LIFE WITH BILLY by Brian Vallée is the true story of the horrific abuse suffered by Jane Stafford at the hands of her spouse – 5 Stars 

Title: LIFE WITH BILLY

Author: BRIAN VALLÉE

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, CANADIAN BOOKS

Length: 238 PAGES

PUBLISHER: A SEAL BOOK – FROM MCCLELLAND-BANTAM INC.

RELEASE DATE: JULY 1986

ISBN: 0-7704-2239-X

PRICE: $6.99 CDN

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

This book is one I picked up many years ago and has been sitting on a shelf for years. My husband picked it up and read it which prompted me to do the same.

This book was published in 1986 and the version I have is that 1986 book. It reflects the attitudes of that time period and even some of the desvriptive words that are included would NEVER appear in books written nowadays. For example, when describing one of the people who knew Billy Stafford, it says: “Warrington, a black, channels his energies into improving race relations in his province.” No modern author would ever describe a person as “a black” since it sounds derogatory, but in 1986 there was nothing wrong with using those words as descriptors.

In LIFE WITH BILLY, the reader learns early on in the book that Billy Stafford was killed by a shotgun blast and that the “murderer” was his wife, Jane.

As you continue to read, you realize that Jane Stafford was more of a victim than the person she killed.

This is the true story of an abused wife who just could not take another beating and who in desperation and fear did the only thing she could think of to stop the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse once and for all.

The location of the isolated hamlet of Bang’s Falls, Nova Scotia where Jane and Billy lived.

This story is NOT for the faint-of-heart. The descriptions of the abuse Jane suffered are truly horrific and her husband, Billy was a true sadist and in my opinion, was as evil as it is possible to be.

Billy Stafford was a man who was basically a bully and a sadist. He forced Jane to commit many acts of sexual depravity and who abused not only her but their son as well.

One of the police officers who arrested Jane was overheard saying that she deserved a medal. It is my belief that Billy damaged her psyche so severely that she became a shell of a person who was not living – she and her son were merely existing.

This book was published at a time when spousal abuse was treated as a matter between husband and wife and was not a problem that law enforcement wanted any part of. The killing of Billy Stafford shone a spotlight on this issue in Canada and the United States. The media coverage was extensive and battered wives who thought they were alone finally realized that they were not alone at all.


I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

PURCHASE “LIFE WITH BILLY” ONLINE 

UNOFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE TO DISCUSS THE BOOK & THE MOVIE   

MORE INFORMATION


WHAT HAPPENED TO JANE AFTER HER TRIAL AND PROBATION ENDED  

1991 – Jane with her new husband on their honeymoon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Sections

  1. News
  2. GTA

Brian Vallée, 70: ‘Terrific journalist’ was everyone’s best friend

Award-winning journalist and passionate campaigner against domestic violence, Brian Vallée, dies at 70.

Combatting domestic violence was a consuming passion for Brian Vallée. He is seen here at a 2008 book signing for The War on Women, which chronicled cases of women murdered by their male partners, and the failure of the justice system to protect them.

Combatting domestic violence was a consuming passion for Brian Vallée. He is seen here at a 2008 book signing for The War on Women, which chronicled cases of women murdered by their male partners, and the failure of the justice system to protect them.  (COURTESY OF NANCY RAHTZ)  

A tireless voice against domestic violence.

A master of the tourtière meat pie.

But above all else Brian Vallée “was a terrific journalist,” said Ron Base, Vallée’s best friend of 40 years and former colleague at the Star.

“He strongly believed in accuracy. He would go after a story with a doggedness I always found quite remarkable.”

The former Toronto Star reporter died from cancer in St. Michael’s Hospital on Friday morning.

BORN OF THE PHOENIX: THE CRIMSON SAPPHIRES by David Murray Forrester IS A GORGEOUSLY ILLUSTRATED AND EXCEPTIONALLY WELL WRITTEN NOVELLA Fully Deserving of a 5 Star Rating 

Title: THE CRIMSON SAPPHIRES

Series: BORN OF THE PHOENIX: BOOK ONE

Author: DAVID MURRAY FORRESTER  

Illustrator: MATOELGRANDE 

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Genre: FANTASY, NOVELLA

Length: 62 PAGES

Publisher: DELENAIR PRODUCTIONS

Release Date: MAY 28, 2016

ISBN: 9781533504999

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


* I received a free softcover copy of this novella from the author through the 
Goodreads Giveaway program. 


