Related to: 'The Less-Stress Lifestyle'

December Book of the Month

Nikki and Damien continue in Take Me

I awake to an empty bed and the smell of frying bacon. I roll over to find my phone on the bedside table, then glance at the time. Not yet six. I groan and fall back among the pillows, but I don't really want to go back to sleep. What I want is Damien. I slide out of bed, then grab the tank top and yoga pants I'd left draped across a nearby armchair. I head barefoot out of the bedroom and move the short distance down the hall to the third-floor kitchen. We're standing in Damien's Malibu house, and the wall of windows that faces the ocean is wide open, the glass panels having been thrust aside to let in the breeze. The smell of the ocean mingles with the scent of breakfast and I breathe deep, realizing that I am content. Whatever demons had poked at me during the night, Damien effectively banished them. I glance toward the windows and out at the darkened Pacific. Waves glow white in the fading moonlight as they break upon the shore. There is beauty there, and part of me wants to walk to the balcony and stare out at the roiling, frothing water. But the siren call of the ocean is nothing compared to my desire to see Damien, and so I turn away from the windows and head straight to the kitchen. It is larger than the one in the condo I used to share with my best friend, Jamie, and it is not even the primary kitchen for this house. That is on the first floor, and could easily service a one-hundred-table restaurant. But this - the "small" kitchen - was installed as an adjunct to the open area that serves as a venue for entertaining, and since it is just down the hall from our bedroom, Damien and I have gotten into the habit of cooking our meals and eating in this cozier, more informal area. Usually we're joined by Lady Meow-Meow, the fluffy white cat I took custody over when Jamie moved out. I know Lady M misses Jamie, but she's also enjoying having the run of this huge house, and Gregory - the valet, butler, and all around house-running guy - spoils her rotten. Now I lean against the half wall that marks the break from hallway to kitchen. Damien is standing at the stove cooking an omelette as if he were nothing more than an ordinary guy. Except there is nothing ordinary about Damien Stark. He is grace and power, beauty and heat. He is exceptional, and he has captured me completely. At the moment, he is shirtless, and I cannot help the way my breath stutters as my eyes skim over the defined muscles of his back and his taut, strong arms. Damien's first fortune came not form business, but from his original career as a champion tennis player. Even now, years later, he has both the look and the power of an elite athlete. I let my gaze drift down appreciatively. He is wearing simple gray sweatpants that sit low on his narrow hips and cling to the curves of his perfectly toned ass. Like me, he is barefoot. He looks young and sexy and completely delicious. Yet despite his casual appearance, I can still see the executive. The powerful businessman who harnessed the world, who shifted it to his own liking and made a fortune in the process. He is strength and control. And I am humbled by the knowledge that I am what he values most of all, and that I will spend the rest of my life at his side. "You're staring," he says, his eyes still on the stove. I grin happily, like a child. "I enjoy looking at pretty things." He turns now, and his eyes rake over me, starting at my toes. "So do I," he says when his gaze reaches my face, and there is so much heat in his voice that my legs go weak and my body quivers with want. His mouth curves into a slow, sexy smile, and I am absolutely certain in that moment that I am going to melt. "You spoiled my surprise," he says, then nods toward the breakfast table where a tray sits with a glass bud vase displaying a single, red rose. "Breakfast in bed."

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YEAR OF WONDER: Classical Music for Every Day

Clemency Burton-Hill
Authors:
Clemency Burton-Hill
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Unplugged Parenting

Dr Elizabeth Kilbey
Authors:
Dr Elizabeth Kilbey

The book that every parent needs. Written by the expert child psychologist, Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, from Channel 4's The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds. 'Children who get too much screen time are at risk of anxiety disorders' - BBC NewsThis is the book that every parent with a child under the age of 11 (in the latency stage of brain development) needs in order to navigate the tricky pathway of how much screen time to allow on a daily basis. Play has gone from a physical, creative experience using toys and imagination to something that now involves sitting down alone for hours at a time. Parents are dealing with children who don't listen to them, who are unable to concentrate for very long, who refuse to do homework and who constantly battle against them for more screen time. In this book, Dr Elizabeth Kilbey will offer tangible, practical advice about how to 'unplug' your child from their device so their online time doesn't become all-consuming and how we, as parents, can plug in to connect with our children.

