Maybe I’m just one of those people who as my mother would say won’t take telling but I want to try this again. This being an Antigua and Barbuda Readers Choice Book of the Year thingamajigee.
Hell, we don’t have any other kind of book award and there was a time when we weren’t producing enough books to merit one. But for a 170 square mile country – if we’re counting only the two main/inhabited islands – we have considerably increased our output in this area (there are 43 books/CDs listed here). So, why not give it a go. With no Wadadli Pen 2019 Challenge planned, this #readAntiguaBarbuda initiative fills that void re community engagement (in a comparatively low maintenance way). Realizing that we launched this very late last year and did not leave sufficient time for readers to read and recommend (though that doesn’t explain why authors didn’t vote or help us share the call to vote – authors remember you can vote, just not for your own book – no stacking the votes, let’s make it authentic), we’re counting 2017 and 2018 releases toward this prize – and we use prize loosely here as mostly this is for boasting rights (last year we did have an actual prize but that had to be shelved due to insufficient response and so far this year there’s no prize commitment). But what I believe this can do is give a boost to our local authors (especially as we also hope to let the media know about this as well). Christmas is coming up #buylocal (or if you can’t as some of these books are not available locally, still support the author’s creative output) and #readAntiguaBarbuda and, again, because there’s no Wadadli Pen 2019 Challenge, the voting period will be extended through the first quarter of 2019. So, share, vote. To vote, leave a comment explaining why you recommend the book of your choice below this post or just leave the name of the book (but preferably say something about the book). Full disclaimer and disclosure one of my books is listed but every vote/comment will be approved as long as it’s not spam or hate. You will notice that there’s a mix of genres, publishing platforms, etc. and that’s because we are not discriminating in any way – any release; print, ebook, spoken word, self-published, traditionally published, this genre, that genre is added as long as the author is listed in the Antiguan and Barbudan Writing database and has released a book 2017 and/or 2018 up to this posting date. A minimum of 20 replies/votes is required (though we hope for much more) for a winner to be declared. If you voted last year for a book listed here that vote doesn’t carry over, you need to vote anew. Books released after this post will not be added here but will be considered for the 2018-2019 if this continues. All of that is up to you. Is there a book you love that you believe others will love too, do you want to help it find more readers, do you want to let the author know how much you love their book? Well, tell them. Vote. If this doesn’t work, I’ll take telling. I’m hardheaded, not stupid. – Joanne C. Hillhouse, blogger, Wadadli Pen founder-coordinator, author, literary arts activist, book lover, and more.
A 2nd Anthology of Radical Thoughts & Empowering Perspectives by Marcus Mottley. 2017. In the second volume of Radical Thoughts & Empowering Perspectives, Dr. Marcus Mottley comments on some of the powerful forces and disturbing issues that are unfolding around us worldwide and particularly in his native Antigua and Barbuda. Over fifteen years ago he warned of the ‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ who used Antigua as his base to ravish Antigua and other Caribbean Governments and tempt corruptible politicians. It turns out that Mottley’s insight has been proven true since this Pirate has been caught and ‘quartered’ by the US Justice system for stealing money from gullible investors! A 2nd Anthology of Radical Thoughts & Empowering Perspectives continues to stimulate thinking.
The ABCs of the Black Panther Party by S. Khalilah Brann (w/Chemay Morales-James). Decolonizing Education Publishing. USA. 2017. Decolonizing Education Publishing™ aims to produce literary work that is deliberate in centering black and brown experiences, narratives, history, and cultural contributions. Decolonizing Education Publishing is a collaboration between the founders of Culturally Responsive Education of the African Diaspora (CREAD) – which supports teachers in ensuring positive racial identity development through education – and My Reflections Matters (MRM) – which provides the tools necessary to help combat institutional and internalized racism. The ABCs of the Black Panther Party, the first book from Decolonizing Education Publishing, introduces children 7 to 12 to the Black Panther Party. It supports the expansion of children’s oral and written language while awakening their social consciousness.