 

GOODREADS DESCRIPTION

 The champions of old have passed. The end of heroes has befallen the continent of Sapphiron and with no mighty warriors of valour and chivalry the moral conscious of the people is falling into decline. Born a Larrosan descendant, Ravage faces not only the dangers of living on a continent fraught with monsters and sorcery but also constant prejudice yet her strong soul does not wither under adversity, the challenges only temper her unyielding constitution forging a soul that burns with indomitable fortitude. With a hideous shorku devouring the flesh of hapless travellers on the outskirts of her home town of Delepode, Ravage finds herself interwoven with the violent events that are taking place all around her.

MY REVIEW:

This may only be a 62 page novella, but it is full-length quality.

The world building was outstanding and the character development was excellent.

I did not expect this novella to be so wonderfully written and illustrated, but I absolutely LOVED it. In fact, I am very much looking forward to reading more books and/or novellas in this series.

Yes, it is a fantasy story, but it is so much more than that. The characters face not only terrifying monsters that rip unwary travellers to pieces, but they also have to face prejudice based on their heritage and/or on their chosen occupation.

There is also a gripping storyline with twists that the reader will not see coming and which setup the storyline for the next episode.

My only complaint? That I don’t yet own the other book in the series, but I plan to rectify that soon and I will be keeping an eye out for more books in the series.


I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

You can purchase this book online at: 

ETSY  

AMAZON     

CREATE SPACE  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 

 

DAVID MURRAY FORRESTER (1981) Growing up in the Blue Mountains in Australia David quickly developed a love of forests and adventure (much like the elves of Lothlorien hehe) He spent the 80’s watching cartoons such as Voltron, He-man and Astro boy and building Lego castles. As he continued aging his interest in cartoons evolved into an anime fascination with The Twelve Kingdoms and Claymore being at the top of his list. He muchly enjoys Playstation, fast cars, Pepsi, cats and tomato sauce. His book writing began at an early age with short stories and over the years his passion for words grew and blossomed into his first novel Born of the Phoenix. David plans to continue his career in writing until he is old and grey.


FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK AND IT’S AUTHOR AT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

FACEBOOK   

OFFICIAL BLOG   

GOODREADS  

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE  

BOY ROBOT – Simon Curtis’ debut novel will be released on October 25th – A terrific Young Adult character driven Sci-Fi. 4 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

Title: BOY ROBOT  

Series: BOOK ONE OF A PLANNED TRILOGY 

Author: SIMON CURTIS

Type of Book: HARDCOVER

Genre: YOUNG ADULT, SCIENCE FICTION

Length: 432 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER TEEN 

Release Date: OCTOBER 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7564-8 

Price: $17.99 USD / $23.99 CAN

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Imagine losing your mother before you even had a chance to meet her because  she died giving birth to you.

Historically, women used to die in childbirth all the time, but with the advent of modern medicine, this has become a rare event. The fact that it doesn’t happen very often is no consolation to Isaak who ends up being raised by “parents” who show him not a single ounce of love.

He thought his life already sucked. Little did he know – it was about to get worse – much worse.

On the night of his eighteenth birthday, his life is changed forever.

Lying in bed trying to fight off the mother of all migraine headaches, a mysterious and incredibly strong girl tells him to come with her if he wants to live. (Yes, it sounds kind of like a knock off from a scene from the Terminator – but it is my opinion that she was trying to add a bit of levity to a terrifying situation.) Turns out she showed up just in time and the pair end up running for their lives.

Isaak has no idea what is happening. He has no enemies and can’t think of anyone who would want to hurt him – nevermind someone wanting him dead.

His savior is a girl named Azure and it is her that explains to him that they are both robots and that a highly trained, highly deadly, secret branch of the US government is hunting down and destroying any and all robots.

His only hope for survival is to reach the hidden, secret base of the Underground, which is a group of robots (and some humans) that are fighting back.

The way my description makes it sound, it seems like this book is a science fiction novel, which I guess it is, but really it is a story about the characters themselves.

The character development is excellent but the world building leaves much to be desired. I would have liked to have had more information about the resistance and it’s leaders. I am hoping that this information will be included in the next book in the trilogy. 

This book includes so many personal, moral and ethical issues that readers could literally discuss this book for hours before exhausting the different topics. This makes it especially perfect for book clubs.

