• Jeida K.

February 2022 Book Releases


The February books on my radar are so juicy, y'all! I won't tell y'all how many of them I've already preordered, but after going through this list I predict you'll be adding these to your cart, too!


Congratulations to every BIPOC Adult Lit author celebrating a book release this month! Let's get into the February 2022 books!

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February 1 Releases

 

Ramón and Julieta

by Alana Quintana Albertson

Romance


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Ramón Montez always achieves his goals. Whether that means collecting Ivy League degrees or growing his father’s fast-food empire, nothing sets Ramón off course. So when the sexy señorita who kissed him on the Day of the Dead runs off into the night with his heart, he determines to do whatever it takes to find her again.

Celebrity chef Julieta Campos has sacrificed everything to save her sea-to-table taqueria from closing. To her horror, she discovers that her new landlord is none other than the magnetic mariachi she hooked up with on Dia de los Muertos. Even worse, it was his father who stole her mother’s taco recipe decades ago. Julieta has no choice but to work with Ramón, the man who destroyed her life’s work—and the one man who tempts and inspires her.

As San Diego’s outraged community protests against the Taco King takeover and the divide between their families grows, Ramón and Julieta struggle to balance the rising tensions. But Ramón knows that true love is priceless and despite all of his successes, this is the one battle he refuses to lose.

 

BLACK GIRLS MUST BE MAGIC

by Jayne Allen

Contemporary Fiction


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For Tabitha Walker, her grandmother’s old adage, “Black girls must die exhausted” is becoming all too true. Discovering she’s pregnant—after she was told she may not be able to have biological children—Tabitha throws herself headfirst into the world of “single mothers by choice.” Between her job, doctor’s appointments, and preparing for the baby, she’s worn out. And that’s before her boss at the local news station starts getting complaints from viewers about Tabitha’s natural hair.

When an unexpected turn of events draws Marc—her on and off-again ex-boyfriend—back into her world with surprising demands, and the situation at work begins to threaten her livelihood and her identity, Tabitha must make some tough decisions about her and her baby’s future. It takes a village to raise a child, and Tabitha turns to the women who have always been there for her.

Bolstered by the fierce support of Ms. Gretchen, her grandmother’s best friend, the counsel of her closest friends Laila and Alexis, and the calming presence of her doula Andouele, Tabitha must find a way to navigate motherhood on her own terms. Will she harness the bravery, strength, and self-love she’ll need to keep “the village” together, find her voice at work, and settle things with Marc before the baby arrives?

 

THE FAMILY CHAO

by Lan Samantha Chang

Contemporary Fiction


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The residents of Haven, Wisconsin, have dined on the Fine Chao restaurant’s delicious Americanized Chinese food for thirty-five years, content to ignore any unsavory whispers about the family owners. Whether or not Big Leo Chao is honest, or his wife, Winnie, is happy, their food tastes good and their three sons earned scholarships to respectable colleges. But when the brothers reunite in Haven, the Chao family’s secrets and simmering resentments erupt at last.

Before long, brash, charismatic, and tyrannical patriarch Leo is found dead―presumed murdered―and his sons find they’ve drawn the exacting gaze of the entire town. The ensuing trial brings to light potential motives for all three brothers: Dagou, the restaurant’s reckless head chef; Ming, financially successful but personally tortured; and the youngest, gentle but lost college student James. As the spotlight on the brothers tightens―and the family dog meets an unexpected fate―Dagou, Ming, and James must reckon with the legacy of their father’s outsized appetites and their own future survival.

 

WHAT THE FIREFLIES KNEW

by Kai Harris

Literary Fiction


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An ode to Black girlhood and adolescence as seen through KB's eyes, What the Fireflies Knew follows KB after her father dies of an overdose and the debts incurred from his addiction cause the loss of the family home in Detroit. Soon thereafter, KB and her teenage sister, Nia, are sent by their overwhelmed mother to live with their estranged grandfather in Lansing, Michigan. Over the course of a single sweltering summer, KB attempts to navigate a world that has turned upside down.

Her father has been labeled a fiend. Her mother's smile no longer reaches her eyes. Her sister, once her best friend, now feels like a stranger. Her grandfather is grumpy and silent. The white kids who live across the street are friendly, but only sometimes. And they're all keeping secrets. As KB vacillates between resentment, abandonment, and loneliness, she is forced to carve out a different identity for herself and find her own voice.