Be With You: A Valentine’s Romance by Roxy Wilson. 2017. Tameko ‘Meko’ Sampson has worked her butt off to make her detective agency a success. It means, however, that there are times her life is at risk, but she pushes on to ensure her clients are satisfied. Then in walks Seth Hollander, a man she barely noticed when they were in high school a decade ago. Seth has always been enamored by Meko, but she barely noticed him when they were teenagers and when tragedy struck, he had to move away. Now he’s back and this time, he wants Meko to be his…for keeps. As Meko and Seth get to know each other, they have to wrestle with Meko’s ex, as well as the soon-to-be ex-husband of one of her clients. And if that isn’t all, it seems as if Seth is secretly involved with another woman. Can Meko lay aside her distrust, or is Seth really a man who’s not worthy of her love? Will her Valentine’s Day be another lonely one like the ones before?
Bothism by Tanya Evanson. Ekstasis Editions. Canada. 2017.
Bothism is an experimental Sufi text. It is both sorrow and joy, day and night, content and form, dot and circle, the threshold between worlds. It moves from unity to multiplicity and back again exploring that which can be split and reunited: a cell, a relationship, society, faith, time, words on the page. It posits that if one thing is true, then the opposite must also true, and when asked to choose, the poet’s answer is always both.
The Cleansing of the Souls by Romenita Barrett. Discovering Diversity Publishing. United Kingdom. 2017. A young boy who is very creative and continually asking questions in the hope that one day he would fulfil his dreaming of flying. Abe knew his Nan always answered his questions but what he did not know that day as they stood waiting at the streets lights was that the answer to his latest question would change the course of his life and impact every soul in the universe. A journey of discovery begins for Abe when he learns that his is no ordinary family and as the magic and mysteries are revealed to him he encounters a blackness he has never known.
Delilah the Donkey and the Missing Tooth by Anne Harewood George (w/illustrator Izzy Bean). Createspace Independent Publishing Platform. 2017. Delilah the Donkey is excited for picture day at Animal Academy but disaster strikes when her tooth falls out. What will she do? Can anybody help her?
Dreamland Barbuda A Study of the History and Development of Communal Land Ownership on the Island by Asha Frank. 2018. In 2017, Barbuda was destroyed by hurricane Irma. This is a historical account of Barbuda’s struggle to maintain a historical and sustainable common land system which has existed from pre-Emancipation to present day.
Explore Antigua and Barbuda by Gemma Handy w/ Irene Danic and illustrator Manuel Morgado. Island Books Ltd. China. 2017. Explore Antigua & Barbuda is a fully illustrated, family-friendly guide with a companion colouring book.
F.A.K.E.! by Vivian Luke. 2018. F.A.K.E.! traces the lives of four professional African American women who have it all until life altering circumstances crash into their lives and they realize their lives are not perfect — they are FAKE! The quartet of “forty something” super moms are connected by their decades long friendship and their lives in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. To the outside, these women are well connected, busy and beautiful, but secretly each of them knows their lives are inauthentic and shallow – simply put, FAKE! Each of these women discovers her marriage and/or health (and, possibly all they’ve worked so hard for) is on the brink of destruction and must make life-changing decisions. It is their deep rooted, life long friendships that get them through some of the toughest periods in each of their lives.
Frank Walter: the Last Universal Man by Frank Walter (w/Barbara Paca). Radius Books. 2017. Coinciding with Antigua and Barbuda’s inaugural National Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2017, The Last Universal Man is the first comprehensive monograph of Frank Walter; a writer, composer, sculptor, and painter. Barbara Paca, an art historian who also serves as Cultural Envoy to Antigua and Barbuda, interviewed Walter over a seven-year period prior to his death, and provides insight and perspective into both the artist as a man and his prodigious body of work.
A Friend Indeed by Kimolisa Mings. 2017. A Friend Indeed – A ocean away from the only life she knows, Jade Johansen can’t seem to find her place in her husband’s home city of Aarhus, Denmark that is until she befriends a man from her husband’s past. As the friendship blossoms so does her guilt for not telling her husband about the other man in her life. A man whose intentions are far from noble and may lead to the end of Jade’s marriage. Will Jade’s husband forgive her for not telling him about the other man? And when he finds out that she’s pregnant, will he take Jade’s word that the baby is his?