Here is a list of just a few of the topics and issues that are included in this book:

* Death of a parent
* Child abuse – physical
* Child abuse – mental and emotional
* Puberty
* Teenage Angst
* Bullying
* The desire for acceptance
* The desire for love & connection
* Transgender youth
* Sexuality
* Confusion over sexual identity
* What is the definition of life?
* What makes you human? Is it biology or psychology?
* Moral dilemmas such as:
– Would you leave a friend behind to face certain death in order to save yourself?
– Would you be willing to kill to save yourself?

I could go on and on with the list, but I think you get the idea.

Overall I enjoyed this book and I think that Simon Curtis has done a terrific job on his debut novel. I give BOY ROBOT 4 out of 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

  • Pre-Order online at AMAZON 


* I received a free copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  


SIMON CURTIS was born in Michigan and raisef in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was diagnosed with leukemia at age 10 and began performing in musical theater and opera that same year. He was the happiest bald, chemo-therapy-addled cancer patient ever seen on stage. At eighteen, he moved to L.A. After various roles on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, Simon left acting to pursue music, releasing his first album, 8bit Heart, as a free download, followed by his second album, RA, which landed at number 20 on Billboard’s Dance & Electronic Albums chart.

Simon continues to write and release music as an independent recording artist, and looks forward to his new chapter as an author. Above all else, he strives to inspire hope in young people.


BOY ROBOT is his first novel.

To learn more about this inspiring young man, visit the following links:

PUBLISHER OFFICIAL WEBSITE   

GOODREADS       

TWITTER  

INSTAGRAM   

SIMON’S MUSIC WEBSITE   

AYAHUASCA by Jonathan Huls is disturbing and truly horrifying. COMING SOON – Release Date September 1st

Title: AYAHUASCA

Author: JONATHAN HULS

Genre: HORROR, FICTION  

Publisher: DUVINCHI MEDIA GROUP
Release Date: SEPTEMBER 1, 2016 

ASIN: B01JH0HW4A 

Price: $9.99 CDN (EBOOK ON AMAZON)

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟


** I feel compelled to warn potential readers that this book is 100% NOT suitable for anyone under the age of 18.


*** This book contains graphic violence, sexual sadism and other adult content. If scenes of violence or rape are triggers for you, you should not read this book.

Wow! What a way to start a review. I almost feel bad for writing warnings, but I would not want someone to damage themselves emotionally just to read a new horror novel.

OFFICIAL BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Best friends since childhood, Damien and Paxton are going on a college graduation trip of a lifetime to the jungles of Peru. Their adventures along the way will culminate in a night of consuming the mind-altering drug ayahuasca – the most potent DMT based hallucinogen known to man. Will the experience expand their consciousness and change them into the men society beckons? Or will the young men’s shadowy backgrounds turn the trip so dark that it will consume them and everyone around them?

  

MY REVIEW

AYAHUASCA is the story of two entitled rich young men who have just graduated college and who have carefully planned out a very special trip to celebrate.

Imagine the trouble that two young men with lots of money can get into. Add to that the fact that they are both extremely good looking with great bodies. Plus, Damian does not care about anyone other than Paxton. “Love ’em and leave ’em” seems to be a way of life for Damian.

Not only do Damian and Paxton have lots of random sex, but they also take ridiculously large amounts of drugs and their alcohol intake would kill most people or at the very least would end up with a trip to the hospital to have their stomach pumped.

Damian and Paxton seem to be compelled to keep upping the ante as to how dangerous and extreme their behavior is. Any drug is fair game and every time they take something, they take so much of it that they are lucky to be alive.

Until reading this book, I had never heard of the drug AYAHUASCA. But Damian and Paxton had not only heard of it, they wanted to try it. It seems to similar to, but much more potent than peyote.

According to http://www.ayahuasca-info.com and http://www.azarius.com AYAHUASCA can be used for healing and can also be used to inflict harm. “In the Amazon bad luck and illness are generally assigned to sorcery.” 

Shamanistic Ayahuasca Ceremony

Ayahuasca is a hallucinogen and users are believed to experience often profound visions. Shamans use it to contact spirits and sometimes those spirits take control of the person who has consumed the ayahuasca. 

Will Paxton and Damian experience visions?

What exactly will they see? And what impact will it have on their lives and behavior?

You will have to read Jonathan Huls’ book AYAHUASCA to find out.