 

DIDN'T WE ALMOST HAVE IT ALL

by Gerrick Kennedy

Biography


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On February 11, 2012, Whitney Houston was found submerged in the bathtub of her suite at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. In the decade since, the world has mourned her death amid new revelations about her relationship to her Blackness, her sexuality, and her addictions. Didn’t We Almost Have It All is author Gerrick Kennedy’s exploration of the duality of Whitney’s life as both a woman in the spotlight and someone who often had to hide who she was. This is the story of Whitney’s life, her whole life, told with both grace and honesty.

 

BLACK JOY

by Tracy Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts

Essay Collection


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When Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts wrote an essay on Black joy for TheWashington Post, she had no idea just how deeply it would resonate. But the outpouring of responses affirmed her own lived experience: that Black joy is not just a weapon of resistance, it is a tool for resilience.

With this book, Tracey aims to gift her community with a collection of lyrical essays about the way joy has evolved, even in the midst of trauma, in her own life. Detailing these instances of joy in the context of Black culture allows us to recognize the power of Black joy as a resource to draw upon, and to challenge the one-note narratives of Black life as solely comprised of trauma and hardship.

 

RECITATIF

by Toni Morrison

Literary Fiction


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In this 1983 short story--the only short story Morrison ever wrote--we meet Twyla and Roberta, who have known each other since they were eight years old and spent four months together as roommates in St. Bonaventure shelter. Inseparable then, they lose touch as they grow older, only later to find each other again at a diner, a grocery store, and again at a protest. Seemingly at opposite ends of every problem, and at each other's throats each time they meet, the two women still cannot deny the deep bond their shared experience has forged between them.

Another work of genius by this masterly writer, Recitatif keeps Twyla's and Roberta's races ambiguous throughout the story. Morrison herself described Recitatif, a story which will keep readers thinking and discussing for years to come, as "an experiment in the removal of all racial codes from a narrative about two characters of different races for whom racial identity is crucial." We know that one is white and one is Black, but which is which? And who is right about the race of the woman the girls tormented at the orphanage?

 

THE BLACK AGENDA

edited by Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman

Essay Collection (Anthology)


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From ongoing reports of police brutality to the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on Black Americans, 2020 brought a renewed awareness to the deep-rootedness of racism and white supremacy in every facet of American life.

Edited by Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, The Black Agenda is the first book of its kind―a bold and urgent move towards social justice through a profound collection of essays featuring Black scholars and experts across economics, education, health, climate, and technology. It speaks to the question "What's next for America?" on the subjects of policy-making, mental health, artificial intelligence, climate movement, the future of work, the LGBTQ community, the criminal legal system, and much more.

 

THE FAMILY SHE NEVER MET

by Caridad Pineiro

Contemporary Fiction


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essica Russo knows nothing about her mother's family or her Cuban culture. Every time she's asked about it, her mother has shut down. But when the Cuban grandmother she's never met sends her right-hand man, Luis, to offer Jessica the chance to come to Miami and meet her estranged family, she can't help but say yes, even as she knows it will pain her mother.

The woman that Jessica meets is nothing like what she expected. Her grandmother is successful, intelligent, determined, and all too willing to take blame for what has happened to cause the estrangement, and, more importantly, to try and set things right. As Jessica spends time with her grandmother in her beautiful island home, she learns about her family's history and what caused the schism between her mother and grandmother.

As days with her grandmother turn to weeks, Jessica is determined to find a way to heal her fractured family. And in the end, Jessica might just learn something about herself and what it means to embrace the many facets of her identity.

 

BLACK LOVE MATTERS

edited by Jessica P. Pryde

Essay Collection (Anthology)


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Romantic love has been one of the most essential elements of storytelling for centuries. But for Black people in the United States and across the diaspora, it hasn't often been easy to find Black romance joyfully showcased in entertainment media. In this collection, revered authors and sparkling newcomers, librarians and academicians, and avid readers and reviewers consider the mirrors and windows into Black love as it is depicted in the novels, television shows, and films that have shaped their own stories. Whether personal reflection or cultural commentary, these essays delve into Black love now and in the past, including topics from the history of Black romance to social justice and the Black community to the meaning of desire and desirability.

Exploring the multifaceted ways love is seen--and the ways it isn't--this diverse array of Black voices collectively shines a light on the power of crafting happy endings for Black lovers.

