DUMPLING CATS by Sarah Sloyer – An Adorable & Unique Crochet Pattern Book – 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ ย ย 

Title: DUMPLING CATS      

Series: CROCHET & COLLECT THEM ALL

Author: SARAH SLOYER    

Genre: CRAFTS & HOBBIES

Length: 96 PAGES

Publisher: DOVER PUBLICATIONS 

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY  

Release Date: JUNE 14, 2017  

ISBN: 9780486813431 (PAPERBACK)

Price: $19.95 USD (PAPERBACK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ     


DESCRIPTION

“Waffles is a relaxed feline who loves to read, and Cheeks just can’t get enough to eat.”

“These fun-loving characters are just two of the 25 dumpling-shaped crochet cats in this whimsical collection.”

“The cuddly crochet critters were inspired by the Pokรฉmonโ„ข-like craze Neko Atsume, a game that enables you to attract cats to your backyard and “collect” them.”

“Each little dumpling has a name and personality points that add up to big fun!”


MY REVIEW:

What a visually stunning crochet pattern book!

There are 96 pages to this book. Yes! 96! That is absolutely amazing. Kudos to author Sarah Sloyer and to Dover Publications for not cutting corners. I have to admit that I am extremely impressed at the gorgeous and very detailed photographs for each of the 25 patterns.

Including the extra touches such as a pet bed, food bowls and even a box since everyone knows cats love boxes. These extra patterns are the icing on top of an already decadent and delicious cake.

I was thrilled to realize that due to the step-by-step detailed instructions and photographs, these crochet patterns can be created by crocheters of any ability; from beginner to expert.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ
and I will be recommending it to all my crafty friends and family.

* Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:   

                     SARAH SLOYER studied animation at the School of Visual Arts. She is a former designer at Animation Domination High-Def.

She lives in Pennsylvania. 


To find out more about SARAH SLOYER visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE        

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TARGET            

NETGALLEY      

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Get free patterns by Sarah or buy additional patterns in her RAVELRY STORE   

Do you read Apocalyptic Fiction? Enjoy Dark Humor? THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU! ย  A is for Asteroids … Z is for Zombies – A Bedtime Book for the Coming Apocalypse – Written by Paul Lewis – Illustrated by the talented Kenneth Lamug. 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Title: A IS FOR ASTEROIDS … Z IS FOR ZOMBIES   

Subtitle: A BEDTIME BOOK FOR THE COMING APOCALYPSE

Author: PAUL LEWIS    

Illustrator: KENNETH KIT LAMUG      

Genre: FICTION, APOCALYPTIC FICTION, HUMOR

Length: 40 PAGES

Publisher: ANDREWS McMEEL PUBLISHING    

Type of Book: EBOOK    

Received From: NETGALLEY    

Release Date: OCTOBER 10, 2017   

ISBN: 9781449486884

Price: $14.99 USD (Hardcover)   

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ  

DESCRIPTION:  

Are you a fan of dark humor? What about zombies? Are you the type of person who reads everything you can about the Apocalypse?

What about your kids? What do you tell them when they come home from school with questions about the future of our world? 

Well, if you are anything like  author Paul Lewis, you create a faux-children’s book of ABC’s that allows you to list all the ways our civilization might end.

The next step is to find an illustrator that can bring your vision to life. That is where KENNETH KIT LAMUG comes in.

Between the twisted imaginings of Paul Lewis and the equally, if not more twisted illustrations of Kenneth Kit Lamug, what you end up with is an uproariously funny book that is sure to become an instant Bestseller. I for one will be purchasing several hardcover copies for myself and my friends.

The fact that each page of the book is told in sing-song rhyming prose adds to the overall unreal quality of this hilarious book.  

If I had the skills to write a book of this kind, this would be exactly how I would want it to turn out.

What I want to say most, is that I recommend this book as highly as possible. If you do not add it to your must-buy list, then you will be missing out. In fact, I forsee many awards and accolades in this book’s future. Let’s just hope that Paul Lewis receives his rewards before one of his potential apocalyptic scenarios comes to pass.

I give 5 out of 5 Stars for this highly imaginative, highly entertaining, and uproariously funny book. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ   

*I would like to say a special Thank You to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

PAUL LEWIS is an English professor at Boston College, the president of the Poe Studies Association, and the author of Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict (U Chicago Press).

A fascination with gothic fiction and horror films prepared him to publish โ€œThe Funeral Gameโ€ in Crazy Magazine while he was in graduate school, coin the word โ€œFrankenfoodโ€ at the dawn of the GMO era, and write A Is for Asteroids, Z Is for Zombies.

As a freelance writer, Lewis has published op-ed and humor pieces in leading newspapers.

To learn more visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

AMAZON    

CHAPTERS    

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE   


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: 

Kenneth Lamug is an author/illustrator based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As a child, he made comics and books from scraps of used copy paper. Then, stopped drawing for the longest time when his entire family moved to the US from the Philippines.