This book is due to be released on September 1st, 2016 and you can pre-order your copy now.


I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I have to say that this is the first book I have read by this author and in my opinion, Jonathan Huls is one twisted guy. Lovers of horror fiction (those who have strong stomachs) will love this book.


* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. *


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JONATHAN HULS has a permanent home in San Diego with his wife, Brigette, but they travel the world extensively at every moment they can. They can be sighted attending the World Cup, relaxing on the beaches of Colombia, eating ceviche in Peru, or climbing the various rock formations throughout the world.

For more information about the author or his works, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

TWITTER    

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM  

ALTERNATE COVER: 

In 10 days THE JOYS OF LIFE by Michelle Hoppe – A hilarious memoir about parenting is being released. Check out my 4 Star Review NOW!!!

Title: THE JOYS OF LIFE 

Series: THIS AUTHOR’S LIFE: BOOK ONE

Author: MICHELLE HOPPE 

Type of Book: EBOOK

Genre: HUMOR, PARENTING

Length: 124 PAGES

Cover Artist: VALERIE TIBBS of TIBBS DESIGN 

Publisher: BOOK BOUTIQUES   

Release Date: AUGUST 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944003-49-4

Price: $ 3.99 USD
Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 


* I received a free Advance Review Copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“In 1995, my husband and I uprooted our three children, much to their disgust, and moved them to the state of Washington. Our oldest daughter, Nicole, age 13, was convinced we’d lost our minds and ruined her life. The middle child, also a daughter Renae, age 11, was at least open to the possibility that things might be okay as long as she got her own room in the new house. The youngest, a son James, age 3, didn’t really express his feelings in full sentences, he just wanted the front seat for the drive to our new home.”

Thus begins THE JOYS OF LIFE. This first paragraph had me smiling and immediately nodding my head. Anyone who has ever had a thirteen year old child knows how dramatic everything seems to them at that age. Author Michelle Hoppe has nailed the reactions of each of the three age groups perfectly. And just like that, I was hooked.

The author states that “It is [her] hope that by sharing these stories, people will see that humor can be found in most of the oy veys life dishes out; and if not, at least you can enjoy [hers]”

The author then goes on to talk about events that have happened in her everyday life. She writes about moments with her husband, son, granddaughter, daughters and even her son-in-law.
Somehow she is able to see the humor in almost every situation, even if it is often in hindsight.

What I loved most about this book is that I can totally relate to many of the scenarios she describes. In fact, if I wasn’t 100% sure that she doesn’t know me or my husband, I would wonder if she has been spying on my life. (Not really, but many moments in her life mirror my own).

For example, while shopping for a new mattress she “… got into a conversation with [her] mother about which of the beds would be best for sex. The color of the salesman’s cheeks set off the blue of his eyes very nicely.” This made me laugh as I could easily envision the shock the salesman felt.

This book is full of more and more humorous moments. It will put a smile on the face of every reader. This is a GOOD THING. This world can definitely do with more laughter because, after all,  as the saying goes, LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE.

It is for this reason that I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars.

I almost forgot to mention how much I like the cover of this book. The Mom juggling a bunch of things at once is both humorous and true-to-life. Every Mom will be able to relate to the illustration by Valerie Tibbs of Tibbs Design. 
 

This book is set to be released on Thursday, August 25th, 2016
which is less than two weeks away. I suggest adding that date to your calendar along with a reminder to be sure to pick-up a copy of this ebook as soon as it is available for sale.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 

Michelle Hoppe first discovered a love of writing in a high school creative writing class and has been putting fingers to keyboard ever since. From romantic comedy and chic lit to paranormal and contemporary, her novels tend to be hot, sexy, erotic romances with a few twists and turns. She also writes poetry as well as this book which is based on her crazy life.

She lives in a quiet little town on the coast of Washington with a beautiful beach close by.

Visit the author online at any of the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

GOODREADS   

TWITTER   

FACEBOOK   

GOOGLE +   

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: 

Valerie Tibbs is a military veteran and aspiring writer who currently works as a network administrator by day and who owns and operates Tibbs Design and Consulting. 