 

IN SEARCH OF A PRINCE

by Toni Shiloh

Christian Romance


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Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha's Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops the mother of all bombshells--Brielle is a princess in the kingdom of Oloro Ilé, Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, King Tiwa Jimoh Adebayo, is failing.

Distraught by her mother's betrayal, Brielle is further left spinning when the Oloro Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before assuming the throne or the crown will be passed to another. Uncertain who to choose from the council's list of bachelors, she struggles with the decision along with the weight of her new role in a new country. With her world totally shaken, she must take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring.

 

THE VIOLIN CONSPIRACY

by Brendan Slocumb

Mystery & Suspense


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Growing up Black in rural North Carolina, Ray McMillian’s life is already mapped out. If he’s lucky, he’ll get a job at the hospital cafeteria. If he’s extra lucky, he’ll earn more than minimum wage. But Ray has a gift and a dream—he’s determined to become a world-class professional violinist, and nothing will stand in his way. Not his mother, who wants him to stop making such a racket; not the fact that he can’t afford a violin suitable to his talents; not even the racism inherent in the world of classical music.

When he discovers that his great-great-grandfather’s beat-up old fiddle is actually a priceless Stradivarius, all his dreams suddenly seem within reach. Together, Ray and his violin take the world by storm. But on the eve of the renowned and cutthroat Tchaikovsky Competition—the Olympics of classical music—the violin is stolen, a ransom note for five million dollars left in its place. Ray will have to piece together the clues to recover his treasured Strad ... before it’s too late.

With the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-great-grandfather asserting that the instrument is rightfully theirs, and with his family staking their own claim, Ray doesn’t know who he can trust—or whether he will ever see his beloved violin again.

 

BLACK CAKE

by Charmaine Wilkerson

Contemporary Fiction


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In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett's death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a traditional Caribbean black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child, challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage, and themselves.

Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor's true history, and fulfill her final request to "share the black cake when the time is right"? Will their mother's revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?

 

February 7 Releases

 

CLAIM TICKETS FOR STOLEN PEOPLE

by Quintin Collins

Poetry Collection


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In Claim Tickets for Stolen People, Quintin Collins embraces a range of poetic forms and registers to show the resilience of Blackness in a colonized world. The tension between mortality and vitality is ever-present, whether Collins is charting his daughter’s emergence into being, cataloging the toll of white violence, or detailing the exuberance of community, family, and Chicago and Boston life. In Collins’s hands, the world is exquisitely physical and no element is without its own perspective, whether it is a truck sheared by a highway bridge or bees working through the knowledge that humans will kill them, burn their homes, and steal their honey. All goes toward honoring Black grief, Black anger, Black resistance, Black hope—and the persistence of Black love.

 

February 8 Releases

 

NOBODY'S MAGIC

by Destiny O. Birdsong

Contemporary Fiction

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In this glittering triptych novel, Suzette, Maple and Agnes, three Black women with albinism, call Shreveport, Louisiana home. At the bustling crossroads of the American South and Southwest, these three women find themselves at the crossroads of their own lives.

Suzette, a pampered twenty-year‑old, has been sheltered from the outside world since a dangerous childhood encounter. Now, a budding romance with a sweet mechanic allows Suzette to seek independence, which unleashes dark reactions in those closest to her. In discovering her autonomy, Suzette is forced to decide what she is willing to sacrifice in order to make her own way in the world.

Maple is reeling from the unsolved murder of her free‑spirited mother. She flees the media circus and her judgmental grandmother by shutting herself off from the world in a spare room of the motel where she works. One night, at a party, Maple connects with Chad, someone who may understand her pain more than she realizes, and she discovers that the key to her mother's death may be within her reach.

Agnes is far from home, working yet another mind‑numbing job. She attracts the interest of a lonely security guard and army veteran who’s looking for a traditional life for himself and his young son. He’s convinced that she wields a certain “magic,” but Agnes soon unleashes a power within herself that will shock them both and send her on a trip to confront not only her family and her past, but also herself.

 

RED THREAD OF FATE

by Lyn Liao Butler

Contemporary Fiction


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Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia's five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn't seen since the child was an infant.

Overwhelmed by her life suddenly being upended, Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when a long-concealed secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened. As Tam begins to unravel the events of Tony and Mia's past in China, she discovers the true meaning of love and the threads that bind her to the family she is fated to have.