Friends to Forever: A BWWM Friends to Lovers Romance by Roxy Wilson. 2018. Sadie Lawrence is a professional wedding planner who excels at making a couple’s big day perfect. Now, her best friend Hunter is getting married, and Sadie’s feelings are more than a little conflicted. She wants him to be happy … but the truth is, she wants him. Period. No matter how hard she tries not to. Hunter Galloway is battling constant temptation. The more time he spends with Sadie, the more he hungers for her touch. And the fact that his fiancée can’t be bothered to help plan her own wedding makes him wonder why they’re getting married at all. After the two succumb to their feelings and spend a passionate night together, everything starts to go wrong. Hunter feels trapped into going through with the wedding … and Sadie learns that Hunter has given her more than memories.
Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56 by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo. USA. 2018. Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56 is a look back at the body of work by Iyaba Ibo Mandingo. It includes his early work, the works written after his 9/11 arrest and detainment by homeland security and the latest work following his return to Afrika. “Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56” is Antiguan patois. It is a favorite saying of Iyaba Ibo Mandingo’s Great Grandmother, “Rozzy” Guy. It means you have a lot to say. As the grandchild of former enslaved Africans she remembers the elders talking about the heavy plows they used during slavery and the days of shooting hard labor (sharecropping) that followed. The size of each plow was designated by a number stamped on the handle. 56 was the number of the heaviest of them all. It was a perfect way to honor his Eguns (ancestors) and the perfect title for a collection of poetry.
The Gift (Falling Like A Johnson Book 1) by Rilzy Adams. Amazon Digital Services. 2017.The Gift – When Maya’s best friend, Charlotte, asks her to be her surrogate, she reluctantly agrees. Although pregnancy and motherhood were things Maya didn’t plan to deal with for years, she was willing to sacrifice nine months of her time for her best friend’s happiness. Her world is turned inside out when Charlotte is murdered just as Maya gets confirmation of the IVF’s success. Now, Maya must raise the child she never intended to keep and preserve peace with Charlotte’s widower, Jaxon. Soon Maya finds that pregnancy and impending motherhood are the least of her worries. She must fight against the tenderness she’s begun to feel for her best friend’s husband and she must atone for the sin she desperately tries to keep hidden. Maya Jenkins killed her best friend.
Gillie’s World by Gillian McDonald Howie. 2018. Stories based on childhood memories, plucked from diaries throughout the years.
God’s Sovereignty Over Our Lives by Aloma Mason-Stanislaus. The individual must come to the place where they acknowledge their wickedness and desire to turn their lives around. Without that realization, prayer and fasting is done in vain. When we start listening and obeying, we will experience the abundance of life that God has in store for us.
Greer’s Alphas: A Paranormal Menage by Roxy Wilson. 2017. Greer’s Alphas: The unthinkable takes place when she’s leaving a long, grueling shift at the hospital—just after she has lost a young patient…Dr. Greer McAdams is attacked by a beast, a wolf. And now an evil force is hot on her trail, seeking to destroy her. Falling for Dr. Bryce ‘McDirty’ Trevino seems inevitable, but the enigmatic billionaire, Conan Stormwater, has set his sights on her. Two men, two different personalities, what can this newly formed werewolf do?
Hidden Secrets of St. Croix by Clarice C. Clarke. 2017. Hidden Secrets of St. Croix juxtaposes images of St. Croix’s history and natural life with the author’s commentary.
Hol de Line and Other Stories by Mary Geo Quinn. Caribbean Education Publishers. Trinidad and Tobago. 2017. Hol de Line and Other Stories details the non-fictitious accounts of events from as far back as the 1940s.
How to Work Six Jobs on an Island an Island Boy’s Dream by Shawn N. Maile. 2017. An inside look at how an island boy went from having 0 jobs to 6. If you live on an island and you’re only working one job… you my friend are missing out. With 24 hours in a day and a short distance to commute between locations, an island is the ideal place to engage in multiple vocations. Find out how you could do more with your day or how others got it done.