To learn more about Illustrator Valerie Tibbs visit her online at any of the following links: 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

TWITTER 

FACEBOOK 

PINTEREST 

3 Stars for THE BUNNY MAN by Richard Poche – BOOK REVIEW

Title: THE BUNNY MAN 

Author: RICHARD POCHE

Type of Book: EBOOK

Genre: FICTION, HORROR 

Length: 76 PAGES

Publisher: AMAZON DIGITAL SERVICES

Release Date: MARCH 8, 2016

ASIN: B01CQIUGXY  

Price: $3.98 or Free on KindleUnlimited (EBOOK)

Price: $10.46 CDN (PAPERBACK) 

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟


MY REVIEW:

This Ebook is novella length and is only 76 pages long.

A group of five friends have just graduated high school and they know that soon, their clique will be breaking up and they will be heading off to different colleges.

They decide to have one last adventure together before they have to start acting like adults and begin working towards their individual futures.

As Todd, Royce, Sabrina, Lauren and Kevin head into the mountains to begin their camping trip, they run over something on the road. When they get out to look, they realize that they hit a dead deer. But what the heck is a dead deer doing on the road? And, who left it there.

Kevin jokingly suggests that the deer was killed and left there by the “BUNNY MAN.” When the others look at him for an explanation, he tells them that The Bunny Man is an urban legend that refers to a man living “… out here in the woods that wears a bunny costume and chases people down with an axe. Sometimes he gets bored and kills deer.”

Obviously, not a single one of them believes that the Bunny Man exists. And what happens next seems like too much of a coincidence to be real.

A young woman emerges from the trees near where the five friends are discussing the urban legend. She “had a crazed, exhausted look in her eye. Half-naked… she looked caught in a halfway point between drug-induced hysteria and real fear.”

She rambles on about her boyfriend being attacked by a man wearing a bunny mask. Obviously, she is just plain crazy. Her story can’t be true? Or is it?

The storyline reminds me of a 1980s B rated horror film where the actors always run away from safety and end up twisting an ankle in the woods. The story, just kike those movies, is not even remotely believable.

Is it entertaining? Yes! But it definitely wilk not be winning any awards.

The fact that this book is only 76 pages means tl (in my opinion) that it should have been easier to edit and proofread than a full-length book. But, this seems not to be the case. When I started reading I was initially taking notes and writung down each error, however, I quickly realized that if I were to continue that practice, that it  would take many, many hours to get through THE BUNNY MAN. There are multiple editing and/or proofreading errors on EVERY page of this novella. I found it supremely distracting. Just to highlight my point, here is one example:

“The two remained locked in the kiss, pressing themselves against each tight.”
– It is obvious that the author should have used the word “tightly” rather than “tight.”

Because of these errors as well as the lack of both world-building and character development, I rate THE BUNNY MAN as 3 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Richard Poche is a writer, a director and a filmmaker. He has directed numerous horror and sports films including the award winning boxing documentary “The Fight Life.”

He is the author of two novels and numerous novellas including “When Elves Die”, “Carnivores”, and “Howl.”

To learn more about Richard Poche visit him online: 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
TWITTER 

FACEBOOK  

GOODREADS   

LITTLE KILLERS A TO Z by Howard Odentz rates a Creep Factor of 15 out of 10. Love Horror? You HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!!

Title: LITTLE KILLERS A TO Z

Author: HOWARD ODENTZ

Type of Book: EBOOK

Genre: HORROR, SHORT STORIES

Length: 182 PAGES

Publisher: BELL BRIDGE BOOKS  
http://www.BelleBooks.com


http://www.ImaJinnBooks.com

Cover Design: DEBRA DIXON

Release Date: JUNE 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61194-725-0 (EBOOK)
ISBN: 978-1-61194-705-2 (PRINT)

Price: (EBOOK) $4.16 CDN / $3.16 USD

Rating: 6 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 

* I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dark and twisted. These stories will make you look twice at every child you see. Is he/she just a regular kid? Or, is there a monster hidden behind that seemingly innocent face?

Howard Odentz has crafted a book filled with short stories – one for every letter of the alphabet (26 in all), that will stay with you even long after you finish reading this book.

Starting with “A IS FOR ANDY – WHO WATCHES HIS DAD” and ending with ” Z IS FOR ZINA – WHO SUFFERS STARVATION” every single story is truly creepy and extremely disturbing. On a scale of 1 to 10, this book has a creepiness factor of 13.

What I enjoyed the most about this book and the stories it contains is that it reminds me of the writing of Stephen King in his early writing career – when ge wrote such works as Cujo and Carrie.