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The New Girl: A Trans Girl Tells It Like It Is

Rhyannon Styles
Authors:
Rhyannon Styles

'Inspiring and heart-wrenching' Paloma Faith 'Love Rhyannon. Love this book' Grace Dent The remarkable transgender memoir you won't stop hearing about. Rhyannon Styles will do for transgender what Matt Haig did for mental health. Elle columnist Rhyannon Styles tells her unforgettable life story in THE NEW GIRL, reflecting on her past and charting her incredible journey from male to female. A heart-wrenching, raw, frank, funny and utterly moving celebration of life.Imagine feeling lost in your own body. Imagine spending years living a lie, denying what makes you 'you'. This was Ryan's reality. He had to choose: die as a man or live as a woman.In 2012, Ryan chose Rhyannon. At the age of thirty Rhyannon began her transition, taking the first steps on the long road to her true self, and the emotional, physical and psychological journey that would change her for ever.In a time when the world is finally waking up to transgender people, Rhyannon opens up to us, holding nothing back in this heartbreakingly honest telling of her life. Through her catastrophic lows and incredible highs, Rhyannon paints a picture of what it's like to be transgender in glorious technicolor. From cabaret drag acts, brushes with celebrity and Parisian clown school, to struggles with addiction and crippling depression, Rhyannon's story is like nothing you've read before.Narrated with searing honesty, humour and poignancy, THE NEW GIRL is a powerful book about being true to ourselves, for anyone who's ever felt a little lost.

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When We Were the Kennedys

Monica Wood
Authors:
Monica Wood

WHEN WE WERE THE KENNEDYS is a brilliant, award-winning memoir about the death of a father and the healing of a family, by the acclaimed author of THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY, Monica Wood, for those who loved Cathy Rentzenbrink's THE LAST ACT OF LOVE or Helen Macdonald's H IS FOR HAWK. 'Stunning. The ordinary and extraordinary Wood family will capture your heart... It's by far one of my favourite books and I recommend it to everyone I know. Wonderful, and full of everyday wonders' Julie Cohen1963. The Wood family is much like their neighbours, all dependent on the fathers' wages from the local mill. But when Dad suddenly dies on his way to work one April morning, Mum and the four deeply connected Wood daughters are set adrift. And then, come November - the family still overwhelmed by grief, the country shocked by the assassination of President Kennedy - Mum announces an unprecedented family road trip. Inspired by the televised grace of Jackie Kennedy, herself a new widow with young children, Mum and her girls head to Washington, DC, to do some rescuing of their own. WHEN WE WERE THE KENNEDYS is a funny, moving and imaginative memoir about how one family and one country, each shocked by the unimaginable, find the strength to move on. 'Intimate but expansive ... A tender memoir of a very different time' O, the Oprah Magazine

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Mad Girl

Bryony Gordon
Authors:
Bryony Gordon
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Anxiety Rebalance

Carl Vernon
Authors:
Carl Vernon

Anxiety Rebalance is Carl Vernon's personal experience of overcoming 15 years of crippling anxiety. In this online best-seller, Carl combines a compelling account of his experience with the answers he found, including the 10 key actions that helped him achieve balance. The response from his readers (of his original self-published edition) has been extraordinary, and his solutions will become as much as a life manual as Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and Sane New World.'Throughout the fifteen years I battled with anxiety and depression I was constantly looking for a cure - until I realised I was looking for answers that didn't exist. Don't waste another minute.' Dealing with anxiety requires ONE thing: BALANCECarl's step-by-step guide teaches you: The truth about anxiety and depression - by exposing them for what they really are. How to instantly reduce your stress and anxiety, and feel immediate relief. How to control all anxiety-related symptoms and disorders including panic attacks, social anxiety, OCD and agoraphobia. Why BALANCE is the only real solution for overcoming anxiety and depression, Plus the 10 actions you need to take to achieve lifetime change.Where do you come on the ReBalance scale?

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The Naturalista

Xochi Balfour
Authors:
Xochi Balfour
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10 Keys to Happier Living

Vanessa King
Authors:
Vanessa King
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Detox Your Ego

Steven Sylvester
Authors:
Steven Sylvester

What stops you performing at your best? Your ego.Your ego is your natural defence system, triggered when strong emotions such as anxiety and fear sweep through you. When you're doing something important - preparing for an exam, taking a driving test, speaking in public, making a business presentation, or striving to improve your performance in sport - your ego is sure to interfere. By enabling you to understand your underlying motivations and anxieties, DETOX YOUR EGO helps you improve the way you go about achieving those goals.DETOX YOUR EGO takes you on a journey of self-discovery, a process that enables youto master your own ego in order to increase your health, happiness and purpose. Psychologist Steven Sylvester's inspiring and ground-breaking approach focuses on a brand new approach to winning. In DETOX YOUR EGO, Sylvester shares for the very first time the seven easy steps to be freer, happier and more successful in your life. DETOX YOUR EGO liberates you to be the best that you can be.