I Do…NOT by Kimolisa Mings. 2017. I Do…NOT: Attorney at Law, Alexa Marsh, has everything going for her. A successful career. A great social life. And the perfect man. But all that glitters is not gold, or in her case, platinum. After returning the ring, bringing the short lived engagement to an end, Alexa embarks on the single life. But this, too, is short lived. Instead of meeting one Mr. Right-Now, she meets two. Alexa tells herself that she’s just dating, but the more she spends time with the men, the more they seem to be Mr. Rights. But which Mr. Right should she choose? The self-made millionaire with the heart of gold? Tall, dark and handsome who caters to Alexa’s needs? If she doesn’t choose, the choice may be taken away and the results may change her life forever.
If the Shoe Fits by Kimolisa Mings. 2017. If the Shoe Fits – It’s The Perfect Frame Job, The Only Problem Is She Is The one Being Framed. Waking up in the midst of a gruesome crime scene, Cindy Ellington can’t remember the night before. She narrowly escapes it and is now on the run. Stumbling onto the city’s biggest murder case, Detective Sam Masterson discovers two bodies. But one is very much alive and now is the chief suspect in the death of a city official. But is she the killer? The more Sam investigates, the more he doubts that Cindy commited the heinous crime, even though all the evidence points to her, chiefly the murder weapon, a red stiletto. With the law on her trail, Cindy seeks the truth only to discover that it is closer to home than she thinks.
Into the Black Widow’s Web by K. N. Mings. 2018. Into the Black Widow’s Web – Audra Kellman is found dead in a place that is said to be where demons cross over to the human world. Now Three People Want To Find The Killer. The head of an underground narcotic distribution ring. The CEO of an influential group of companies. And a reluctant private investigator who is more interested in finding out the true identity of the person who hired him than finding out who killed the innocent woman execution style. As D’Angelo Marshall, a private investigator who walks on the razor edge of the law, investigates the case he finds himself caught up in a web of secrets. And the case takes him in a new direction that would change his life forever.
Just One More Time (Falling Like a Johnson Book 3) by Rilzy Adams. 2018. When Orlando Johnson walked out on Katrina Bolton nearly a decade ago, he swore to anyone who would listen that he would never regret it. Now fate has tossed them back together in the form of a little boy who needs their love and protection and Orlando realizes leaving Kat was the worst mistake of his life. Orlando is determined to get her back, but can he convince her to let them try their hand at love just one more time?
Just Write Antigua Journal by Brenda Lee Browne. 2017. Browne designed the Just Write Antigua Journal as a space to write and be inspired by pictures taken as she walked and drove around Antigua.
Learning Bible-verses: the Vow, the Wow, the Now by W. Elloy D. de Freitas. 2018. This book is the sharing of Elloy’s testimony from a transaction (vow), to a revelation, to a new comprehension of reality, and for traction and action. Learning Bible-verses is one of several paths to GOD. Learning Bible-verses encourages making the Bible a delight with its associated benefits of holistic happiness, prosperity, success, and shalom.
Legend of Integrity and Courage by Nuffield J. Burnette. 2017. Chapter 1 – The Beginning; Chapter 2 – Hurricane David; Chapter 3 – Arrival in Antigua; Chapter 4 – The World at Work; Chapter 5 – IHI Investigation; Chapter 6 – Change of Government; Chapter 7 – Multiple Homicide in Antigua; Chapter 8 – Family Life; Chapter 9 – Senior Command Course 2009; Chapter 10 – Prince of the City Explores; Chapter 11 – Regional Recognition Awards; Chapter 12 – When Logic Defy Intellect; Chapter 13 – Through the Lens; Chapter 14 – Deterrent Verses Punishment.
Life as Josephine by Claytine Nisbett. 2017. Life As Josephine takes place in the 1990s, chronicling the formative years of a strong-willed Bronx, New York teenager, Josephine Peters.
London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne. Hansib. UK. 2017. This is the story of Dante Brookes, a young man growing up in London in the late seventies and early eighties when sound systems ruled the party scene for young, Black British youth of Caribbean heritage. He navigates the loss of friends, police harassment and being a teenage father while forging a career as an MC. Dante stumbles into the acting profession and also becomes a writer. It is through these disparate experiences that he learns that the pen and mic at mightier than the sword.
Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure by Joanne C. Hillhouse [w/illustrator Danielle Boodoo-Fortune]. Caribbean Reads Publishing. St. Kitts-Nevis/USA. 2017. LOST! A Caribbean Sea Adventure – When an Arctic seal named Dolphin finds himself far from home in the warm Caribbean sea, he has to rely on new friends for help. Will he make his way back to his Arctic home? This book, an update of 2013’s Fish Outta Water (illustrated by Zavian Archibald), includes a short story, all new illustrations by Danielle Boodoo Fortune, and a puzzle. Lost! is available in print, ebook, and audio format; there is also a Spanish language edition (¡Perdida! Una Aventura en El Mar Caribe).
Meant to Be: A BWWM Friends to Lovers Romance (Loving A Morrison Book 1) by Roxy Wilson. 2018. Sloane Stevenson has always had a skewed concept of what love is. But now, Sloane, an intelligent attorney with a heart brimming with compassion, finds herself repeating history when she falls in love with Blake Morrison, a Caucasian man, with his smoldering gaze, who makes her dreams take flight. Although Sloane’s heart yearns for him, their relationship is bombarded with verbal attacks, and her past experiences only serve to reinforce her idea that interracial marriages never work. His brother’s bachelor party is the wake-up call he needs to return to town to chase down his lost love. Unbeknownst to Sloane, her best friend works alongside Blake to finally get the pair back together. But the obstacles and societal demands haven’t changed in the past five years. Sloane must overcome her distorted beliefs about love and need to play love safe if she’s to find true love and happiness with Blake. Otherwise, they’re both destined for a life of emptiness. Note for readers: MEANT TO BE was previously published as The Right Kind of Love. This new edition has been revised.
Milo’s First Winter (Milo’s Adventures)(w/illustrator Ros Webb). Fig Tree Drive PressAmazon Digital Services. USA. 2018. Milo’s First Winter is a picture book for children between the ages of three and eight years of age. It tells the enchanted tale of Milo, a black and white kitten, that got out of the house while it was snowing. It was Milo’s first time seeing the snow and he was in such awe of the snowflakes that he kept trying to catch them. This chasing after snowflakes took Milo on an unforgettable adventure.
My Guardian Vampire: a BBW Paranormal Romance by Roxy Wilson. 2017. My Guardian Vampire: On a night that should have been an ordinary one, curvy BBW Lacey Parker is accosted by a knife-wielding mugger, but is soon rescued by a charismatic stranger. Not even 24 hours later, Lacey’s life is once again at risk and her rescuer of the previous night snatches her from the jaws of death. Vampire Aric Thornton knew Lacey from the moment of her birth. His existence revolves around watching her every footstep and protecting her from the enemies she knows nothing about. He loves her with every fiber of his otherworldly being, but the crazy thing is she didn’t even know he existed… until one night in the darkened alley. Lacey can’t stand it; one minute Aric is all over her, can’t get his hands off of her, and the next he is giving her the cold shoulder. It doesn’t help that Damian is also vying for her affections. Can she and Aric defeat the forces that are conspiring against them and still have the love of a lifetime before it’s too late?
The Nakedness of New by Althea Romeo-Mark. CreateSpace Independent Publish Platform North/South Carolina, USA. 2018.The Nakedness of New is divided into six sections: I Caribbean Rooted, II: The Stories of Immigrants, III: Ugly Stories, IV: Lost Love/Liberia (West Africa), V: Sifting Through Life’s Grains, and VI: Going Past Rivers. Althea Romeo-Mark’s verse gives the reader a close-up view of life as an immigrant in the Caribbean and details her experiences in England after fleeing the violence of the Liberian civil war. She takes the reader inside the uneasy tapestry of immigrant cultures that form the Caribbean islands. She goes on to explore the problems encountered by women in a society that is male-dominated, unstable, and unjust; by immigrants displaced from their homes and their ways of life; and by families committed to each other no matter what comes. The Nakedness of New also includes three revealing personal essays and a section focused on her maternal grandmother, a controversial personality who held the family together. Through it all run the themes of resiliency, heart, and dedication to living.