 

THE GREAT MRS. ELIAS

by Barbara Chase-Riboud

Biographical Historical Fiction


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A murder and a case of mistaken identity brings the police to Hannah Elias’ glitzy, five-story, twenty-room mansion on Central Park West. This is the beginning of an odyssey that moves back and forth in time and reveals the dangerous secrets of a mysterious woman, the fortune she built, and her precipitous fall.

Born in Philadelphia in the late 1800s, Hannah Elias has done things she’s not proud of to survive. Shedding her past, Hannah slips on a new identity before relocating to New York City to become as rich as a robber baron. Hannah quietly invests in the stock market, growing her fortune with the help of businessmen. As the money pours in, Hannah hides her millions across 29 banks. Finally attaining the life she’s always dreamed, she buys a mansion on the Upper West Side and decorates it in gold and first-rate décor, inspired by her idol Cleopatra.

The unsolved murder turns Hannah’s world upside-down and threatens to destroy everything she’s built. When the truth of her identity is uncovered, thousands of protestors gather in front of her stately home. Hounded by the salacious press, the very private Mrs. Elias finds herself alone, ensnared in a scandalous trial, and accused of stealing her fortune from whites.

 

GOD IS A BLACK WOMAN

by Dr. Christena Cleveland

Womanist Theology


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For years, Christena Cleveland spoke about racial reconciliation to congregations, justice organizations, and colleges. But she increasingly felt she could no longer trust in the God she’d been implicitly taught to worship—a white male God who preferentially empowered white men despite his claim to love all people. A God who clearly did not relate to, advocate for, or affirm a Black woman like Christena.

Her crisis of faith sent her on an intellectual and spiritual journey through history and across France, on a 400-mile walking pilgrimage to the ancient shrines of Black Madonnas to find healing in the Sacred Black Feminine. God Is a Black Woman is the chronicle of her liberating transformation and a critique of a society shaped by white patriarchal Christianity and culture. Christena reveals how America’s collective idea of God as a white man has perpetuated hurt, hopelessness, and racial and gender oppression. Integrating her powerful personal story, womanist ideology, as well as theological, historical, and social science research, she invites us to take seriously the truth that God is not white nor male and gives us a new and hopeful path for connecting with the divine and honoring the sacredness of all Black people.

 

THE FRIENDSHIP CONTRACT

by Mia Heintzelman

Romance


Amazon


This contract is entered into by and between Allegra Malone and Damon Dawson. The term of this agreement shall begin immediately and continue through its termination date of never.

The terms are as follows:

1. Find the bright side when your best friend (the woman you’ve secretly been in love with for 10+ years) finds an engagement ring in her live-in boyfriend’s gym bag.

2. When she discovers the ring isn’t for her, and you volunteer to mop up her tears, don’t freak out if you accidentally share a world-shattering kiss.

3. Remember she’s your best friend and law firm partner…and a hopeless romantic. Being her rebound isn’t worth risking the only family you have.

4. Immediately—rationally—draw up a no-strings agreement, stipulating equal opportunity orgasms. Under no circumstances is PDA or catching (further) feelings allowed.

5. If while adding a wedding plus-one clause, the doorbell rings and it’s a moving company with all her belongings, and now you’re going to be roommates, shower. The colder, the better.

In consideration of the mutual promises set forth herein, both parties agree that if at any time while forced to live and work together they find themselves falling in love, they will re-read the fine print.


Fine Print: Do not fall in love.

 

HOMICIDE AND HALO-HALO

by Mia P. Manansala

Cozy Mystery


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Things are heating up for Lila Macapagal. Not in her love life, which she insists on keeping nonexistent despite the attention of two very eligible bachelors. Or her professional life, since she can't bring herself to open her new café after the unpleasantness that occurred a few months ago at her aunt's Filipino restaurant, Tita Rosie's Kitchen. No, things are heating up quite literally, since summer, her least favorite season, has just started.

To add to her feelings of sticky unease, Lila's little town of Shady Palms has resurrected the Miss Teen Shady Palms Beauty Pageant, which she won many years ago—a fact that serves as a wedge between Lila and her cousin slash rival, Bernadette. But when the head judge of the pageant is murdered and Bernadette becomes the main suspect, the two must put aside their differences and solve the case—because it looks like one of them might be next.

