FEEDING MY MOTHER by Jann Arden – A MUST READ by this multi-talented Canadian Icon

Title: FEEDING MY MOTHER

Subtitle: COMFORT AND LAUGHTER IN THE KITCHEN AS MY MOM LIVES WITH MEMORY LOSS

Author: JANN ARDEN

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, FAMILY, ALZHEIMERS

Length: 210 PAGES

Publisher: RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Type of Book: HARDCOVER

Received From: MY HUSBAND AS A CHRISTMAS GIFT

Release Date: NOVEMBER 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7352-7392-4

Price: $26.00 USD / $35.00 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Jann Arden moved into a house just across the way from her parents in rural Alberta to be close to them but also so they could be her refuge from the demands of the music business and a performing career. Funny how time works.

Since her dad died in 2015, Jann cooks for her mom five or six times a week. Her mom finds comfort in her daughter’s kitchen, not just in the delicious food but also just sitting with her as she cooks. And Jann finds some peace in caring for her mom, even as her mom slowly becomes a stranger.

“If you told me two years ago that I’d be here,” Jann writes, “I wouldn’t have believed it. And yet we still fall into so much laughter, feel so much insane gladness and joy. It’s such a contrast from one minute to the next and it teaches me constantly: it makes me stronger and more humble and more empathetic and caring and kind.”

The many people who are dealing with a loved one who is losing it will find inspiration and strength in Jann’s wholehearted, loving response and her totally Jann take on the upside-down world of a daughter mothering her mother. Feeding My Mother is one heck of an affirmation that life just keeps on keeping on, and a wonderful example of how you have to roll with it.

MY REVIEW:

I was drawn to this book initially by the beautiful cover and once I read the blurb inside the cover, I knew this was a book I just had to read. After reading the small poem that starts the book, I was enchanted.

“Another year, another page.
A million moments melt away.
The ticking-tocking hands of time,
what’s found and lost, remains sublime.
The details that we hold so fast,
are nothing more than memories past.
For love is all that lingers true,
the bond that ties my heart to you.”
– Jann Arden (2013)

Jann Arden is a Canadian icon and the fact that she is now dealing with a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease makes her seem less like an untouchable superstar and more like just another person of my generation who is dealing with aging parents. I can relate to her struggle.

Filled with gorgeous photography and touching moments, this book is one that everyone will want to read.

Jann may disagree, but her unflinching honesty and relentless positivity are inspiring. When discussing social media, she writes:

“Words are big. They define who you are. They are permanent… What you say is who you are. So try to be gentle on social media. Lift others up … Don’t always turn your words into weapons when you can just as easily make doves.”

She has articulated my exact feelings in a much more poetic and lyrical way than I ever could. I guess that’s why she is such an accomplished singer and songwriter.

The book is written in diary entry format beginning in June of 2014 with the final entry having been written in February of 2017. Jann has also included many of the recipes that she cooks for herself and her mother.

The recipes are written as if they had been noted down for you by a good friend after an enjoyable dinner party and yet they are also easy to follow and detailed enough that anyone and everyone should be able to recreate them in their own kitchen.

It would be impossible for me to rate this heartwarming and inspirational memoir as anything other than 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jann Arden’s latest book has kindled my interest in her, not only as a singer/songwriter, but also as an author and I plan to pick up her previous books as well. In short, BUY THIS BOOK – You will not be disappointed.

To see a terrific video interview where Jann Arden talks about this book, visit the CBC Website.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

PHOTO BY: ALKAN EMIN

JANN ARDEN is a singer, songwriter, broadcaster, actor, author and social media star. The celebrated multi-platinum, award-winning artist catapulted onto the music scene in 1993 with her debut album, Time for Mercy, featuring the hit single “I Would Die for You.” A year later she had her international break-out hit, “Insensitive.”

She has written three books, the most recent being the #1 bestselling memoir Falling Backwards.

She is much in demand as a public speaker, and a favourite frequent guest on CBC’s Rick Mercer Report and a guest host on CTV’s The Social.