Haven’t yet heard of Howard Odentz? Neither had I before receiving this book from Netgalley, but I know I will be hearing more and more about him in the near future. He has published two other books prior to LITTLE KILLERS, and I will be adding both of them to my TBR (To Be Read) list immediately.

I believe that with the proper marketing, this book is destined for the Bestseller list. Everything about this book, including the amazingly macabre cover screams “BUY ME” to those who love horror fiction. I know that as soon as I saw the cover of this book I just had to know what it contained and I was not disappointed.

I rate this collection of truly terrifying tales as 6 out of 5 Stars and I recommend it to everyone who likes horror.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  

Howard Odentz is an author and a playwright. He is a lifelong resident of the gray area between Western Massachusetts and North Central Connecticut.

His love of that region is evident in his writing as he often incorporates the foothills of the Berkshires and the small towns of the Bay and Nutmeg states into his stories.

“LITTLE KILLERS A to Z, a full-blown alphabet of murderers, psychopaths, monsters and second graders, is his third work with Bell Bridge Books.”

“Previous novels include the horrifically humorous DEAD (A LOT) and the thriller BLOODY BLOODY APPLE.”

Howard’s fascination with the psychological aspects of those who are thrown into thrilling or mysterious circumstances is reflected in his writing.

“I like writing about my dark little corner of the world,” he says. “After all, this is New England. There’s more than enough creepiness here to keep me inspired for years to come.”

To learn more about Howard Odentz and his other books, visit him online:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

TWITTER     

GOODREADS 

FACEBOOK  

ALSO BY HOWARD ODENTZ: 

THE FACTS OF LIFE by Rehana Shamsi – POETRY BOOK REVIEW – 4 out of 5 Stars

Title: FACTS OF LIFE

Subtitle: REFLECTIONS ON IGNORANCE AND INTELLIGENCE

Author: REHANA SHAMSI

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Genre: NON-FICTION, POETRY

Length: 190 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED BY REHANA SHAMSI

Release Date: JUNE 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9950082-0-5

Price: $22.99 CDN

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I was contacted by the author’s son who asked if I would be willing to read his mother’s book of poetry and post a review of it on my blog.

With his request, he gave me a brief description of the book and the poems as well as a bit of his mother’s history.

Rehana Shamsi was born in India, but her family moved to Pakistan in 1947. The society she was born into is one where male dominance and male supremacy are a fact of life. Women have no rights. They start out life as a possession of their fathers and this “ownership” only ends when the woman is married.

However, even though their fathers no longer own them, this does not mean that they achieve freedom. No, the only difference is in who owns them – they become property of their new husband.

For those of us who grew up in Canada, this is difficult to fathom. I grew up with a family who prized education for all children – not just males.

In Rehana’s society, girls were not sent to school. “Gender disparity was the rule of society. Before marriage women were under the strict control of their fathers or elder brothers and after an arranged marriage, husbands were their absolute masters. Women were not allowed to make any decisions or leave home without their husbands’ permission.”

Luckily for her, Rehana’s family did not believe in gender inequality and Rehana was the first girl in her family to attend school. She was even afforded the same freedoms as her brothers. However, all around her she saw gender discrimination and was powerless to do anything about it. She saw young women forced into unwelcome and unwanted marriages with men often double or triple the bride’s age.

In her introduction, Rehana states “These poems focus on my relationship with my former society. I voice the nearly ineffable emotional trauma that South Asian women suffer under male sovereignty – the ignominy of extreme oppression.”

So, why did Rehana write and publish this book of poetry? She answers that question in her introduction.

“I have tried to bring these issues to the forefront and have juxtaposed some poems to make it clear that to unshackle ourselves from unfair restraints, women have to try audaciously to achieve their rightful place in society. In my writing, I want women to realize that suppression is not our destiny if we learn to stand up for ourselves.”

I sincerely hope that Rehana’s poetry reaches far and wide and that upon reading it, women (especially those currently living under the thumb of a man) recognize that they are NOT powerless and that they are not alone.

I may be a white Canadian woman of Irish descent who grew up in a middle-class household, but I care. I care about women’s rights in India, in Pakistan and elsewhere in the middle-east.

I say to those women – Look at Rehana. Read her poems. See that she understands your despair. Now, take courage from her words and do whatever you can to escape your current situation. You are not cattle. You are not a possession. You are a person worthy of happiness. You just need to reach out and grab it.