 

CHERISH FARRAH

by Bethany C. Morrow

Horror/Thriller


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Seventeen-year-old Farrah Turner is one of two Black girls in her country club community, and the only one with Black parents. Her best friend, Cherish Whitman, adopted by a white, wealthy family, is something Farrah likes to call WGS--White Girl Spoiled. With Brianne and Jerry Whitman as parents, Cherish is given the kind of adoration and coddling that even upper-class Black parents can't seem to afford--and it creates a dissonance in her best friend that Farrah can exploit. When her own family is unexpectedly confronted with foreclosure, the calculating Farrah is determined to reassert the control she's convinced she's always had over her life by staying with Cherish, the only person she loves--even when she hates her.

As troubled Farrah manipulates her way further into the Whitman family, the longer she stays, the more her own parents suggest that something is wrong in the Whitman house. She might trust them--if they didn't think something was wrong with Farrah, too. When strange things start happening at the Whitman household--debilitating illnesses, upsetting fever dreams, an inexplicable tension with Cherish's hotheaded boyfriend, and a mysterious journal that seems to keep track of what is happening to Farrah--it's nothing she can't handle. But soon everything begins to unravel when the Whitmans invite Farrah closer, and it's anyone's guess who is really in control.

 

February 15 Releases

 

MOON WITCH SPIDER KING

by Marlon James

Fantasy


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In Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Sogolon the Moon Witch proved a worthy adversary to Tracker as they clashed across a mythical African landscape in search of a mysterious boy who disappeared. In Moon Witch, Spider King, Sogolon takes center stage and gives her own account of what happened to the boy, and how she plotted and fought, triumphed and failed as she looked for him. It’s also the story of a century-long feud—seen through the eyes of a 177-year-old witch—that Sogolon had with the Aesi, chancellor to the king. It is said that Aesi works so closely with the king that together they are like the eight limbs of one spider. Aesi’s power is considerable—and deadly. It takes brains and courage to challenge him, which Sogolon does for reasons of her own.

 

HER HEART'S DESIRE

by Anne Shade

LGBTQIA+ Romance


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Eve Monroe couldn't ask for a better life. She's free of an unhappy marriage, her event planning business is a success, and she's surrounded by the love and support of her family. Then Lynette walks into her life and her intense dark eyes and easy charm have Eve longing for a love her heart has always desired, but she's too afraid to admit to.

The last thing Lynette Folsom is looking for is love, especially with a closeted lesbian. She's gone down that road before and has nothing but a broken heart to show for it. When she meets Eve, she begins to wonder if love behind closed doors can really work.

Two women. One choice. Will they be able to overcome their doubts and fears to embrace their deepest desire?

 

ALL THE FLOWERS KNEELING

by Paul Tran

Poetry Collection


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Visceral and astonishing, Paul Tran's debut poetry collection All the Flowers Kneeling investigates intergenerational trauma, sexual violence, and U.S. imperialism in order to radically alter our understanding of freedom, power, and control. In poems of desire, gender, bodies, legacies, and imagined futures, Tran’s poems elucidate the complex and harrowing processes of reckoning and recovery, enhanced by innovative poetic forms that mirror the nonlinear emotional and psychological experiences of trauma survivors. At once grand and intimate, commanding and deeply vulnerable, All the Flowers Kneeling revels in rediscovering and reconfiguring the self, and ultimately becomes an essential testament to the human capacity for resilience, endurance, and love.

 

February 22 Releases

 

CAROLINA BUILT

by Kianna Alexander

Biographical Historical Fiction


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Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams.

As the demands of life pull Josephine’s attention—deepening her marriage, mothering her daughters, supporting her grandmother—she struggles to balance her real estate aspirations with the realities of keeping life going every day. She teaches herself to be a business woman, to manage her finances, and to make smart investments in the local real estate market. But with each passing year, it grows more and more difficult to focus on building her legacy from the ground up.

Moving and inspiring, Josephine Leary’s untold story speaks to the part of us that dares to dream bigger, tear down whatever stands in our way, and build something better for the loved ones we leave behind.

 

BOUND BY HER RIVAL'S BABY

by Maya Blake

Romance


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Atu Quayson is the rebel in a family that exudes power and influence. Unexpectedly pulled back into the Quayson empire, Atu must persuade Amelie Hayford, daughter of his father’s fiercest rival, to sell her family’s beach resort—to the enemy!