He finally got back to his creative roots and has been having loads of fun making books and comics for all-ages.

Kenneth’s debut picture book โ€œA Box Storyโ€ won the Moonbeam Childrenโ€™s Book Awards, Literary Classics, Pinnacle Awards and the National Indie Excellence Book Awards.

 In 2014, he launched a Kickstarter campaign which funded the all-ages graphic adventure book, โ€œThe Tall Tales of Talbot Toluca.โ€ 

His most recent books include the macabre childrenโ€™s fairytale, โ€œThe Stumps of Flattop Hillโ€ (One Peace Books) and the parenting parody book, โ€œHURTS LIKE A MOTHERโ€ (Doubleday).

Kenneth is a husband, and father of three rabble rousing boys.


AWARDS KENNETH LAMUG HAS WON: 

2016 SCBWI National Postcard Contest Winner   

* 2016 Childrenโ€™s Book Academy Golden Ticket Winner

* 2016 Literary Classics (The Stumps of Flattop Hill)  

2014 Moonbeam Childrenโ€™s Awards Graphic Novel (Talbot Toluca Quest For The Ore Crystals)

* 2014 National Indie Excellence Awards (Talbot Toluca Quest For The Ore Crystals)

* 2012 Moonbeam Childrenโ€™s Book Awards (A Box Story)  

* 2012 Literary Classics Seal of Approval (A Box Story)  

* 2012 Nation Indie Excellence Awards Finalist (A Box Story)

* 2012 Pinnacle Awards (A Box Story)

To learn more about this amazing illustrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS 

TWITTER     

FACEBOOK   

INSTAGRAM    

CHAPTERS        
PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE   

   

STARBORN by Lucy Hounsom may just be one of the best YA Fantasy books to be published in the past few years. A 5 Star Read that will appeal to everyone 16 and up.

Title: STARBORN     

Series: THE WORLDMAKER TRILOGY: BOOK ONE    

Author: LUCY HOUNSOM 

Genre: FANTASY FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, NEW RELEASE /COMING SOON 

Length: 544 PAGES

Publisher: TOR – An Imprint of MACMILLAN PUBLISHERS LTD    
Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY   

Release Date: AUGUST 24TH, 2019 

ISBN: 978-1-4472-6845-1 (Hardcover)   

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ    

MY REVIEW:     

Firstly, I need to address the title of this book. If you are the type of person to judge a book by its cover, (everyone does this at least to some degree) you will miss out on a phenomenal book. The cover and title tend to make potential readers think this book will be about outer space and will be a sci-fi novel, however, this is not the case. Starborn is a perfect example of fantasy fiction at its finest.

I literally devoured this book. The characters are so vividly described that a picture of each of them immediately formed in my mind. Not only that, but each character has a fully imagined history that further fleshes out their believability.

This is the first book in the WorldMaker trilogy and even though this book hasn’t been released in North America yet, I am already wishing that I could get my hands on the next book in the series. I believe not only that this book is destined to become a Bestseller, but that it will also be optioned for it’s film rights.

This story has just the right amount of betrayal and dedication, fantasy, magic, history, romance, frustration,  ingenuity and truly astounding world-building which all combine to create a surefire winning combination.

Not since the Harry Potter series, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hunger Games trilogy have I encountered an author with the ability to so seamlessly craft a complex epic tale of right and wrong, of good and evil and with the ability to build an entire world from nothing but their own imagination. The name of Lucy Hounsom will soon be on the lips of North American readers and publishers all over the continent, and rightly so. 

I highly recommend this book to both youth and to adults who love epic adventure stories.

This book will grab your attention from the first page and it will not let go. It is because of its ability to entrance the reader and because of the author’s incredible world-building, that I have no choice but to rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ  

My recommendation is to mark your calendars for August 24th and grab your copy right away since this amazing book is bound to sell out quickly.

* A special Thank You to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.   

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (In Her Own Words):   

* obtained from her website
* Author Photos by LOU ABERCROMBIE

I live in the hilly, red shores of the Jurassic Coast. Itโ€™s a beautiful, mysterious part of the country (U.K.), steeped in myth and folklore. And so unsurprisingly, itโ€™s a perfect place in which to make up stories.

In the vein of most writers, Iโ€™ve been making up stories for a long time. I grew up in the tamer neighbourhood of the Thames Valley, where I used to think Iโ€™d be an actor. I attended theatre school for six years, worked professionally on stage and screen and took an awful lot of dancing exams. That changed when I hit 15. I was writing a novel (like most normal teenagers), and quite randomly thought: wouldnโ€™t it be cool to do this all the time?  