To learn more about this Jann Arden, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

SPOTIFY

YOUTUBE

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ONE OF MY FAVORITE QUOTES FROM THIS BOOK:

“The cliché is that we are supposed to live our lives in ‘gratitude.’ But gratitude is not something you acquire like a Happy Meal from McDonalds. It’s something you have to slowly create in your daily life through intention and sincere acts of goodness and kindness.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This book is also part of a Reading Challenge that is being hosted by GINGERMOM READS BLOG where I have committed to reading at least one book title from every letter of the alphabet in 2018. It is the #2018AtoZChallenge

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MISSIONARY KID by Margaret H Essebaggers Dopirak is a fascinating true tale of growing up white in India

Title: MISSIONARY KID: A Memoir

Subtitle: BORN IN INDIA, BOUND FOR AMERICA

Author: MARGARET H. ESSEBAGGERS DOPIRAK

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Length: 260 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: GOODREADS GIVEAWAY

Release Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9971576-1-1 (Softcover)

ISBN: 978-0-9971576-6-6 (EBook)

Price: $17.95 USD (Softcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

This is a fascinating memoir of a childhood unlike any most of us could possibly imagine. It is a tale of a bygone era that is so engrossing it reads like fiction.

Born to white missionary parents during their first mission to India during the years when India was still ruled by the British Empire.

Margaret Essebaggers has written this memoir of her childhood with startling detail. No one remembers their early years with any degree of detail, but through family journals, photographs, and letters she wrote home from boarding school her parents saved, Margaret has been able to write an exquisite account of growing up in India in a time now largely forgotten.

I loved seeing the pictures and I do not think this book would be complete without them. Reading about her childhood as an MK or “Missionary Kid.”

Because I was literally unable to put this memoir down, I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Margaret H. Essebaggers Dopirak is the daughter of missionaries and was brought up and schooled in India. She received her early education at Highclerc, a boarding school for children of missionaries, situated in Kodaikanal, South India.

Subsequently, in the United States, she completed three years of nurses’ training at Illinois Masonic Hospital, Chicago, and attended Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois, where she earned a BS in Nursing. She later received a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Connecticut School of Community Health, Farmington, CT.

Being born and raised in India, Margaret realized early on that her childhood experience of growing up in a foreign country was very different from that of her contemporaries in America. Over the years, she was frequently reminded, through the curiosity and interest of strangers and friends, as well as family, that she might, indeed, have a unique story to tell. So, after a rewarding 40 year career in the field of hospital infection control and epidemiology – and during which time she raised her three lively sons – she turned her attentions to writing this memoir.

A first time author, Ms Dopirak aspires to continue writing about her life-experiences and her family history.

Having traveled the equivalent of one and a half times around the world by the time she was sixteen, Margaret’s appetite for seeing new sites and destinations continued throughout her life.

During her retirement years, in particular, she has traveled extensively with her husband, Bill, who is also a seasoned traveler. (Bill spent 20 years in the Navy as a submariner, affording him the opportunity to visit Scotland, Spain, Italy, and Guam.) Together, Margaret and Bill especially enjoy taking road trips within the United States, and have driven Historic Route 66 twice, visited all 50 State Capitols, and toured more than 150 National Parks. Trips and or cruises to the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Prince Edward Island and other Canadian destinations, Norway, and Europe have been among their international travel destinations.

Margaret is a grandmother to 9 grandchildren and a four-time great-grandmother. In keeping with writing her memoir, it is no surprise that she has an avid interest in genealogy, and has accumulated a wealth of family history which she hopes to pass on to her progeny and descendants.

To learn more about this author, visit the following websites:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

iBOOKS

BARNES & NOBLE

THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE by Tehmina Khan is a story collection featuring characters who are usually ignoredin modern literature. It’s a MUST READ!

