An uneven self-help book that still offers a solid starting point for those trying to discover why romantic happiness eludes...



From the Wake Up to the Consciousness of Self-Love series , Vol. 1

Meditations on the true nature of love.

We’re all looking for love in all the wrong places, according to Chen (Door to Inner Voice, 2015). In this book, she writes that she used to wonder why she was “always starving for love” and playing “the role of deserted woman,” so she looked inward and discovered that she needed to learn to love herself before she could find love with another. She shares her resulting insights in this brief volume. “All of your troubles will evaporate at once,” she explains, “if you allow self-love to heal that broken piece of your heart and restore the healthy version of yourself.” Her process of self-love starts with meditation, which she outlines in the first two chapters. Specifically, she urges readers to practice both static and dynamic meditation, although she doesn’t clearly explain the difference between the two practices or how to engage in them. She also discusses how to recognize signs of low self-esteem that can cause one to seek out unhealthy, unbalanced romantic relationships. The book’s latter half consists of notable quotes on love from Mother Teresa, St. Francis of Assisi, Zora Neale Hurston, Lao Tzu, and others, followed by Chen’s analysis. Throughout, she offers the sensible message that if a person can’t nurture and care for a healthy self, he or she will never be able to develop a healthy romantic relationship. However, its emphasis on karmic debt and the law of attraction is troubling; statements such as, “If someone mistreats you or hurt you badly…somewhere and sometime in the past you have done something wrong to that person” and “We all get the love that we deserve” seem dangerously close to rationalizing abuse and victim blaming. Some awkward phrasing may also trip up readers, such as, “Something that defines self is the key for the love to pierce through the hurdles of our days and years and remain long lasting.”

An uneven self-help book that still offers a solid starting point for those trying to discover why romantic happiness eludes them.

Pub Date: April 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5327-0274-7

Page Count: 78

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

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Honest messages from one of America's best known women.


A compilation of advice from the Queen of All Media.

After writing a column for 14 years titled “What I Know For Sure” for O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Winfrey brings together the highlights into one gift-ready collection. Grouped into themes like Joy, Resilience, Connection, Gratitude, Possibility, Awe, Clarity and Power, each short essay is the distilled thought of a woman who has taken the time to contemplate her life’s journey thus far. Whether she is discussing traveling across the country with her good friend, Gayle, the life she shares with her dogs or building a fire in the fireplace, Winfrey takes each moment and finds the good in it, takes pride in having lived it and embraces the message she’s received from that particular time. Through her actions and her words, she shows readers how she's turned potentially negative moments into life-enhancing experiences, how she's found bliss in simple pleasures like a perfectly ripe peach, and how she's overcome social anxiety to become part of a bigger community. She discusses the yo-yo dieting, exercise and calorie counting she endured for almost two decades as she tried to modify her physical body into something it was not meant to be, and how one day she decided she needed to be grateful for each and every body part: "This is the body you've been given—love what you've got." Since all of the sections are brief and many of the essays are only a couple paragraphs long—and many members of the target audience will have already read them in the magazine—they are best digested in short segments in order to absorb Winfrey's positive and joyful but repetitive message. The book also features a new introduction by the author.

Honest messages from one of America's best known women.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1250054050

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Flatiron View Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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A realistic, motivating conversation about weight loss for those who have tried everything else and failed.


Part memoir and part pep talk, this debut book urges dieters to stop counting fat grams and learn to enjoy food.

When her mother died, Irwin was devastated. She was also mortified that old friends would see her at the funeral because she had “gained so much weight.” Trapped in a cycle of yo-yo dieting that had begun when she was in junior high, Irwin was a size 22 by the time she was in her 40s. Miserable, she constantly berated herself while agonizing over calories and eating prepackaged diet industry food. Then one day Irwin decided to stop dieting and love herself at any weight, eating without guilt or shame. A big believer in the “law of attraction,” where thoughts create reality, she began thinking positively about herself. Retraining her mind to view food as pleasurable nourishment, she started eating nutrient-dense items—including leafy green vegetables and fruits. And if she wanted a piece of cake—well, she just went ahead and devoured it. The pounds began coming off naturally, and as time passed, Irwin’s once overweight body became fit. This dramatic and familiar life story quickly turns into an upbeat motivational speech for stressed-out dieters, as Irwin divulges her no-frills secret for healthy weight loss—eat good food and feel great about it. While this common-sense approach isn’t new, diet-disgusted readers who don’t mind a curse word or two may be able to relate to Irwin’s friendly, plainspoken voice, as when she describes dysfunctional labels people often place on food: “How about this classic attitude, ‘Fuck it, I’ve been so bad this week I think I’ll just eat the rest of this box of cookies’?” Some of the author’s inspirational thoughts are memorable: she compares the negative voice in her head to a bully who shouldn’t be tolerated. Light on diet jargon and health-related facts (the author mentions that 68.5 percent of U.S. adults are overweight, but she doesn't cite sources), this thin, fast-paced work can be read in a couple of hours.

A realistic, motivating conversation about weight loss for those who have tried everything else and failed.    

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5043-6051-7

Page Count: 124

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2017

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