Iโ€™ve always loved books, perhaps because my parents read so much to us as children. Dad favoured classics like The Day of the Triffids andHothouse, which โ€“ though possibly a bit advanced for under 10s โ€“ exposed us both to a multitude of words. (Yes, my sisterโ€™s a writer too). But the books that really stayed with me were J. R. R. Tolkienโ€™s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

I am irrevocably drawn to fantasy. As an unsociable teenage misfit, I read mountains of it. Growing up, some of my favourite writers were Robin Hobb, the three Terrys (Brooks, Goodkind and Pratchett), Robert Jordan, Patricia A. McKillip, Ursula Le Guin, David Eddings and Alan Garner. J. K. Rowling holds a special place in my heart for all those summer evenings I spent re-reading Harry Potter, wishing for adventures at Hogwarts.

That first novel still exists on my hard drive, quietly embarrassing me, but despite its flaws, Iโ€™m glad I wrote it. Working on the principle that if youโ€™ve done something once, you can do it again, I studied creative writing at university for four years in the hope that Iโ€™d be better prepared the second time around. Creating something as vast and complex as a novel is fun, terrifying, exciting, torturous and pretty much every emotion in between. 

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

GOODREADS     

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CHAPTERS     

 

THE LAST NEANDERTHAL by Claire Cameron – The best prehistoric fiction book since “Clan of the Cave Bear”

Title: THE LAST NEANDERTHAL

Author: CLAIRE CAMERON    

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 272 PAGES     

Publisher: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE 

Type of Book: AUTOGRAPHED HARDCOVER

Book Jacket Designer: GREGG KULICK

Purchased From: BOOK LORE – An Independent Book Store located in Orangeville, Ontario
Release Date: APRIL 2017   

ISBN: 978-0-385-68678-5    

Price: $29.95 CDN (HARDCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

MY REVIEW:

When was the last time you pondered the similarities between Neanderthals and modern man? If you’re scratching your head because you can’t remember, you are not alone. Before reading THE LAST NEANDERTHAL by CLAIRE CAMERON, I hadn’t thought about Neanderthals since reading CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean M. Auel many, many years ago.

In this book, Archaeologist Rosamund (Rosa) Gale makes an astounding discovery that just might change everything we thought we knew about Neanderthals.

The book flips back and forth between Rosa’s story and that of a Neanderthal simply called, “Girl.”

Most people view Neanderthals as little more than savage beasts who just happen to look like us. However, if that were true, why do so many people contain traces of Neanderthal DNA.

I enjoyed reading Girl’s story and there are many parallels between her story and that of Rosa Gale.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ I believe this book will get people talking and that is always a good thing.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“Their lives together had slipped away as the ice breaks from the river in the Spring. It does not melt off in a slow thaw. Instead, a series of deep cracks destabilizes the structure. When it goes, large chunks get pulled away all at once. And in the span of a day, before disbelieving eyes, the ice is gone. But underneath the river is the same…”

ABOUT THE BOOK JACKET DESIGNER:

GREGG KULICK is a graphic designer and art director at HarperCollins in New York City. He lives in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn.  

To see more book covers designed by him visit his official website HERE.
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo by David Kerr

(COPIED FROM THE AUTHOR’S WEBSITE)

When I was young I read The Clan of the Cave Bear and watched โ€œQuest for Fire,โ€ but Neanderthals felt as distant as dinosaurs. In school I was taught Neanderthals were an evolutionary step between the apes and usโ€”hairy, primitive knuckle-draggers.

In 2010, a team sequenced a first draft of the Neanderthal genome and made an extraordinary discovery. Modern humans of European and Asian descent have inherited between 1-4% of their DNA from Neanderthals. Most scientists agree this is evidence of interbreeding between the two groups. Rather than a more evolved version of Neanderthals, we are close cousins.

But we think of ourselves as the ones who drove the Neanderthals to extinction, rather than having sex with them. So how did modern humans and Neanderthals make contact? We canโ€™t know the answer, but a novelist should take on the risk involved in imagining one.

I worked with experts and used the new science of Neanderthals like a set of rules, or creative constraints, to build the story. My experience living and working in the outdoors gave me some insight into how surviving in the wild might have felt more than 40,000 years ago.

My novel is about Neanderthals, but itโ€™s also a story that questions what it means to be human.

To learn more about this talented Canadian author who currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

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TWITTER     

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Read The New York Times Book Review HERE.

HASHTAGS:

@penguinrandom @PenguinBooks @PenguinCanada @randomhouse @RandomHouseCA โ €
@doubledaybooks @littlebrown

 #clairecameron #bookface #instabook #bookstagram #indiebookstore #readlocal #toronto #torontoauthors #canlit #thelastneanderthal #canadianauthor #readandreview #newbook #newrelease #mustread #book #bookblogger #tbr #tbrlist #bookstagrammer #fiction #bookreview #bookreviewer #booklorebookstore #CanadianPride #Canadian #instagramhub #instalike #thefinchbook #neanderthal #historicalfiction #Amiesbookreviews #Amiesbookreview #history
#archaeology #canadianauthors #randomhouse #readandreview #newbook #newrelease #mustread #bookblogger #bookreviewer #bookblog 

THE MASK OF SANITY by Indie Author JACOB APPEL will have readers on the edge of their seats. A 5 Star Must Read Psychological Thriller!!!

Title: THE MASK OF SANITY        

Author: JACOB APPEL    
Genre: FICTION, THRILLER, PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

Length: 256 PAGES

Publisher: THE PERMANENT PRESS  
Type of Book: HARDCOVER   

Received From: FREE FROM THE AUTHOR    

Release Date: MARCH 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-57962-495-8 

Price: $28 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 

OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION:

On the outside, Dr. Jeremy Balint is a pillar of the community: the youngest division chief poorly, he reveals the depths of his cold-blooded depravity.

At a cultural moment when the media bombards us with images of so-called sociopaths who strive for good and criminals redeemed by repentance,The Mask of Sanityoffers an antidote to implausible tales of evil gone right. In contrast to fictional predecessors like Dostoyevesky’s Raskolnikov and Camus’ Mersault, Dr. Balint is a man who already has it all –and will do everything in his power, no matter how immoral, to keep what he has.

MY REVIEW: 

Jacob Appel has a true gift. His vivid descriptions of place are minimal in length but are still somehow able to paint an exact picture in the readerโ€™s mind. His genius shines through mostly with his uncanny ability to get inside the heads of his characters and to take his readers with him. His writing makes each character seem less fictional and more real.

Jacob’s vast educational and life experience and his background in the medical field make this book even nore scary. I can’t help but wonder if this book is based on a past patient or maybe even one of Jacob Appel’s  colleagues. I really hope not.

In this book the protagonist is a respected physician. A married father of two adorable girls, Jeremy Balint seems to lead the perfect life.

However, when he discovers that his wife is cheating on him with a colleague, one he had considered to be a friend, Jeremy does not react out of anger. Instead, he calmly decides that his marriage must be saved at all costs. Instead of confronting his wife, he hatches a diabolical plan. That plan, and his execution of it will both shock readers and have them glued to the book’s pages.

Psychopaths and sociopaths have historically been portrayed as loners. They seemed easy to identify since they were seen to be “creepy” and no one was all that surprised when they found out that he (and it was ALWAYS a he) murdered someone. This gave people a sense of relief. If they stayed away from creepy men, they were safe. The reality is much more terrifying. As author Jacob Appel is aware, true sociopaths do not fit that description at all.

In fact, since sociopaths are masters of both manipulation and of adaptation, it is quite likely that all of us know or live close to at least one of them. This book brings that fact home unlike any other.

If you are a fan of psychological fiction you will LOVE this book. It is a MUST READ and I rate it enthusiastically as 5 out of 5 Stars. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jacob M. Appel is the author of the following novels:

Wedding Wipeout (Cozy Cat Press)

The Biology of Luck (Elephant Rock Books)

The Man Who Wouldn’t Stand Up  (Cargo Publishing)

And

The short-story collections:

The Topless Widow of Herkimer Street (Howling Bird Press)

Coulrophobia & Fatana Morgana

Scouting For The Reaper (both Black Lawrence Press)  

and

The essay collection Phoning Home (University of South Carolina Press)

His short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including:

– Literal Latte

 The Colorado Review       

– The Nebraska Review

– The Boston Review     

– The Greensboro Review

Jacob has taught at Brown University, Columbia University, and the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

He holds a BA and MA from Brown University, an MA and an MPhil from Columbia University, a JD from Harvard, and an MFA in Creative Writing from NYU.

(In other words, this is one incredibly  intelligent and extremely well-educated individual.)    

Jacob Appel teaches writing classes at Gotham Writerโ€™s Workshop which hosts classes both in New York City and online.

All these “jobs” as an author and a teacher would be more than enough to keep a regular person extremely busy, but these are all second (and third, and fourth, etc.) jobs for Jacob.

In a way he is like Superman.

Jacob Appel is a mild-mannered, well-respected Lawyer, Doctor and Bio-Ethicist by Day and he turns into SuperWriterMan whenever and wherever he is needed. (As far as I know, he doesnโ€™t own a cape or do quick-changes in phone booths which is probably a good thing since I am not sure if there are any phone booths left. 

Jacob holds Graduate Degrees from Brown University, Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Harvard Law School, New York University’s MFA program in Fiction and Albany Medical College’s Alden March Institute of Bioethics.

He taught for many years at Brown University and currently teaches at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE   

GOODREADS      

AMAZON    

CHAPTERS          

To read my review of Jacob Appel’s fantastic short story collection “MIRACLES AND CONUNDRUMS OF THE SECONDARY PLANETS” Click on the cover below:

To read another of my reviews for Jacob Appel’s Literary Masterpiece and short story collection EINSTEIN’S BEACH HOUSE,” Click on the book cover below:   

This is one of the best short story collections I have ever had the privilege of reading. 

I am a fan of Jacob Appel’s and after reading this book I guarantee you will be too.    


* I received a free copy of this book from the author, however,  this did not effect my review or my rating in any way. 

A DIFFERENT POND by Phi Bao is one of the most meaningful children’s books I have ever read. 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸย 

Title: A DIFFERENT POND     

Author: BAO PHI  

Illustrator: THI BUI     

Genre: FICTION, CHILDREN’S FICTION, IMMIGRANT FICTION, MULTICULTURAL FICTION    

Length: 32 PAGES

Publisher: CAPSTONE   

Type of Book: JACKETED PAPER-OVER-BOARD   

Ages: 4 TO 8

Received From: NETGALLEY     

Release Date: AUGUST 2017 

ISBN: 978-1-62370-803-0  

Price: $15.95 U.S. / $19.95 CAN 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ    

FROM THE BACK COVER:

An unforgettable story about a simple event – a long-ago fishing trip. A young boy wakes early, hours before his fatherโ€™s long workday begins, to fish on the shores of a small pond in Minneapolis.

Unlike many anglers, the boy and his father fish for food, not recreation. A successful catch means a fed family. Between hope-filled casts, the boy’s father tells him about a different pond in their homeland of Vietnam. On these early mornings, the young boy begins the hard work of self discovery. 

MY REVIEW: 

Not only is this book beautifully written and illustrated, but the story within will enchant children while simultaneously evoking a sense of nostalgia in the child’s parents.

Despite the fact that the characters in this gorgeous children’s book are Vietnamese, every child will be able to relate to the main character’s delight in spending time with his father and in the disappointment when he is left behind while his parents go off to work. 

Readers will notice that the father and son are fishing for food, rather than fishing for fun. When they have caught enough fish: 

Dad smiles, his teeth broken and white in the dark, because we have a few fish and he knows we will eat tonight.” 

This line is an opportunity for parents to talk to their children about the immigrant experience and through this discussion, they can help to foster equality and to help eliminate racism in our society. 

Image obtained from http://weneeddiversebooks.org/


It seems trite to say that “Children are our future,” but as clichรฉ as it sounds, it is true.

Books such as this one are important for many reasons. It is important for children of visible minorities to be able to find and read books that show people who look just like them, and that they can relate to. It is equally important that all children are exposed to multicultural books since we live in a multicultural society. 

The illustrations in this book are a cross between a graphic novel and a typical childrenโ€™s book. This unique illustrative style is the PERFECT accompaniment to the story.  

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ and suggest that all parents, teachers and librarians put this book on their “To Be Purchased list” or that they go ahead and pre-order a copy today. I predict this book will win many awards upon its release. 

*I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

BAO PHI was born in Vietnam and raised in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis.

He is an author, a poet, a community organizer, and a father.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

GOODREADS      

FACEBOOK        

AMAZON    

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:  

THI BUI was born in Vietnam and grew up in California and New York. Now all these places are a part of her.

She draws, writes, and teaches. She recently completed her first graphic novel, THE BEST WE COULD DO (Abrams, 2017), which is about her mother and father.

To learn more about this author/illustrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

TUMBLR      

GOODREADS     

INSTAGRAM     

TWITTER    

THE NIB   

GOOGLE BOOKS   

IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss is a beautifully written novel set in the Appalachian Mountains – A MUST READ – PRE-ORDER NOW!!!


Title: IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE
Author: LEAH WEISS

Genre: FICTION

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK

Release Date: AUGUST 8, 2017

ISBN: 9781492647454

Price: $15.99 USD

Type of Book: ARC from Netgalley 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

This is the debut novel written by LEAH WEISS.

Set in the 1970s high in the Appalachian Mountain range sits a small, secluded community struggling to survive and to live their lives as they see fit.

The inhabitant’s lives are not very different from the lives of their ancestors. Down the mountain, people are embracing new technologies and just about everyone has a car, indoor plumbing and telephones are installed in every home. Not so on the mountain. Outhouses are still in use and the mountain folk have no desire for the intrusion that improvements might bring.

In fact, outsiders are treated with scorn and suspicion. Children are taught in a one-room schoolhouse that in theory sounds quaint and idyllic, but in reality is anything but.

Teachers arrive with the best of intentions, but soon run away with their tails tucked between their legs  when they discover the harsh reality of mountain life. Their leaving could also have something to do with the fact that the last teacher’s home mysteriously caught fire in the middle of the night and burned to the ground.

With character names such as Marris, Gladys, Sadie and Otis Blue, the author creates a sense of living in the past. There are too many characters and too many intertwined storylines to mention them here, but Leah Weiss has crafted a complex but believable and haunting tale that will tug at your heartstrings and make you shake your head in both exasperation and disbelief.

IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is as harsh and unapologetic as the immovable mountains. Leah Weiss has a gift for character building and the people who live on the mountain come alive on every page. Even the way the characters talk comes through as raw and authentic. For example, Sadie’s grandmother Gladys says, “From the start there’s been a film of dingy on my days. I’ve always done woman’s work; man’s work, too. Woke up with work to do, went to bed before it got done … I been chained to an iron life.”

My favourite line in the book was when Gladys says that her friend is as annoying and clingy as chickenshit on shoes.

I rate IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE as 5 out of 5 stars and predict that we will see this book at the top of the Bestseller lists as soon as it is released.  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ


Thank you to 
Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.


MY FAVOURITE QUOTES:


“Only got the clothes on her back and a backbone that won’t bend.”


“Ugly talk follows Roy like fleas on a mangy dog. He’s a spiteful, small-minded man who drinks hard and plays for keeps.”   


“Truth always hurts and it’s extra hard to look at late in life.”


“She’s got lessons to learn, and life’s one bugger of a teacher.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
(In her own words – copied from her website)

Leah Weiss’s roots are deep, simple and southern. 

They started where my mama Lucy was born on a tobacco farm in the flatlands of eastern North Carolina. She was one of fifteen siblings raised without electricity or indoor plumbing. My daddy, a Marine from Cherry Point, saw my mama a handful of times. Then he married her on her eighteenth birthday in 1944. They settled near her family where my sister and I were born in a farming town, where neighborhoods were divided by train tracks and held together by church and traditions.Just about everybody we knew was kin.

When I was ten, we left Carolina and moved to Virginia when my grandpop died. We moved in with Nana, and on the empty lot next door my parents built us a four-room home, sawing, hammering and painting. They were self-sufficient and hardworking people with humble dreams.

In my childhood days, I fell in love with Nancy Drew mystery books. Every spare moment was spent between the covers of those blue books solving crimes and thinking that could be me. If my name was Nancy. If I had a roadster. If I was five years older. I have nineteen of those early Nancy Drew books on my bookshelf. They hooked me on the pull of imagination.

But my world wasnโ€™t Nancy Drewโ€™s world. I took piano lessons that led to a scholarship that took me to Dunbarton College in Washington DC in the second half of the turbulent sixties. Our Nationโ€™s Capital was in chaos over Vietnam, racial strife and womenโ€™s equality. Marches and sit-ins were the norm in that time of unrest. A year after college, I married, had a son, taught music, and wrote articles for a magazine. Two decades later, I divorced then took the job of executive assistant to the Headmaster at Virginia Episcopal School that lasted my next twenty-four years.

In those years, I wrote memoirs and fiction whose rules werenโ€™t always clear. I attended writing conferences and workshops, haunted bookstores and studied my favorite authors. I cut my writing teeth on a novel that didnโ€™t sell and a string of short stories that did. Eventually, I found.my writing voice. No surprise, itโ€™s southern and musical and best when read aloud. It is always about people who are self-sufficient and hard working with humble dreams.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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ZENN DIAGRAM by Wendy Brant will pull you in and won’t let you go. A 5 Star Must Read Book!

Title: ZENN DIAGRAM

Author: WENDY BRANT       

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Length: 328 PAGES

Publisher: KIDS CAN PRESS 

Release Date: APRIL 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-792-7 Hardcover

List Price: USD $17.95, CAD $18.95

Grades: 9 To 12 / Ages: 14 to 18  

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ   

Unique. Utterly readable, with awesome characters and a guy that teen girls will have crushes on. Zenn is the latest book-boyfriend of choice.

Eva Walker’s life is unlike anyone elses. She is a loner, a math nerd, an orphan and she feels like a freak. Out of all these labels, the most significant one is Eva’s loner status.

You would think the math nerd status would be the reason she was a loner – not so. Eva is a loner by choice. Why? Well, she has a gift (curse?) Anytime Eva touches someone, or even touches someone’s property, such as a cell phone, she immediately knows all about them – including their secrets and their fears.

Now, some may think that this would be an amazing gift to have, but it never turns off. Imagine going on a date and having to listen to the guy’s dirty thoughts about you the entire time you’re with him. Yuck!

The only time that Eva is thankful for this strange ability is when she is tutoring someone in math. She just has to touch their calculator and she knows exactly what they are struggling with. This makes her an excellent tutor. It is through her tutoring that she meets Zenn.

When she is assigned to tutor Zenn Bennett, she is nervous. Who wouldn’t be? Zenn is absolutely gorgeous and he does it without even trying.

When she accidentally touches Zenn’s jacket she is rocked by what she sees. The violence of the vision is like nothing she has ever seen or felt before.

Eva must decide whether or not to confront Zenn and the horrifying vision or whether to keep it to herself and stay safe; but alone.

This novel has so many twists and turns that readers will never be bored and they will not want to put this book down.

There is romance, there is tragedy, there is guilt, remorse, fear and mystery. This book has it all.

Author Wendy Brant has written a young adult novel that will suck you in from the very first chapter. Both her world-building and her character development are top notch.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in a single sitting. I must warn potential readers that once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop, so you should make sure you set aside some time to curl up with this fantastic book.

I rate ZENN DIAGRAM as 5 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

*Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this book.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (In Her Own Words):

So my name alone should give you a clue that I graduated from high school when bangs were big and clothes were baggy. I went to Northwestern University and majored in journalism even though I had no desire to be a journalist. I’ve been married to a great guy for a whole drinking-aged person’s life. I’ve got two amazing and yet very different (and very tall) teenage kids. I like crappy food, pinning inspirational quotes on Pinterest, have a tendency to start paragraphs with “anyway”, and I wish I were funnier. I would love to be one of those really, REALLY funny bloggers (like Insane in the Mom-Brain) that makes you pee yourself a little bit. I am only moderately funny. I admit that. It’s one of my great sadnesses in life.

โ€‹โ€‹I started writing fiction when I was 10, but tried to be practical with the whole journalism thing. Didn’t take. Shortly after college, the fiction-writing desire reared its non-practical head and I’ve been writing ever since.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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A New MUST READ Young Adult novel that will have adult readers fondly thinking about growing up in the 80s. THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is available now!


 
Title: THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS

Author: JASON REKULAK     

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION  (THE 1980s)

Length: 285 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER 

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: SIMON AND SCHUSTER through the Goodreads Giveaway program

Cover Design: WILL STAHLE

Release Date: FEBRUARY 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781501166839

Rating:   5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ     

  

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Although THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is targeted at young adult readers, anyone who, like me, grew up in the 1980s will find this book a trip down memory lane.

Jason Rekulak may be a debut author, but it is obvious that his years working as an editor for Quark Books embued him with an excellent sense of the proper balance between the plot and character development.

Will Marvin and his two best friends are the ultimate underdogs. It’s 1986 and Vanna White is the ultimate girl next door. When the boys learn that she is featured in Playboy magazine, they are determined to get copies.

Will is a nerd. I can relate. I remember taking classes in Basic Code and doing anything on a computer took hours and hours of entering programming code. But, Will loves it. Hos ultimate life goal is to design video games for a living.

Then he meets Mary Zelinsky. She is a computer nerd too. Will is stunned. He had no idea that there were girls who liked computers. Remember – this was the 80s and women were still battling the secretary stereotype.

Can Will get the girl, perfect his video game called The Impossible Fortress, and get his hands on the dirty pictures of Vanna White?

This novel will have adult readers waxing nostalgic for the less complicated days of their youth and both adults and young adults alike will be able to relate to the terror and elation of discovering the opposite sex for the first time.

THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is liberally sprinkled with pop culture references and readers will find themselves digging out their old mixed-tapes.

I absolutely loved this book and I will be recommending it to all my friends. I doubt this is the last we have heard from debut author Jason Rekulak and I, for one, can’t wait to read whatever he comes up with next.

I rate this book with an enthusiastic 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Now, I’m off to my basement to try to find my old Atari system. I can’t wait to play Space Invaders – old school style.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 

JASON REKULAK was born and raised in New Jersey. He has worked for many years at Quirk Books, where he edits a variety of fiction and non-fiction.

He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children. THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is his first novel.

To learn more and to play a version of The Impossible Fortress game, visit his website.

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NEWLY RELEASED – THE PROMISE GIRLS by Bestselling Author MARIE BOSTWICK is worthy of a 5 Star Rating – Check out this review to find out why…

Title: THE PROMISE GIRLS   

Author: MARIE BOSTWICK

Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 352 PAGES

Publisher: KENSINGTON BOOKS  
Release Date: MARCH 28, 2017 

ISBN: 978-1-4967-0921-9 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Joanie and her little sisters Meg and Avery were paraded across th5e United States in the 80s as children who were supposedly prodigies.

Their mother, Minerva Promise, had designer engineered them in the UK as test-tube babies before the technology was even available in the United States. A few years later, Minerva then wrote and released a book called THE PROMISE GIRLS, which trumpeted the fact that she was the  mother of three artistic prodigies. Minerva’s book argued that nature and nurture both play equally important roles in fostering genius.

Minerva was a single mother who carefully chose the sperm donors for her children based on what she wanted. And she wanted prodigies – one in art, one in music and one in writing.

Now, twenty years later the Promise Girls have no contact with their mother and do NOT want any. But Minerva has her sights set on the girls participating in a documentary and plans to ride on the girl’s coat-tails once again.

This book is character driven. Marie Bostwick has a gift for creating characters who are so believable and so realistic that as you read the book, you find yourself forgetting that they are not real. In fact, it is impossible not to begin to care for the Promise girls and to hope for them to find happiness and success.

It is not just the characters themselves that will draw readers in. The story is excellent and utterly believable. The events in this book could easily have happened to any family.