Title: THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE

Author: TEHMINA KHAN

Genre: FICTION, SHORT STORY COLLECTION, LGBTQ, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, DIVERSITY, CANADIAN LITERATURE

Length: 121 PAGES

Publisher: MAWENZI HOUSE

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE PUBLISHER

Release Date: OCTOBER 2017

ISBN: 978-1-988449-14-2

Price: $20.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Accomplished, sensitive, and often disturbing, these stories take us into the lives of modern Pakistanis—privileged and poor, gay, trans, and straight, men and women, in Karachi and Toronto.

“Whisperings of the Devil” takes us into the mind of a mistreated maidservant’s boy who gets seduced into the role of a suicide bomber.

In “To Allah We Pray,” two privileged and educated young men, one of them home from Toronto, gallivant through the streets of Karachi, finally walking into a doomed mosque.

“Things She Could Never Have” is a love story about two young trans women living in Karachi.

“Born on the First of July” opens the door into the home of a Toronto girl who has left to join ISIS and the devastated family she leaves behind.

“The First” will astonish many readers by its depiction of sexual encounters of young college girls in Pakistan.

These and other stories link us into the complexities of a sometimes troubled and often misrepresented Muslim society.

MY REVIEW:

I am aware that the stories contained within this wonderfully written collection are fiction, but it is all too easy to see that they contain at least a degree of truth.

First-time author TEHMINA KHAN has crafted tales that are so believable that you will find yourself wondering if some of them are actually non-fiction. This is the mark of a truly talented writer.

In the story, BORN ON THE FIRST OF JULY, parents of a Canadian born young woman are shocked when she leaves to join ISIS. They “…become news junkies… [and] scour the internet for news on ISIS, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.” “For us, she dies again and again. She is reborn again and again. There is nothing as cruel as hope.” She has taken a topic that is taboo and somehow made it relatable. Great job!

All of the stories in this collection are wonderfully written and will entrance the reader. This book was impossible to put down and I found myself thinking about each of the tales, long after I finished reading them.

Tehmina Khan has given a voice to those people whom modern day literature shuns and ignores. From transgender youth to Muslim women, readers are sure to read about characters they might otherwise never encounter. It is story collections like this one that are necessary now more than ever before.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend it. Tehmina Khan may be new to the publishing world, but I am sure we will be hearing more about her in the near future.

*Thank you to Mawenzi House Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tehmina Khan was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and holds degrees from Kinnaird College, Lahore, and Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales de Tunis.

She has her home in Toronto, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a cat. She is currently working on a novel.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

BLOG

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

GOOGLE PLUS

PICTAGRAM

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Mawenzi House is dedicated to bringing to the reading public fresh new writing from Canada and across the world that reflects the diversity of our rapidly globalizing world, particularly in Canada and the United States.

Our focus is on works that can loosely be termed “multicultural” and particularly those that pertain to Asia and Africa. We publish 6-8 titles of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction (literary criticism, history) per year.

Among our achievements: we have played a role in the formulation of the Indo-Caribbean identity through the publication of several ground-breaking titles; we have kept in print books by major Caribbean writers Sam Selvon, Ismith Khan, and John Stewart; we have published provocative and perceptive social and literary critical works by Arnold Itwaru, Arun Prabha Mukherjee, Chelva Kanaganayakam, and others; the introduction of the important Zimbabwean writer Yvonne Vera; the first historical and critical study of Chinese Canadian writing in English; the first anthologies of South Asian Canadian literature, South Asian Canadian women’s poetry, Chinese Canadian stories, and South Asian Canadian and American women’s fiction.

HISTORY

In 1981, a group of young people, who had been in North America for just over a decade, decided to take the plunge and start the magazine they had always dreamed about as students, at a time in which Naipaul had to be ordered from bookstores, let alone Narayan or Ngugi or Soyinka. The result was The Toronto South Asian Review, which later became the much broader-based The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad and helped entrench a generation of new writers. As an offshoot of this literary magazine, in 1985 TSAR Publications published its first title, a book of essays on South Asian Canadian literature, followed by a book of poetry by Sri Lankan Canadian Rienzi Crusz. Mawenzi House finally emerged, a uniquely diverse and knowledgeable publishing house based in Canada. (“Mawenzi” is the name of the second peak of Kilimanjaro.)

