We know Demetria L. Lucas from the thoroughly modern monthly relationship advice she shares in the magazine you’re holding right now. Many more of us get another dose of her wisdom through her popular blog, A Belle in Brooklyn, which bursts at the cocktail seams with musings on a variety of dare-to-go-there topics, such as 30-year-old virgins and the rise in skin lightening creams for Bollywood male actors. This month readers will be buzzing about Lucas’s first book, A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to-Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life (Atria, $24). The Prince George’s County, Maryland, native pairs her ESSENCE reporting with the flavor of her blog to candidly chronicle the last 12 years of her own eye-opening and hilarious escapades from the front lines of the increasingly complicated singles battlefield .

Warning: A Belle in Brooklyn isn’t about dating politely in the legendary New York City borough. Rather, it’s more like a torrid tale of two cities—or seven, from the City of Angels to Hotlanta, or any of the other towns the itinerant Lucas landed in with gusto and pen in hand. There are overtones of Candace Bushnell’s Sex and the City (the basis for the monster hit series and movies): Lucas does have her own Mr. Big in the guise of debonair Greg, whom we meet in the juicy chapter “Can’t Be Friends.” But what’s refreshing about Belle is that it isn’t The Demetria Lucas Show, one of the reasons the editors chose it as an ESSENCE Book Club Recommended Read. Instead, Lucas opens up her life for the greater good of her readers. You don’t feel as if you’ve accompanied her to a private exam; it’s more like you’re hanging out at an intimate girl-friend’s gathering . There are good away, awful guys who stay around much too long, and the head-scratchers like the not-so-smooth hottie caught with his hand in the multiple-girlfriend jar. All the while, Lucas navigates the heartbreaks but never lets a man derail her personal or professional agenda. Unlike Sex and the City’s heroines, Lucas doesn’t end up crying in her Cosmos or splurging on expensive red-soled high heels. Not being a woman defined by a relationship, she manages to snag her master’s degree in journalism from NYU, work as a romance book editor for one of the biggest publishers in the world, and then land her dream job at ESSENCE without missing a beat or a date.

5 Dating Rules You Need to know

There is plenty to savor in A Belle in Brooklyn . Here are a few of our favorite bites:

1 If he doesn’t call, he’s not inter-ested. Period.

2 If he says he’s not ready for a rela-tionship, he’s not.

3 Just because he’s a good man does not make him the right man for you.

4 If you’re single and can’t find your type, go looking for him. There is nothing wrong with being proactive about what you want.

5 Know that if he is The One, he will be The One.