So, the characters are amazing, the story believable and compelling – that is all you need, right? Wrong! Added to all the great things I have already mentioned, I need to add that there is much more to this book. Family dynamics, a mystery to wonder about, a past to discover,  romance, tragedy, and emotionally charged scenes all combine to create an extraordinary book that I believe will become a Bestseller.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free advance copy of this book. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


(Biography and picture copied from http://www.mariebostwick.com)

On the path to becoming a novelist, Marie Bostwick worked in the bean fields of Oregon, sang and danced in musical productions, acted in TV commercials, taught religion to deaf children, ran an event-planning business, worked as the scheduler for a U.S. Senator and directed womenโ€™s ministries for a large church.

But as diverse and enriching as these experiences were, it was a conversation with a stranger back in 1994 that pointed Marie toward her true calling.

Then the mother to three active young sons, Marie went on a much-needed vacation to a resort with some girlfriends. While there, she decided to attend a writerโ€™s workshop, โ€œnot from any desire to become a writer,โ€ she said, โ€œbut as a way to avoid playing tennis with my friends. Iโ€™m hopelessly unathletic.โ€ At the end of the week the instructor approached her, and thinking she was a professional writer, asked what sheโ€™d published.

โ€œI just laughed. I told him that I was a mom, and the only thing I wrote was grocery lists.โ€ The instructor insisted that whether Marie knew it or not, she was a writer. Marie thanked him for the compliment, saying she wasnโ€™t a writer, just someone who hadnโ€™t fired her imaginary friends when she grew up. โ€œThen he leaned toward me and said, โ€˜Well, what do you think writers are?โ€™ That got my attention. I think I realized then that he was onto something, that my secret identity had finally been unmasked.โ€

The signs were there from an early age. A voracious reader by the age of three, Marie said one of her first literary endeavors was a screenplay she wrote for โ€œCamelotโ€ before she was old enough to attend public school. The musical was a favorite of Marieโ€™s, and, not having seen the movie, she wrote her own story to go with the music sheโ€™d heard on her grandmotherโ€™s record player. In high school, Marie wrote short stories and โ€œa lot of sad, self-absorbed teenage poetry,โ€ which earned her the school English award.

Born in Eugene, Oregon, the youngest of four sisters experienced a life of comfort in her early years, then financial hardships after her parentsโ€™ divorce. But childhood summers spent working in the fields taught her industry and the dignity of good, hard work. They also provided the insight into the hearts and minds of small communities, the settings for her novels.

Marie dedicated four years to writing FIELDS OF GOLD. Published in 2005 by Kensington Books, FIELDS OF GOLD was a finalist for the prestigious Oklahoma Book Award and for RT BOOKclub magazineโ€™s Best Historical Saga Award. RIVERโ€™S EDGE won the Golden Quill Award, was a finalist for a National Readersโ€™ Choice Award and was an alternate selection of the Literary Guild. Her novellas, A HIGH-KICKING CHRISTMAS and THE PRESENTS OF ANGELS, which were included, respectively, in the holiday anthologies COMFORT AND JOY and SNOW ANGELS, appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.

Drawing on her lifelong love of quilting and themes of special relevance to modern women, Marieโ€™s Cobbled Court Quilt series has gained a dedicated following among quilters as well as those whoโ€™ve never threaded and needle and donโ€™t plan to try. The first book in the series, A SINGLE THREAD, published in 2008, is now in its sixteenth printing. That book, as well the third book in the series, A THREAD SO THIN, were included in Readerโ€™s Digest Select Editions. A THREAD OF TRUTH (2009) was named an โ€œIndie Next Notableโ€ book by the members of the Independent Booksellerโ€™s Association. TIES THAT BIND has been nominated as Best Mainstream Novel of 2012 by RT BOOK Reviews Magazine. In 2014, Marie was recognized for Career Achievement in Mainstream Novels award by the same organization.

Marie enjoys volunteering to help others. When she was twenty-five, she became the first president of a new chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Georgia. When living in Mexico, she served as the volunteer director of development for Manos de Ayuda (Helping Hands), a medical mission to the poor. She continues to volunteer her time to various church and community organizations today and was proud to serve a three-year term on the board of the Quilt Alliance.

โ€œIt feels like the rest of my life and experiences were the lessons that I had to master so I could do this thing I was truly meant to do,โ€ Marie said, adding, โ€œI canโ€™t imagine being anything but a writer.โ€

Marie lives in Oregon with Brad, her husband of thirty-five years. When not writing, she enjoys quilting, reading, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and especially playing with her grandsons. Marie travels extensively, speaking at libraries, bookstores, quilt guilds, and at quilt shows. She has been a featured speaker at the Paducah Quilt Festival and the Houston International Quilt Festival and has given keynote addresses at both the Florida Writers Association and La Jolla Writers conferences.

To find out more about this amazingly talented and prolific author, visit the following links: 

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