Off Key by Rilzy Adams. Amazon Digital Services. 2017.Off Key – When Zoë Caldwell’s record label threatens to drop her unless she pretends to date the embattled, disgraced Liam Trafford, she almost gives up on her dreams. But she had come too far to just fail, so she makes a deal with the Devil.When Liam Trafford’s manager suggests he pretended to date a beautiful girl with an angelic voice to save his career he reluctantly agrees. He doesn’t want to rehabilitate his reputation. He wishes he could go back in time to fix the mistake that ruined both his life and that of an innocent girl. Soon they both realize that the past cannot be fixed but the future is wide open and maybe, just maybe, they can save each other.
The Plantations of Antigua, the Sweet Success of Sugar, Volume I by Agnes Meeker (w/Donald Dery). AuthorHouse. USA. 2018. It covers the 50 plantations in the Parish of St. John’s, Antigua, 28 of which still have a sugar mill standing. The majority of Antigua and Barbuda’s place names stem from plantations or their owners. This book provides a chronology of ownership and brief quotes from other works that pertain to each plantation, listed in order from the late 1600’s to the demise of sugar in 1970s – 300 years of sugar history. It represents over 20 years of research.
The Royal Wedding by Dotsie Isaac. Antigua. 2018. The Royal Wedding is a spoken word poem released as a CD single in response to the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The Shout: For HALCYION STEEL’S CHAMPIONSHIP PANORAMA 1975 by Franklyn Jones. GG LLC. 2017.One player’s tale of Antigua’s Halcyon Steel Orchestra’s rise, and the tremendous Shout of appreciation that welcomed the band as Steelband Champions in 1975.
Sunny Dreams Of Rainbows (The Secret Lives of Babies) by Jacquelin Webson and Faye France (w/illustrator Ros Webb). Figtree Drive Press. 2018. While out walking with her mother one day, a little girl named Sunny sees a rainbow for the first time. Now, she cannot stop thinking and dreaming about rainbows.
When Grandma Comes to Stay (When Family Comes to Stay Book 1) by Jacquelin Webson and Faye France (w/illustrator Jayamini Attanayake).Figtree Drive Press. 2018. A family with young children is filled with joy and excitement when they find out that their grandmother is coming to stay with them for a while. As they wait anxiously for her arrival, they reminisce about all the wondrous things they get to do with her when she visits.
Will you be Mine? (Falling like a Johnson Book 2) by Rilzy Adams. Amazon Digital Services. 2017. Will You Be Mine? – JT Johnson has been in love with his best friend for as long as he can remember. Hallie, however, seems clueless or deliberately obtuse. When she asks him to pretend to be her boyfriend for her ex-best friend’s wedding, JT hesitantly agrees. Will their escape to the Caribbean be Heaven or Hell in Paradise?
Will You Be My Friend? (Making Friends Book 1) by Jacquelin Webson and Faye France (w/illustrator tullipstudio).Figtree Drive Press. 2018. Left alone by his young owners who are too busy to properly take care of him a young puppy sets out on a search to find a friend. Along the way, he encounters surprises and heartbreak as he tries to make friends with a lot of different animals, but they all turn against him. However, the little dog is tough and never gives up; until finally, he finds friendship in the most unexpected place.
The Wonderful World of Yohan by Floree Williams Whyte (with illustrator Stoogeco). Moondancer Books. Antigua. 2017. Welcome to the Wonderful World of Yohan! Yohan’s world is a creation of his vivid imagination. This series of short stories follow Yohan’s imagination-inspired adventures. From day to day his adventures transform his reality and often lead him into accidental mischief.