Why, wonders Amelie, does she feel such a wild attraction to the one man who is completely off-limits? Surrendering to the intense heat raging between them was inevitable. What they didn’t expect was the explosive consequences… And Amelie has to find the words to tell Atu she’s pregnant with his heir!

 

BLACK CLOUD RISING

by David Wright Faladé

Historical Fiction


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By fall of 1863, Union forces had taken control of Tidewater Virginia, and established a toehold in eastern North Carolina, including along the Outer Banks. Thousands of freed slaves and runaways flooded the Union lines, but Confederate irregulars still roamed the region. In December, the newly formed African Brigade, a unit of these former slaves led by General Edward Augustus Wild—a one-armed, impassioned Abolitionist—set out from Portsmouth to hunt down the rebel guerillas and extinguish the threat.

From this little-known historical episode comes Black Cloud Rising, a dramatic, moving account of these soldiers—men who only weeks earlier had been enslaved, but were now Union infantrymen setting out to fight their former owners. At the heart of the narrative is Sergeant Richard Etheridge, the son of a slave and her master, raised with some privileges but constantly reminded of his place. Deeply conflicted about his past, Richard is eager to show himself to be a credit to his race. As the African Brigade conducts raids through the areas occupied by the Confederate Partisan Rangers, he and his comrades recognize that they are fighting for more than territory. Wild’s mission is to prove that his troops can be trusted as soldiers in combat. And because many of the men have fled from the very plantations in their path, each raid is also an opportunity to free loved ones left behind. For Richard, this means the possibility of reuniting with Fanny, the woman he hopes to marry one day.

 

I'M SO (NOT) OVER YOU

by Kosoko Jackson

Rom-Com


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It’s been months since aspiring journalist Kian Andrews has heard from his ex-boyfriend, Hudson Rivers, but an urgent text has them meeting at a café. Mabe Hudson wants to profusely apologize for the breakup. Or confess his undying love. . . But no, Hudson has a favor to ask—he wants Kian to pretend to be his boyfriend while his parents are in town, and Kian reluctantly agrees.

The dinner doesn’t go exactly as planned, and suddenly Kian is Hudson’s plus one to Georgia’s wedding of the season. Hudson comes from a wealthy family where reputation is everything, and he really can’t afford another mistake. If Kian goes, he’ll help Hudson preserve appearances and get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in media. This could be the big career break Kian needs.

But their fake relationship is starting to feel like it might be more than a means to an end, and it’s time for both men to fact-check their feelings.

 

WILD IMPERFECTIONS

edited by Natalia Molebatsi

Essay Collection (Anthology)


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Featuring the work of Black women poets from Botswana to Brazil, in this collection, we encounter ancestors who made love, just for the sake of love, and women who die with each orgasm while attempting to mark the extent of their own humanities.

This is for the nuns, the singers, the clowns, the diviners and the conjurers who reject the constant attempt to clean up history. The wildly imperfect women of slick braids, shiny skin and succulent lips, building new homes from clouds for future legions.

Here congregate the women, womxn and womyn who do not believe in tough love that disguises hurt just to prove a point. They dance with the dead with exquisite feet, cheekbones high, reflecting their mothers' smiles.

Because no one claps for martyrs, these dirty/pretty women learn to walk cities like they own them, choosing the battles of their hearts.

If this collection teaches anything, it is that love is always messy, that our sacrament requires wet wipes and that we are just flesh and bone honing practice.

 

THIS HERE FLESH

by Cole Arthur Riley

Essay Collection


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“From the womb, we must repeat with regularity that to love ourselves is to survive. I believe that is what my father wanted for me and knew I would so desperately need: a tool for survival, the truth of my dignity named like a mercy new each morning.”

So writes Cole Arthur Riley in her unforgettable book of stories and reflections on discovering the sacred in her skin. In these deeply transporting pages, Arthur Riley reflects on the stories of her grandmother and father, and how they revealed to her an embodied, dignity-affirming spirituality, not only in what they believed but in the act of living itself. Writing memorably of her own childhood and coming to self, Arthur Riley boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest? In this indelible work of contemplative storytelling, Arthur Riley invites us to descend into our own stories, examine our capacity to rest, wonder, joy, rage, and repair, and find that our humanity is not an enemy to faith but evidence of it.

 

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