The poetry in this book is thought-provoking and full of emotion. Through her words you can feel Rehana’s passion for justice.

I rate FACTS OF LIFE: REFLECTIONS ON IGNORANCE AND INTELLIGENCE as 4 out of 5 Stars.


* Even though I already stated this fact above, by law I must mention that I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. The fact that I received this book for free has no influence on the rating I chose to give it. My rating is 100% my honest opinion.

Buy this book online at:

LULU  
AMAZON.CA (CANADA)  
 AMAZON.COM (UNITED STATES)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


Rehana Shamsi was born in India and grew up in Pakistan. She graduated from University of Karachi, majoring in Political Science, and Urdu Literature. She immigrated to the United States in 1995 and after studying nursing in New York, worked at Staten Island University Hospital as a clinical associate. While in New York, she studied English Literature at College of Staten Island, The City University of New York. She currently lives in Toronto, Canada.
To learn more about the author visit her on FACEBOOK 

FIFTEEN LANES by S.J. Laidlaw will capture and hold your attention from the first page to the last. 5 Stars!

Title: FIFTEEN LANES 

Author: S.J. LAIDLAW

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Length: 304 pages

Type of Book: HARDCOVER

Price: $21.99 CDN / $17.99 USD

Publisher: TUNDRA BOOKS

ISBN: 978-1101917800

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


* I received a free hardcover copy of this book through the 
Goodreads Giveaway program. 

Heart-wrenching, illuminating, beautiful and horrific in equal measure. This book is simply brilliant.

Set in the city of Mumbai, this is the story of two young women who live within a few miles of each other, but whose lives are worlds apart.

Noor has spent the entirety of her young life living with her mother in a brothel in the heart of the FIFTEEN LANES that comprise Mumbai’s red light district. She is fated to soon follow her mother into the business of prostitution. If she is to have any hope of escaping that fate, she will need to act soon. But, she is devadasi which means that, as the eldest daughter, she is fated to follow in her mother’s footsteps. As far as Indian culture is concerned, she has no say and absolutely no choice in the matter.

Photo obtained from tr4f.wordpress.com

Meanwhile, on the other side of the same city lives fifteen year old Grace. As the daughter of the CEO of one of India’s largest banks, Grace has been brought up with every privilege money can buy. She has never visited the slums that are located so close to her luxury apartment complex. In fact, in her blissful teenage ignorance, she is not even aware that places such as Noor’s home exist.
Author S.J. Laidlaw has crafted an engrossing tale in which a series of events occur that lead Noor and Grace to cross paths and in doing so their lives become inextricably entwined.

I am loathe to give away too much of the plot while writing this review, so I will refrain from writing any more details. However, this is a book that lends itself to discussion. In fact, I would highly recommend this to any and all book clubs.

Some people might wonder if an Canadian-American author could possibly write authentically about life in the red light district of Mumbai and I admit that I wondered the same thing myself. However, upon reading the Author’s Note at the end of the book as well as reading S.J. Laidlaw’s biography, I no longer doubt her credentials. She is, in fact, uniquely qualified to author a book on this subject.

S.J. Laidlaw is not your typical author. She does not sit at home in her comfortable North American home and imagine what life in foreign locales might be like. She is as far from that typical stereotype as it is possible to be.

In fact, she “… first started volunteering with sex workers’ daughters in Kamathipura, the largest red-light district in Asia, in March of 2013.” In the “Author’s Note” at the end of the book, she says that even though she had previously received training in working with sexual violence victims, she “… wasn’t entirely prepared for the level of violence and degradation [that the girls were] routinely exposed to.”

The quote that I agreed with and that affected me the most was when the author stated: “More disheartening still is the extent to which a large portion of society has turned its back on them. Time and again [the author has] heard stories of girls being shunned, even asked to leave school, when it was found out their mothers were sex workers – no matter that the vast majority of their mothers had been trafficked into the life and were victims themselves.”

To me (and to most North Americans) this kind of apathy and acceptance of horrific acts is almost inconceivable. This book, although fiction, opened my eyes. I hope that it does the same for everyone who reads it.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. Once you start reading, you will be unable to put it down. Even though the subject matter is bleak at times, it is ultimately a story of strength and hope and it deserves to be read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in Philadelphia, S.J. Laidlaw spent most of her childhood in Toronto. After completing an undergraduate degree in English, she ventured to Africa as a volunteer teacher. There she discovered that her students needed as much guidance and support outside the classroom as in it, so after three years, she returned to Canada to complete a graduate degree in clinical social work. 