To learn more about Mawenzi House, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

***This book is part of my #2018AtoZChallenge on Ginger Mom’s Blog***

ENDLESS JOURNEY is the newly released follow up to Author Linda Baer’s wonderful memoir RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN and once afain, she has hit a home run.

Title: ENDLESS JOURNEY

Series: RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN – BOOK TWO

Author: LINDA T. BAER

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, AUTOBIOGRAPHY, DIVERSE BOOKS

Length: 356 PAGES

Publisher: RIVER GROVE BOOKS – GREENLEAF BOOK GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 24, 2017

ISBN: 9781632991478 (SOFTCOVER)

Price: $16.95 USD (SOFTCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

At over 350 pages, you would think that you would get bored with reading this memoir, but ENDLESS JOURNEY is so well written and so very interesting, you will find yourself engrossed in it.

This is the second book in Linda Baer’s biography series RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN. The first book chronicles her childhood in Vietnam as well as her life up to the time of the end of the Vietnam War.

ENDLESS JOURNEY picks up where the first book left off – with Linda escaping a crumbling Vietnamese society to the United States with her white American husband.

Imagine arriving in America and discovering the tales of streets paved in gold and of a place so wonderful that no one has to work are all lies. Talk about a rude awakening! Poor Linda. Her fantasies about life in America evaporated in the blink of an eye.

When I read this part I laughed out loud, but upon reflection I see that it isn’t really funny. It is sad that people think America is the answer to all their problems. Perhaps if people knew the truth about life in the U.S.A., there would not be so many people risking their lives just for a chance at arriving in what they think is the ‘Promised Land.”

However, Linda was never one to shy away from hard work, so she shook off her original disappointment and settled into making the best life she could for herself and her family.

I think most people will benefit from reading this book. Linda’s work ethic and dogged determination to make her marriage succeed are nothing less than awe inspiring. Any one of multiple incidents and episodes could have been reason for her to give up on her marriage, but she wasn’t someone who gave up and, instead of divorcing, she fought and made her marriage better.

Not only did she follow her husband to the United States, but she also followed him around the world – wherever his career took him. She was in love with him “…Until death do us part…” and she took her vows seriously.

Children, foreign affairs, discrimination, familial tragedies and more are all detailed in this book and all are part of what makes this such a riveting and utterly fascinating read.

I feel that this book deserves a 5 out of 5 Star rating, especially considering that the author’s first language was not English. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* Thanks to for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda Loan Thi Baer was born Nguyen Thi Loan in 1947, in the small village

where she was raised, Tao Xa, Thai Binh Province, North Vietnam. Her father was killed during a Viet Minh attack on her village in 1951. Her mother married again, to a wealthy practitioner of Chinese medicine, and a war widower himself. Their family relocated to South Vietnam during the mass exodus of 1954, where they were forced to move constantly due to economic, political, and military conditions. They
eventually settled near Vung Tau, south of Saigon.

Loan left home at an early age of thirteen, to seek work at various menial jobs in Saigon to help her family, and to escape the physical abuse of her stepfather. She lived on the street as a dust of life. She grew up and became a club’s dancer, black marked dealer, later met and married to an American Air Force officer in 1968, and follow him to the United States in 1971.

She became an American citizen in 1973, and while raising two sons and a daughter, she obtained her high school GED and attended many college courses.

Linda graduated first in her class from her South Carolina cosmetology school. Later she owns and operate a successful Beauty Salon business name “Elegance by Linda B.”

She is the author of three books, “Edge of survival, Red Blood Yellow Skin, R.B.Y.S-Endless Journey. And the Dust Of life is in progress.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

TWITTER

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Greenleaf Book Group is a publisher and distributor that specializes in the development of independent authors and the growth of small presses. Our publishing model was designed to support the independent author and to make it possible for writers to retain the rights to their work and still compete with the major publishing houses. In addition to the books we publish, we distribute select titles from independent publishers to major trade outlets, including bookstores, libraries, and airports.

