry.  It’s a completely new way to lose weight, stay slender, and feel fantastic about your body, mind and spirit!Includes more than 50 all-new recipes for meal replacing smoothies and soups! 


Knopf, 1/28/2014, Kindle Edition

Hardcover

Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

From a breathtaking new voice, a novel about a splintered family in Kenya—a story of power and deceit, unrequited love, survival and sacrifice.

Odidi Oganda, running for his life, is gunned down in the streets of Nairobi. His grief-stricken sister, Ajany, just returned from Brazil, and their father bring his body back to their crumbling home in the Kenyan drylands, seeking some comfort and peace. But the murder has stirred memories long left untouched and unleashed a series of unexpected events: Odidi and Ajany’s mercurial mother flees in a fit of rage; a young Englishman arrives at the Ogandas’ house, seeking his missing father; a hardened policeman who has borne witness to unspeakable acts reopens a cold case; and an all-seeing Trader with a murky identity plots an overdue revenge.

In scenes stretching from the violent upheaval of contemporary Kenya back through a shocking political assassination in 1969 and the Mau Mau uprisings against British colonial rule in the 1950s, we come to learn the secrets held by this parched landscape, buried deep within the shared past of the family and of a conflicted nation. Here is a spellbinding novel about a brother and sister who have lost their way; about how myths come to pass, history is written, and war stains us forever.


Zondervan, 1/26/2010, Kindle Edition

The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom by Michelle Singletary

In her softcover book The Power to Prosper, award-winning writer Michelle Singletary has a field-tested financial challenge for you. For twenty-one days, you will put away your credit cards and buy only what you need for survival. With Michelle’s guidance during this three-week financial fast, you’ll discover how to:
* Break your spending habit
* Handle money with your significant other or your spouse
* Break your bondage to debt with the Debt Dash Plan
* Make smart investments* Be prepared for any contingency with a Life Happens Fund
* Stop worrying about money and find the priceless power of financial peace

As you discover practical ways to achieve financial freedom, you’ll experience something even more amazing … your faith and generosity will increase, too.


Atria Books, 2/4/2014, Kindle Edition

Hardcover

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

An extraordinary young woman recounts her coming-of-age as a transgender teen—a deeply personal and empowering portrait of self-revelation, adversity, and heroism.

In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she publicly stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Since then, Mock has gone from covering the red carpet for People.com to advocating for all those who live within the shadows of society. Redefining Realness offers a bold new perspective on being young, multiracial, economically challenged, and transgender in America. Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock set out early on to be her own person—no simple feat for a young person like herself. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving, yet ill-equipped family that lacked money, education, and resources. Mock had to navigate her way through her teen years without parental guidance but luckily with a few close friends and mentors she overcame extremely daunting hurdles.

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from her early gender conviction to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that found her transitioning through the halls of her school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. Ever resilient, Mock emerged with a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned her masters degree, basked in the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. It wasn’t until Mock fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams that she felt ready to finally tell her story, becoming a fierce advocate for girls like herself. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness shows as never before what it means to be a woman today and how to be yourself when you don’t fit the mold created for you.

Better Than Good Hair: The Curly Girl Guide to Healthy, Gorgeous Natural Hair! by Nikki Walton

Better Than Good Hair: The Curly Girl Guide to Healthy, Gorgeous Natural Hair! by Nikki Walton



Kindle
The fresh new handbook on how to achieve and maintain stylish natural hair, from the savviest and most revered expert on coils and curls

These days there’s a revolution going on. Relaxers are out. Weaves are so yesterday. Tired of damage from expensive chemical treatments and artificial enhancers, women of color are going natural thanks to Nikki Walton of CurlyNikki.com, the natural hair blogger and online hair therapy expert.

In Better Than Good Hair, this gifted “curl whisperer” educates women on how to transition from relaxed to completely natural hair, with advice and styles for every length — from Fierce Braid-and-Curls to Fancy Faux Buns. She also counsels those considering the “big chop” — cutting it all off at once to sport a bold and beautiful “teeny weeny afro.” Here, too, is essential guidance for parents of mixed-race children dealing with new and unfamiliar hair textures and styles.

Combining Walton’s expansive knowledge with tips from other experts in the field, Better Than Good Hair includes:

Product recommendations
Home hair care recipes
Advice for parents on how to manage their children’s natural hair
Tips for using henna on gray hair
Guidance on dealing with detractors
Step-by-step illustrated directions for nearly two dozen hairdos, from frohawks to twist-outs

Full of indispensable information, as empowering as it is accessible, and with a foreword by actress and comedian Kim Wayans, Better Than Good Hair is a must-have natural hair care bible that will help women of all ages and styles achieve their natural beauty.

I Have A Story: Getting Started (Volume 1) by Angela Ardis

I Have A Story: Getting Started (Volume 1) by Angela Ardis

Paperback:


Kindle:
After receiving hundreds of emails and letters from people asking me how to get started writing their books, I decided to put together a “petite” book series that will do just that.

I Have A Story book series gives potential authors a P.S. version to writing without getting stuck with a barrage of verbiage. As they complete each volume, they will begin to see their ideas come to life on the pages of their soon-to-be publications. Volume One will help you formulate the idea then break it down in an effort to rebuild it as the story you envision.

Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation by Aisha Tyler

Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation by Aisha Tyler

In her book Self-Inflicted Wounds, comedian, actress, and cohost of CBS’s daytime hit show The Talk, Aisha Tyler recounts a series of epic mistakes and hilarious stories of crushing personal humiliation, and the personal insights and authentic wisdom she gathered along the way.

The essays in Self-Inflicted Wounds are refreshingly and sometimes brutally honest, surprising, and laugh-out-loud funny, vividly translating the brand of humor Tyler has cultivated through her successful stand-up career, as well as the strong voice and unique point of view she expresses on her taste-making comedy podcast Girl on Guy.

Riotous, revealing, and wonderfully relatable, Aisha Tyler‘s Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation is about the power of calamity to shape life, learning, and success.

Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation Aisha Tyler
It Books
January 21, 2014
Paperback

Believe: The Victorious Story of Eric LeGrand by Eric LeGrand

Young Readers’ Edition:

The inspirational story of Eric LeGrand . . . also adapted for young readers!

On October 16, 2010, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was known as a key performer on the field and a much-loved teammate who could make anyone smile. But in the heated fourth quarter of a tie game against Army, everything changed in a moment. A crushing tackle left him motionless on the field, and while the entire stadium went silent with fear and anticipation, Eric knew his life would never again be the same.

What he didn’t know, however, was that the months to come would be a remarkable, transformative journey: one so profound that he would call the year following the accident that paralyzed him from the neck down the best year of his life.

In this uplifting memoir, now adapted for young readers, Eric tells the amazing story of how he rebuilds his life, continues his college education, and pursues a career in sports broadcasting. His belief in a grand plan and his hope for the future make him a model for anyone who has experienced tragedy or faced obstacles.

When is Strong, Strong Enough? by Souraya Christine

When is Strong Strong Enough gives a riveting account of the life events of author, Souraya Christine. It details Souraya’s bad decisions, wild ways, and subsequent recklessness as she learned to cope with her tragedies, process pain, and ultimately forgive and love herself. She is still a work in progress, but as a recently baptized Christian, she is slowly learning to trust again and to extend her new found love to others, offering lessons in strength in every chapter. This is a gripping true story that will have you on an emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end!

NCM Publishing
Available June 5, 2012 in Paperback

365 Daily Inspirations & Quotes For The Fascinating Teen Girl by Erica Mills-Hollis



Being a teenage girl in a society that says you have to be a size 2 and have designer clothes in order to be recognized and successful is unfortunate; but a reality. Every day more and more teenage girls fall prey to this limited form of thinking, due to the lack of encouragement and validation from those they care about or want to be like. This has to come to an end.

365 Daily Inspirations & Quotes For The Fascinating Teen Girl is a must read for all teenage girls who are dealing with the afflictions of self-image, self-esteem, peer pressures, and uncertainties of their future. In this book, Erica Mills-Hollis gives teenage girls, advice, encouragement and guidance they need to be happy, healthy and successful through a variety of quotes and inspirations for everyday of the year.

365 Daily Inspirations & Quotes For The Fascinating Teen Girl encourages young girls not to give up on their dreams, as well as let them know how beautiful and smart they are; which gives them the confidence that will boost their motivation to successfully push to the next level no matter what struggles lie ahead. And with the occasional clothes, hair, make-up, study, and exercise tips; these girls will be well on their way and nothing or no one will be able to stand in between them and success. Being a girl really is fascinating.

Precious Heart Publishing
Available in Paperback

How to Get Real About Dating by Lauren and William Hamilton

How to Get Real About Dating: A Father and Daughter’s Guide to Finding Love at Any Age
by Lauren and William Hamilton

Hamilton Writing
Available September 19, 2011 in Paperback

Isn’t it time that you started seeing major results on the dating scene?

Lauren and William Hamilton offer a fresh, hip point of view in their book How to Get Real About Dating: A Father and Daughter’s Guide to Finding Love at Any Age. They are the best team dedicated to improving your dating game without forcing you to change who you are!

With Lauren representing the new school, she’s here to say that you can still date and have fun while dealing with student loans, budget restrictions, career goals, a tough economy, monthly expenses, and all of the things that pop up in life as a younger person.

For the old school crowd, William’s 30+ years of experience as a Ladies’ Man turned happily married father of three has given him the knowledge of what it takes to find long-term relationship success. He believes you can still find love even with kids, divorces, a full-fledged career, and any other baggage that comes as you get up there in age.

“Our book is a dating guide that helps single people come up with a personalized game plan that suits their lifestyle, regardless of age or income level.” Everyone deserves to find love and How to Get Real About Dating: A Father and Daughter’s Guide to Finding Love at Any Age does that plus much more.


ABOUT US

William Hamilton
was raised by two wonderful parents who have been together for over 50 years. They always taught me the importance of family and my childhood was a great one. Growing up around their love and support made me see the importance of family and commitment at a young age. Right after college, I married and started a family. Not too long into it, I was divorced. I realized that I was ready for another marriage and focused on dating. I turned into a Ladies’ Man and enjoyed having fun, being with women, and sharing their company. Over the years I have dated many women, been married three times, and learned a lot about myself. As a man in his 60’s who is happily married with three children, I enjoy giving advice to my kids about love and life. I’d say after six decades, I finally figured out what it takes to have a healthy, fulfilling long-term relationship. But if it wasn’t for those failures as a Ladies’ Man, I’d have no clue.

Lauren Hamilton, at the age of eighteen, I was dateless, obese, and very lonely. Food was my best friend until one day something clicked in me and I decided to change. I lost over eighty pounds, started to wear nice clothes, made friends, and flirted. In other words, I found my DATING MOJO. Since my transformation over six years ago I have dated many people and been in relationships as well. Now, at the age of 26, it’s all about dating while focusing on me. As a younger person, there are many things to think about: career, home, bills, debt, etc. Adding a long-term relationship or a major commitment will distract from those things. That’s why it’s important to keep YOU as number one. At the same time, it’s important to create a good foundation for dating techniques and strategies so that you know what it takes to one day have a successful relationship. Despite what you’ve gone through in your life, you can improve your dating game. It doesn’t what your age or income is. YOU can do it, just like I did!

How to Get Real About Dating: A Father and Daughter’s Guide to Finding Love at Any Age

Lemons, Lemonade & Life by Janet D. Thomas

Lemons, Lemonade & Life: Practical Steps for Getting the Sweetness Back When Life Goes Sour
Janet D. Thomas
Healing Soldier Publishing
December 1, 2011 in Paperback

When the going gets tough, the tough…make lemonade.

At least that’s what author Janet Thomas did. She had her share of life’s lemons, from sexual abuse to clinical depression to obesity and beyond. She could have just decided to pitch her tent in the citrus section of life’s grocery store and succumbed to the sour – but she didn’t. Instead she turned her life around, then examined what she learned and turned to help others. The power of Janet’s presence in these written words awakens and energizes your inherent desire to love and lift yourself.

Using the metaphor of making lemonade, Lemons, Lemonade & Life gently guides you through a unique process of discovering:
…what it is you want
…why you don’t yet have it, and, most importantly
…how you can turn those things you currently perceive as anchors dragging you down into resources for launching yourself upward.

Whatever your challenges, Lemons, Lemonade & Life uniquely inspires and encourages healing and wholeness. Anything you find as a block can be addressed and transformed using Janet’s positive, self-supportive approach. As her words, thoughts and techniques kindle the flame of confidence deep within, you will find yourself:
- Improving your physical health
- Releasing yourself from addiction
- Dropping unwanted weight
- Discovering how to develop your natural gifts and talents
- Seeing things you have constantly struggled with disappear with ease
- Attracting new friends
- Enjoying healthier relationships
- Gaining the ability to attract abundance into your life
- and much, much more

Many books are useful because they present familiar ideas in a different way. This book is invaluable because it demonstrates looking at life in a different way. No matter what lemons you may have been given, this is the key for using them as key ingredients for finding your true, best self and restoring sweetness to your experience of life every day.

Foolproof: A Woman’s Guide to Self Love, Strength, and Relationships by Karissa Thomas

Foolproof: A Woman s Guide to Self-Love, Strength, and Relationships is to every woman that needs to protect herself from herself and the world, through newly awakened, self-assured eyes. Men, relationships, lies, and your self-worth are just a few of the topics that we explore in this upbeat, real-world look at the modern woman s life. The message is simple: Take ownership of yourself and don’t let anyone play you for a fool. Follow the sixteen rules for becoming foolproof. The fairytale ended a long time ago, and now it s time to get the respect you deserve. You are more powerful than you think, so let the world see you for who you are: knowledgeable, effective, radiant, and worthy of respect.

New You Publishing
July 14, 2012
Paperback

Twice Tested by Fire: A Memoir of Faith and Service by Cecil Murray

The fellowship of Christians generally and the Black Church specifically have an obligation beyond the walls of the sanctuary. Our endangered communities are lost unless the churches in their midst help to provision the journey toward a new life. Personal salvation must be of a piece with social salvation…for only then is the Word made flesh.

One day in the early 1950s, when Cecil Chip Murray was a young officer stationed at Oxnard Air Force Base in California, the warplane he was in caught fire after an aborted takeoff attempt. Murray tried to escape, but the glass canopy over his head failed to open. As flames began to consume the plane s nosecone, he heard a clear, steady voice guiding him to disentangle himself from his equipment and squeeze through a tiny hatch in the rear of the plane.

Four decades later, that same voice which had led him from the military to the pulpit of one of the most vibrant congregations in Los Angeles sent him into the streets as a prophet and peacemaker during six days of burning, rioting and looting that marked one of the most destructive episodes of urban violence in U.S. history. Twice Tested By Fire is Rev. Murray’s chronicle of the inspiration as well as the challenges that shaped a ministry widely credited with helping to heal a fractured metropolis. His insights into the legacy of the Civil Rights era, faith-based community organizing and socially engaged Christianity provide timely instruction to a new generation rising to the task of ensuring that the American dream of equality and justice for all is not forgotten.

Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power by Ledisi


Over the past four decades ESSENCE introduced our readers to inspirational voices such as Susan L. Taylor (In the Spirit; Lessons in Living; All About Love); and New York Times Best-Sellers Iyanla Vanzant (“In the Meantime,” and “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up”), Juanita Bynum (“Matters of the Heart”), and Bishop T.D. Jakes (“Before You Do” and “Reposition Yourself”).

Now, ESSENCE is pleased to share an incredible new uplifting and empowering voice with its 7.5 million readers and book lovers everywhere. In the tradition of Iyanla Vanzant‘s blockbuster 1993 book Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations for People of Color, ESSENCE is pleased to collaborate with powerhouse musician Ledisi for a soulful and enlightening collection of the singer’s inspiring meditations, quotes, and anecdotes charting her astonishing transformation as a woman and an artist.

Ledisi, who has been described as having a mix of Tina Turner’s energy, Nina Simone’s brilliance, and Ella Fitzgerald’s range, is a multiple Grammy nominee who has quickly connected with ESSENCE readers because of her authenticity and tenacity to strive for success on her own terms.

ESSENCE Presents Ledisi Better Than Alright: Finding Peace, Love & Power
by Ledisi
Essence
June 5, 2012
Hardcover

Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change by John Lewis

How can we go about achieving lasting social and political change? How much war must we visit upon ourselves before we recognize that war does not work?

As the last living leader of the Civil Rights Movement and an American hero to many, Congressman John Lewis continues to work toward building a better world. He was a key player in the struggle to end segregation; a campaigner and friend to presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy until his assassination; a confidant to Martin Luther King Jr., whose vision and efforts Lewis carried on to subsequent generations; one of the thirteen original Freedom Riders; and an eyewitness to many momentous occasions in American history over the last fifty years of working in public service.

Despite being rejected, hated, and jailed-and even after being witness to betrayal, corruption, and conspiracy-Congressman Lewis believes that the people can work together toward lasting social change and asserts that worldwide change can be achieved through nonviolent means. In his inspirational new book, Congressman Lewis shares his life story-the lessons he learned as one who dreamed, worked, and struggled in America’s last revolution-and describes the work he believes is necessary to move this country forward. He declares that to revolutionize society, we must first revolutionize ourselves, and if we want to demand transformation of others, we must first be the change we seek. Social evolution starts from within, Lewis says.

Each chapter of ACROSS THAT BRIDGE discusses one virtue-faith, patience, truth, love, peace, study, and reconciliation-that, when combined with all the others, comprises Lewis’s philosophy of life. By sharing personal stories that focus on political and social events throughout history, Lewis discusses the moments where he came to understand the power of those virtues and reflects on the moments that challenged his commitment to them as well.

ACROSS THAT BRIDGE reflects the values of patience with persistence, progressive faith, and principled behavior that can lead to individual and collective transformation. It is this kind of persistence, faith, and moral authority that can bring about what Lewis calls “creative disruption” and usher in a nonviolent revolution of values bringing about fundamental social change.

“Democracy is not a state; it is an act. It is a series of actions we all must take to help build a Beloved Community.”
-Congressman John Lewis