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Parisian Street Style

Zoé de Las Cases
Authors:
Zoé de Las Cases
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Mind Over Fatter: See Yourself Slim, Think Yourself Slim, Eat Yourself Slim

Anna Richardson
Authors:
Anna Richardson

'Are you tired of starving yourself silly to get that perfect summer bikini body, only to put a stone back on by Christmas? Fed up of starting the New Year with the latest diet 'craze' only to be back where you started - and more - by March? I was. Until I learned the secret every dieter needs to know - the power of hypnosis. In Mind Over Fatter I'll help to train your mind so you can break free of the diet cycle once and for all. Anna xx'Mind Over Fatter is Anna's three-step programme to long-term weight loss: use Anna's Free Online Hypnosis Sessions to teach your subconscious to see yourself slim; use Anna's scientifically proven Seven Secrets of Slim to think yourself slim; follow Anna's 14-day Healthy-Eating Plan, created from 60 delicious recipes, to eat yourself slim.

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7 Secrets of Confidence

Steve Miller
Authors:
Steve Miller

7 SECRETS OF CONFIDENCE is a no-nonsense, easy-to-use guide to overcoming your inner fears. Full of encouraging, step-by-step advice, this book is here to help you build your self-belief - learning to have confidence is at the heart of the Steve Miller brand. What sets Steve's book apart in this genre is that he has personally commissioned a survey to discover the top things people in the UK feel unconfident about. These form the structure of the book, and straight-talking Steve tells you what to DO about each one. Invaluable, informative, funny and life-changing, 7 SECRETS OF CONFIDENCE is the empowering new book from GMTV regular Steve Miller - it will bring out the successful and confident person in everyone.

Business Plus

Demand (India Only)

Adrian Slywotzky With Karl Web, Er
Authors:
Adrian Slywotzky With Karl Web, Er

Demand is one of the few economic terms almost everyone knows. Demand drives supply. When demand rises, growth happens - jobs are created, the economy flourishes and society thrives. So goes the theory.It sounds simple, yet almost no one really understands demand, including the business owners, company leaders and policy makers who try to stimulate and satisfy it. Aimed at a business and general non-fiction readership, DEMAND is a book which searches for clues as to where demand really comes from, and why, and how we might control it.

Bryony Gordon

In the 15 years that she has worked for The Telegraph, Bryony Gordon has become one of the paper's best loved writers. Her weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph has won her an army of fans who have followed her journey from single girl about town to - finally! - settled mum. Bryony is now 35 and lives in Nappy Valley (Clapham) with her baby daughter Edie and her husband, a financial journalist. The last sentence is one she never thought she would see written down on paper.

Carl Vernon

Carl Vernon is an entrepreneur, speaker and author renowned for his personal experience in overcoming anxiety after fifteen years. Since his transformation, Carl has been passionate about helping others overcome anxiety and achieve more than they thought possible by sharing life-changing habits and principles. Find more at www.carlvernon.com

Clemency Burton-Hill

Clemency Burton-Hill is one of the UK's leading arts broadcasters and writers. She is one of the presenters of BBC Radio 3 Breakfast, the Proms, and Young Musician of the Year as well as numerous other music and arts programmes on radio, television and online. A former presenter of The Culture Show and The Review Show, as a journalist she regularly contributes to the Observer, Economist, 1843 Magazine, FT Weekend, Guardian and Telegraph. She is also the classical music columnist for BBC Culture. An award-winning violinist, Clemency has performed all over the world under leading conductors. She is the co-founder of Aurora Orchestra and a patron of the music and arts education charities The Choir of London Trust and Dramatic Need.

Monica Wood

Monica Wood is an award-winning, bestselling novelist and memoirist. Born in Maine, New England, to an Irish Catholic family, she worked as a guidance counsellor and in a nursing home before becoming a full-time writer. She is also a singer, and travelled the New England circuit singing jazz, country, pop and gospel for many years. She lives in Maine with her husband.

Rhyannon Styles

Rhyannon Styles is a journalist, performance artist and musician. Her ground-breaking Elle column, 'The New Girl', charts her journey from male to female, where she bares all about her experience of transitioning. In her colourful life as a performer, career highlights include a show at the Guggenheim Museum NYC, dancing with Kylie Minogue on ITV and rollerskating naked at the Barbican art gallery. A star of the transgender community, Rhyannon was name-checked on Independent's Rainbow List as 'One to Watch'. Get up close and personal with Rhyannon online:Elle column: www.elleuk.com/tags/rhyannon-stylesWebsite: www.rhyannonstyles.comTwitter: @rhyannonstylesInstagram: @rhyannon_stylesYouTube: /RStyles

Zoé de Las Cases

Zoé de Las Cases is an illustrator and artistic director of a Parisian creative agency.She is the author of a number of colouring books including - Secret Paris: Colouring for mindfulness; Secret Japan: Colouring for mindfulness: Secret Paris: Colour Your Way to Calm. www.zoedelascases.comFollow on Twitter @zoedelascases

BACKTRACK author Jason Dean explains his research

Location scouting in the desert

So with BACKTRACK out in paperback, I figure now would a pretty good time to post about how I researched most of the Arizona-based locations in the book.