Since then, she has worked as a counselor in many countries and led workshops for parents and educators on raising and working with third-culture children. Her first book, An Infidel in Paradise, won the IODE Violet Downey Book Award, and her second book, The Voice inside My Head, was chosen as a 2015 CLA Young Adult Book Honour Book and has been shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award (winner to be announced). When she is not writing, S.J. Laidlaw currently volunteers at a night shelter for the children of sex workers in Mumbai. Visit her website at www.sjlaidlaw.com 

The author currently lives in Mumbai, India. 

TOP 150 UNUSUAL THINGS TO SEE IN ONTARIO by Ron Brown earns 4.5 out of 5 Stars and I Can’t Wait to Start Visiting These Places.

Title: TOP 150 UNUSUAL THINGS TO SEE IN ONTARIO

Edition: 5th Edition – Revised & Expanded

Author: RON BROWN

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRAVEL

Publisher: THE BOSTON MILLS PRESS 

Length: 320 pages 

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Price: $26.61 CDN Online at Chapters 

Price: $26.64 CDN at AMAZON  

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

This is a fascinating coffee-table sized book (8.5 x 11 inches).

Whether you currently live in Ontario, Canada or are just visiting our beautiful and “unusual” province, this book is a must have.

I have lived in Ontario for most of my life (all of it except for a few young adult years when I lived in British Columbia) and yet most of the “Top 150 Unusual Things To See In Ontario” are new to me.

This book is divided into four geographic sections. Each section begins with a map of that area and on the map are numbered locations that correspond to each individual “Unusual Thing To See.”

For each item there is a photograph and a description that gives a brief history and synopsis of what you can see at that specific location. It also includes a written description of where the site is located.

I enjoyed reading the historical tidbits about each site and I love that I now have many new places to explore and discover – some of which are within an hour’s drive of my home.

The one thing that I would like to see added to the next edition of this book is a more detailed and close-up map to the location of each site. It is the fact that these close-up maps are not included that prompted me to give this book a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars rather than a perfect 5 out of 5. 

I recommend this book to every Ontarian and would love to hear back from people as they visit each site. Personally, I plan to attempt to visit all 150 UNUSUAL THINGS.

A few of the items in this book are so amazing that I have added seeing them to my bucket list.

Where else but Ontario would you find a two-storey outhouse? Too funny. That I just have to see.

Here are some additional pictures I found online of a few of the sites that are listed in the book.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
:

Photo obtained from the author’s Goodreads profile

Ron Brown is a geographer and travel author of more than twenty books, including Rails to the Atlantic, The Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, and Back Roads of Ontario. He is past chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada and leads tours of Ontario’s unusual sights. He lives in Toronto.“Nobody knows Ontario like Ron Brown” is how the CBC once described this author, geographer, and travel writer. Ron Brown has long had a love affair with the landscapes of Canada. This love affair shines through on every page of this book.


For more information, visit Ron Brown’s Official Website.

my foggy brain

invisible illness... visible me. living with fibromyalgia, depression and ADD.

Laird Barron

Official Author Site

tripping the page fantastic

book reviews as a writing exercise

Christina L. Rozelle

Young Adult Fiction Author

Shana Vanterpool

Romance Author

Auntiemwrites-Mystery Author M K Graff

Award-winning Mystery Author on books, reading and life: If proofreading is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

L. Davis Munro

Website of indie author Lia Davis Munro.

Ask a Coroner

Death Happens. Let's talk about it.

aftershockzombieseries

For the herd. The goal is not to just survive, but to thrive.

Eric Dallaire

The official site for the author of the thrilling new novel Shades: The Gehenna Dilemma.

Liz Meldon

Romance Author & Ghostwriter

JD Lovil Author and Publisher

Just a few friends and I Writing and Publishing.

Jamie Thornton

Science fiction, fantasy, Young Adult. Dark Adventures.

One Lazy Robot

Anthony Vicino

The Dystopian Nation of City-State

A cruel, futuristic vision created by science fiction authors James Courtney and Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills. ©2013-2016. All Rights Reserved. All writings available through Amazon.

Paula Cappa

Reading Fiction WordPress.com site

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,054 other followers

%d bloggers like this: