Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: Relentlessly Resilient: Overcoming the Resistance by Monique Johnson

Title: Relentlessly Resilient: Overcoming the Resistance
Author: Monique Johnson
Publisher: Monique Johnson
Published: July 4, 2022
Pages: 193

In Relentlessly Resilient, the author gives us an unflinching look at her life as a young woman enduring trial after trial and her resolve to overcome all the hurdles thrown her way. Seduced by the cute, play-boy, roughneck types, Monique learns the hard way that looks can deceive when a boy she falls for forces himself on her.

From the trauma of sexual assault, becoming a young mother, battling diabetes, and much more, this book kicks into gear quickly, starting with a series of tumultuous relationships, including dating a guy who had become addicted to drugs. I grew up around many addicts in the projects, including my parents, so I know their ways and could empathize with how she felt about the disappearing acts and stolen TV.

When she went to get the stolen bike back from the dealer, I was yelling at the book at this point. Girl, what are you doing? But nothing happened, to which the author credits her faith. The dealer actually gave her the bike back. Whew. That was close.

I enjoyed the author’s candor when discussing her thought patterns during these challenging times and talking us through the lessons she learned. One of the most important ones involved her son, Tyrell. Although she was working hard and providing for her son’s needs physically, she projected the stress she took on onto him every time she yelled at him to get ready or couldn’t spend time with him because of her busy schedule.

Relentlessly Resilient is a story I believe we can all relate to on some level. At the end of each chapter, the author shares a reflection as a final touch.

Monique’s story is a reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Constantly thrown through life’s curveballs, the author always recovers quickly and regains her strength.

Ratings:

Strong Introduction: 4/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Organization: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Solid Conclusion: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Now Available in Digital and Paperback

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Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: Starving the Wolf: The Journey of Freeing a King by Dr. Oliver T. Reid

Title: Starving the Wolf: The Journey of Freeing a King
Author: Dr. Oliver T. Reid
Publisher: Publishing Advantage Group
Published: Officially Releasing August 27, 2022 (Available for Preorder)
ASIN: B0B933ZZJQ
Pages: 80

Prince Amir was born into royalty, but his parents verbally abused him, and his father, Naz, took credit for his work. This haunted Amir, causing him sadness and affecting his relationships with women.

Perhaps the most profound aspect of this book surrounds the wolf, which the author calls Liar.

Liar represents Amir’s inner sadness, depression, and low self-worth. Whenever Amir’s parents talk down to him or anger rises within him, this negativity feeds the wolf inside of him. It is something we can all relate to, as we have each had to deal with the wolves in our own lives.

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These Love Jones bookmarks tho!! Designed by Inspire the Tribe.

Finally, the prince meets a woman that will help him overcome his inner wolf. Princess Khari comes into his life and pours goodness and kindness into his heart. Not only that, she also makes his parents aware that their words are hurting their son.

Discover how the love story between Amir and Khari unfolds and how the wolf gets starved out in this African-themed love story.

Although not marketed as a children’s book, Starving the Wolf: The Journey of Freeing a King is a quick read with some powerful concepts that are easy to digest.

The illustrator also did a wonderful job with the images, which are absolutely beautiful and illustrated throughout the book. The story is easy to follow, there is no profane language, and the pictures are a gorgeous representation of black beauty.

Ratings:

Plot Movement / Strength: 5/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Now available for preorder in digital, paperback, and hardcover.

Reid


About the Author

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Dr. Oliver T. Reid is multi-best-selling author, motivational speaker, founder and president of I am a Solution Consulting Firm LLC. He is a Black Man Image Award Winner and 2016-2017 NAACP Image Award recipient and has been featured on Black Enterprise, CBS, Fox, iHeart Radio, NBC, Time Warner and much more.

Dr. Reid is most known as “The Writing Coach,” where he uses groundbreaking writing and coaching techniques to help entrepreneurs, speakers, and coaches to write their books.

If you need help writing your book, he’s the plug! But first, be sure to support him by preordering your copy of Starving the Wolf.

www.drolivertreid.com

Instagram + Twitter: @drolivertreid


To have your book reviewed by me on this blog apply here.

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Please read through the entire policy and note the books in the queue so you know how many books would be in front of yours. That will determine the turnaround time.

Space is very limited so don’t sleep. Apply right now.

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Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Title: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
Author: Mark Manson
Publisher: Harper
Published: September 13, 2016
ASIN: B019MMUA8S
Pages: 212

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“People declare themselves experts, entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, mavericks, and coaches without any real-life experience…they feel they need to be great to be accepted in a world that broadcasts only the extraordinary.”

– Mark Manson

Quickly: If you are not subscribed to any of my emails, you might not know I have been away recovering from surgery. I am feeling much better and in the physical therapy part of healing. After being in the bed for weeks, my body is begging for movement, so I walk and stretch and all that good stuff. I am still not 100%, but much better than a month ago.

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Anywho, on to this review..

I knew I would like this book when I bought it. Maybe that optimism is what made me enjoy it so much. Or it could be the title, which is hard not to like. And while I don’t review every book I read for leisure, I felt compelled to write about this one.

You might think this is a book about not caring about anything. But it’s actually a book about prioritizing your thoughts effectively so that those things you care about are the most important and not the trivial. Some things are just not worth giving a hoot about. Or darn. Or flip. 

Side Note: Far as cussin, there are a lot of F*cks in this book if you are highly sensitive about that sorta thing. 

Manson’s chief purpose is that humans are flawed and limited, and instead of trying to be positive all the time, we should embrace the struggle and uncertainty in our lives. He asserts it is the “bad” things that happen to us that help us develop the strength and tenacity to keep being great. But we can’t do that if we try to avoid life’s inevitable pitfalls. 

You don’t always have to try and turn lemons into lemonade. Sometimes, you just gotta stomach the lemons and see what it has to teach you.

That’s basically the gist of this book. 

While everyone is trying to appear polished, forever positive, and put together, it’s sharing how we are overcoming the not-so-good things that are actually the most inspiring.

This is not your typical “try to be happy all the time” self-help book. This is a “learn how to become better at handling adversity and not giving a fuck about trivial stuff” book. Manson is funny, witty, and delivers his message straight–no chaser. 

Mark Manson is the man behind Will Smith’s Memoir, which I am also reading and enjoying, and I can tell. I can see why he was the perfect person to work with Will, and I can hear his voice now while reading the book, which I am halfway through. (But not in a way that takes away from Will’s voice. I don’t think that would be possible with his larger-than-life personality.)

If you are looking for something to help you get out of your own way (or if you are enduring a tough time like me and just want to read something real and down-to-earth), different from the cliche messages you see in these internet streets, this is the one.

“The pampering of the modern mind has resulted in a population that feels deserving of something without earning that something, a population that feels they have a right to something without sacrificing for it.” – Mark Manson

Ratings:

Strong Introduction:

There is no Intro, which is part of what I love. Manson jumps right in.

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Organization: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Solid Conclusion: 5/5


Note: I was not paid for this review. I bought the book, read it on my own time, and these are my thoughts. To have your work reviewed through my paid service, you must register your book here and it must rate 3-5 stars to be published on this blog. Reviews of books I read on my own are published regardless of rating. 

Yecheilyah’s Book List 2021

Hey guys!

As we wrap up 2021, I thought I’d copy off Barrack Obama and share my book list, a combination of Trade and Indie books I read this year. This list is based on books I’ve read or am reading now. I missed a lot of hot releases reading for research, so I only got around to about twenty books this year, and not all of them were published in 2021. And for the sake of time, I will not talk about every book.

So heerree we go.

Just as I am by Cicely Tyson

This list is in no particular order, but if it was, this would still be the number one read for me this year. Publishing a memoir is among many of my author goals, and the way this was structured is precisely what I have in mind. Cicely Tyson’s Just as I am is not only a memoir. It is a magnifying glass on 96 years of black history told through the eyes of someone who lived it in real-time. A perfect blend of personal testimony with the political and social climate of the times, a poetic proclamation to some of the most historical events of the 20th Century. 

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

Listen, if you can get me to read your book and keep reading it or think about it so much when I am not reading it, I want to pick it up at my earliest convenience to finish, then you can make the top of my list. This book was hilarious and thought-provoking at the same time. It was also refreshing that the book was not too long and engaging enough to read in one sitting. I hadn’t done that in a while. I enjoyed it.

Black Girl, Call Home by Jasmine Mans

I read the first half of this book at the library while I was supposed to be reading Amanda’s new book. No shade to Gorman, but I had to let hers sit to the side a lil bit reading this here. I love Jasmine’s rawness. She is all fire and straightforwardness. When I got home, I bought my own copy.

Promise That You Will Sing for Me: The Power and Poetry of Kendrick Lamar by Miles Marshall Lewis

For clarity, this is not a memoir. It is biography written by pop culture critic, essayist, literary editor, fiction writer, and music journalist Miles Marshall Lewis. I really like how he structured this, mixing pop culture, some hip-hop history leading up to Kendrick’s birth, and Lamar’s coming of age story.

The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman

Because I heard this poem recited first at the Presidential Inauguration, it’s so fun to read because Gorman’s voice is in my head. I can read this repeatedly because it’s short and inspiring.

Will (Currently reading)

I literally just got this book yesterday, but I had to put it on the list because I think Will is dope so I know this book will be entertaining. Looking forward to digging in.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Dubois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

This book is mad thick, so no, I have not finished reading it. What I have read so far is good, though, and I will be picking this back up again for sure.

The Queen V: Everything You Need to Know About Sex, Intimacy, and Down There Health Care by Dr. Jackie Walters

Ladies, listen. There are so many myths surrounding this here vajayjay of ours. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this book by Married to Medicine’s Jackie Walters. She’s an MD of Comprehensive Women’s OB/GYN, located in Duluth and Dunwoody, Georgia, and is a household name in the Atlanta area. If you know her from the show, the book reads in her voice, which is cool.

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

If you want to learn about how the US government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced segregation; and support for violent resistance to African Americans in white neighborhoods, this the one.

Immersed in West Africa by Terry Lister (Indie)

I enjoyed “traveling” with this author on his journey through Senegal, Mauritania, The Gambia, Guinea, and Guinea Bissau.

Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James W. Loewen

They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South (Current Research Book)

Chile. If you want a history of Karen’s behavior, babbyy. This the one.

Family Medicine: A Psychological Suspense Thriller (Indie)

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman (Currently reading)

I am not as invested in this one as I was in the first one, but I’m still enjoying it.

Things I Wish I Said by AVG (Indie)

Fields of Grace by Wendy Waters (Indie)

Capitalism and Slavery by Eric Williams (Research Book)

Ya’ll notice my nails got better in the latter part of the year? Cause this was this summer, and what in the messy nail polish is going on here, lol.

Living in the Land of I am: Your Life Journey Reveals Your Purpose by Tiffany James (Indie)

Life After Death by Sister Souljah

I had such high hopes for this book. Read my full review here.

She Wins (Indie)

When Poets Pray by Marilyn McEntyre

I did not enjoy this book like I thought I would. I should have researched it more, but I judged it by its cover and title, both of which I think are awesome. But I’m gonna have to pass.

I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage, and Hope

A compelling anthology. Highly recommended.

Books I Didn’t Get Around to but Want to Read:

The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story by Nikole Hannah-Jones

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Feeding the Soul by Tabitha Brown

You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union

And that’s my book list for 2021!

Have you read any on this list? Tell me your favorite!

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: Life After Death by Sister Souljah

Title: Life After Death
Author: Sister Souljah
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Published: March 2, 2021
ASIN: B08BZVTLWX
Pages: 349

I purchased this book when it dropped in March and promised to share my thoughts. That was nine months ago, and I want to deliver on my word.

The Plot is in the Title

Life After Death is the much anticipated second sequel to Sister Souljah’s explosive bestseller, The Coldest Winter Ever. The first thing I noticed is the plot is in the title.

Winter Santiaga is still in prison and negotiating a deal with her brother-in-law, Elisha, for a reality TV show on her release. But before Winter could make her grand debut, she gets shot.

And this is where the story goes to a place I did not want to go.

The rest of the book are the details of Winter’s experience in the after-world. Neither heaven nor hell, she floats around in a kind of purgatory.

What in the American Horror Story is going on here?

There is a bit of a twist at the end, but unfortunately for me, it was not enough to save the book. It also didn’t help that I predicted the twist from the beginning so I didn’t even have the satisfaction of that to help how I would rate it.

Urban Fiction? Paranormal? Sci-Fi? Magical Realism?

Pushed as an urban fiction novel, Life After Death actually reads like a paranormal story. The book is heavy on religion and metaphysics and I found it dark and hard to get through.

The beginning leading up to the bizarre other-world was not too bad, though I did think the Life After Death Winter sounds a lot less mature than the Winter from the end of book one. To understand what I mean let’s do a quick recap of the end of The Coldest Winter Ever.

At the end of The Coldest Winter Ever, Winter is still street, but has been humbled after serving seven years in prison. With eight more years to go, she is shackled and accompanied by guards to attend her mother’s funeral. She talks about how breathing is different, the feel of the sun on her face and the smell of the food.

As the book comes to an end and Winter sees the family, her middle sister Porsche rolls up in a Mercedes Benz dressed like a million bucks. Winter can already tell the road she’s headed and thinks about warning Porsche about the life she’s living. She decides to let it be. The girl will have to see for herself.

Fast forward to Life After Death.

This Winter is negotiating a deal for a $50,000 per episode reality TV show, hooded three-quarter-length mink coat, Python sky-high boots, red Gucci driving gloves, an activated iPhone, and a red carpet welcome out of the door.

Mmkay.

It would seem she would be far removed from that kind of lifestyle by now.

Preachy

There is a lot of talk about Islam that came across as highly preachy. I don’t mean bits and pieces here and there. I mean whole pages about how Allah does what Allah pleases, Allah chose the language of Arabic as the language of the Holy Quran, so forth and so on. As one reviewer summed up:

“My only criticism is the strong Muslim leaning; without spoiling, I felt the portrayal of the nuns in the convent was unnecessarily offensive. An interesting read! But if you’re looking for a TCWE II you will be disappointed.”

Winter’s Life After Death journey is an experience into the world of the deeply spiritual practices of Islam as Souljah sees it. After she enters this world, everything feels like a sermon with Winter’s life as the conduit, the vehicle from which the message is given.

Put plainly: it feels like Souljah wanted to write a book about religion because of the trauma of the 2020 Pandemic and used her most famous character to do it. According to her Instagram:

“I wrote LIFE AFTER DEATH in 2020, a year of great loss, huge disasters, raging fires, violent storms, virulent viruses and the whole world shaken by the body count. Everything everyone worshiped besides GOD was either brought to a complete stand still or vanished into thin air.” – Sister Souljah

I get it, but readers feel deceived. They thought they were buying the follow-up to what is arguably one of the best urban fiction books of their young adulthood, only to read about Souljah’s “EXTREMELY polarizing and generally terrible opinions and belief,” as one reviewer puts it. 

“I didn’t buy this book to read Souljah’s religious and uber conservative rhetoric, I bought this book to finish Winter’s story. If she couldn’t write that she should’ve just said that instead of giving us a weird ass bestiality scene and making Winter make increasingly erratic and poor decisions to justify the religious crap she stuffed the plot with.”

The marketing gave us the impression the book would pick up where The Coldest Winter Ever left off. In truth, it is a different book. Fans of the novel say it’s not supposed to be the same, but the promotion says otherwise. Even the covers are similar.

“People who are saying “This is not supposed to be the Coldest Winter Ever” – it is literally the follow-up to TCWE lol!!! Of course we were expecting an extension of it!” – Amazon Customer Review

I believe this would have been better received had she created an entirely new character with no connection to Winter.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

I do want to give Souljah credit for attempting to pen something deeper than your traditional Street Lit. You can tell she wanted Winter to evolve and that she had a message she wanted to give her readers.

You can also tell by how many people said they “waited 20 years for nothing” did not read the first sequel. If you read A Deeper Love Inside, Souljah’s religious messages are not a total surprise. Although, I didn’t enjoy that book either.

“Unrealistic. Dragged. Boring. Depressing. It was in need of a serious plot twist that never came.” – Amazon Customer Review

I would have worded it differently (knowing what it feels like as an author to get such feedback), but this person is spot on.

The religious parts in Life After Death would also make more sense to readers of the Midnight series:

“Its written for Souljah fans who have read the Midnight series. Not that the story is particularly relevant, but there are A LOT of references to Islam that might not make sense entirely except Midnight explained them in his series.”

I do believe there is an audience for this book and that had it been marketed to that audience as a standalone novel in the paranormal or even religious genre, readers would have had a better idea of what they were getting.

“If she wanted to write about these kinds of things don’t mislead the readers into thinking we were getting another Winter experience, clearly it was not. The story is  hard to digest. The only reason a lot of us purchased it was under the guise of it really being an actual sequel to one of the best reads.”

“Souljah wrote the book that SHE wanted to write, not what her readers wanted to read.”

I can only rate this book two stars. It is two stars instead of one because I did enjoy the start of the book. It seemed promising until Winter went into the sunken place.


Note: I was not paid for this review. I bought the book, read it on my own time, and these are my thoughts. To have your work reviewed through my paid service, you must register your book here and it must rate 3-5 stars to be published on this blog. Reviews of books I read on my own are published regardless of rating. 

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Living in the Land of I am: Your Life Journey Reveals Your Purpose by Tiffany James

Title: Living in the Land of I am: Your Life Journey Reveals Your Purpose
Author: Tiffany James
Publisher: Encourage Touch Enterprise
ASIN: ‎ B07SB68C1F
Publication date: ‎May 22, 2019
Print length: ‎ 158 pages

Living in the Land of I am: Your Life Journey Reveals Your Purpose is a hopeful read about the importance of embracing your authentic self and operating in that truth. According to the author, losing our identity also means relinquishing the authority given to us to fulfill our purpose. (p. 67)

I enjoyed the author’s testimony, examples, and analogies to expand on her point further. We are invited into her world and we learn the many things she overcame and how we too can live in that land of I am, that is our truest self. We learn there is beauty in acknowledging and accepting one’s set-apartness.

My favorite example is the one of Simba from Disney’s 1994 animated feature film, The Lion King. The story of how he was born into royalty and stood proud and strong in that purpose until the death of his father Mufasa made him lose his voice was very nicely recounted.

Simba with Pumbaa and Timon
Published: Jan 28, 2021
By AnimeAngelArtist1990

When Simba meets Pumbaa and Timon and starts basking in what looks like a carefree life, the author reminds us that while he seems happy, he forgets that he was born to be a King. Now a grown lion, Simba has been reduced to a confused, scared, angry, and hurt little cub (p.37). When he returns to fulfill his purpose, he becomes the strong and mighty lion he was born to be. I thought this laid a strong foundation for the rest of the book.

The author’s voice is poetic, and she leaves inspiration pieces between chapters she calls inspirational moments. If you remember, Mrs. James is this year’s first-place winner in the 4th Annual Poetry Contest. I noted many sayings I found powerful such as “Love is not the absence of truth.” (Tiffany James)

I was not a big fan of the author’s Christian views because I’m not a Christian. Still, overall, I found the book to be a great reminder of the importance of standing in our truth and being authentically and unapologetically ourselves.

Strong Introduction: 4/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Organization: 4/5

Thought-Provoking: 5/5

Solid Conclusion: 3/5

Final: 4/5

You Can Pick up Your Copy of Living in the Land of I am on Amazon

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Family Medicine: A Psychological Suspense Thriller by Natasha Jeneen Thomas

Title: Family Medicine: A Psychological Suspense Thriller
Author: Natasha Jeneen Thomas
Publisher: Newham Wilcott (October 8, 2021)
ASIN: ‎ B0992VHVWH
Publication date: ‎ October 8, 2021
Print length: ‎ 340 pages

Family Medicine is a psychological thriller with many twists, turns, and a healthy dose of suspense. With vivid description and detail, we meet Therese Hughes-Baldwin, an aspiring dancer who works at a cafe. She is offered an escape to a beach house mansion by her favorite customer and psychiatrist Dr. Dara Clemens. When she and her best friend Phoebe make it to the house, things start to get weird. First, there are no pictures in the place, and Phoebe is acting strange. The story alternates between Therese and Phoebe’s experiences at the ocean-view getaway (including Therese’s romance with a man named Tomas) and an unbalanced oral surgeon named Victor.

As the story progressed, I wondered how the two threads were connected, as I knew they had to be, and I kept turning the page to see how it would all play out. I was especially drawn to Victor’s thread in an attempt to understand his behavior. What is with this man fantasizing about killing someone and dressing up in women’s clothes as a disguise? Victor even self-abuses himself as punishment for not thinking through a stakeout that ultimately got him questioned in one scene.

The truth of how everything is connected will blow your mind. While I can’t give away much more detail, I will only say that everything you think you know, including the little I’ve told you, you don’t know.

I also felt so bad for character Summer being arrested as she was menstruating. It made me think of how people don’t understand what women have to endure in these situations. I felt humiliated for her and I am sure all of my women readers will understand.

I did think there was a tad bit too much description of minor details throughout the book, but I assume that’s because nothing is as it appears to be! I did find myself going back to the beginning, and as I reread some scenes, I could see the ending.

This is the novel for you if you are looking to read a book full of mystery, suspense, and a psychological thrill that will keep you guessing until the very end. Speaking of the end, I suspect the author is working on another part of this. You’ll understand what I mean when you read the book.

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 4/5

Authenticity / Believable: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 4/5

You Can Pick up Your Copy of Family Medicine on Amazon