To learn more about this Publisher, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

AIRWOMAN by ZARA QUENTIN is Book One in an amazing new YA Sci-Fi Fantasy Series that everyone should read.

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Title: AIRWOMAN

Series: BOOK ONE of the AIRWOMAN SERIES

Author: ZARA QUENTIN

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Length: 340 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: OCTOBER 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9954048-0-9 (SOFTCOVER)

ISBN: 978-0-9954048-1-6 (KINDLE)

Price: $15.00 USD (SOFTCOVER)

Price: $2.99 USD (EBOOK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A father murdered by magic. A daughter’s cosmic quest for clues could make her the next victim…

Jade Gariq dreams of a new calling. While she wishes she could join the elite force that protects her home world from interdimensional threats, she’s stuck working for the family business. But everything changes when her father is found dead with traces of magic on him… magic that should only belong to the mythical Dragon-Gods…

To uncover the mystery behind her father’s murder, Jade must follow the clues to an uncharted world. Beyond the portal, treacherous jungles, surprising betrayals, and a killer bent on tying up loose ends stand in her way of the truth. It’ll take every ounce of Jade’s cunning to solve her father’s death, but can she avoid his fate?

Airwoman is a high-flying YA fantasy novel set in a stunning new Dragonverse. If you like fascinating worlds, memorable characters, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Zara Quentin’s action-packed adventure.

MY REVIEW:

Once in a while, you read a book and immediately see the potential for a vast number of books to come from that book. AIRWOMAN is one such book.

Zara Quentin has penned a science fiction novel that introduces readers to a whole new race of beings – those who protect the Dragonverse.

The story centers on eighteen year old Jade. She is the heir to her father’s vast trading company that is the biggest and best company in all of Taraqua.

Jade’s father wants her to take over the company, but she has always dreamed of joining the Traveller Force – the elite Taraqans who travel between worlds and who protect those world’s from the beasts that live in between them.

It is a struggle that many teens will identify with. Jade’s desire to please her parents wars with her own wants and desires. It is part of growing up to decide what to do with your life.

Of course, as often happens in real life, circumstances beyond Jade’s control seem to take away her choices. Her father is murdered and has named her as his heir.

Jade vows to bring her father’s murderer to justice and when all evidence points to the guilt of the man she is secretly in love with, Jade must decide what she will do.

With lots of action, a dash of romance, world-building that is as creative as it believable, deftly created credible characters, and a plot that cannot help but suck you in, AIRWOMAN by Zara Quentin is a Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy book that will leave you begging for the release of the next book in the series.

The only thing I would change about this book is the cover. I think it is a bit harsh looking. The head and face of Jade make her seem evil, rather than as the heroic character she strives to become. However, I am not going to “judge a book by its cover” since it is really the story that matters. However, I believe with a revamped cover, this book would sell more copies.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars in the Young Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy category and I believe that with the right marketing, this book could easily become a Bestseller. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*I wish to thank the author for providing me with a free copy of this book and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series and to follow Jade on more exciting adventures.

**All opinions expressed in my review are 100% honest. Although I received the book free of charge, this fact in no way affected the rating I have given this book.**

To read the first three chapters of AIRWOMAN for free, head over to the author’s website and sign up for her newsletter.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

5500a55b028e8696e5d0ed6761ba9370.jpeg

Zara Quentin is the author of Airwoman, the first book in the Airwoman series. She was raised in Adelaide, Australia, with one younger sister. Zara grew up with a strong sense of adventure, which she inherited from her parents, who took her and her sister on trips to the United States, Europe, and Asia.

She also inherited a love of reading from her mother. Throughout her childhood she explored fictional places through books, and in particular, through fantasy novels. She’d turn the black and white text on the page into the colourful worlds of her imagination. After graduating from high school, Zara studied at the University of Adelaide and has lived in France, London, and Auckland, New Zealand. She is always determined to fit in as much travel as possible, spending time in Europe, the United States, southern Africa, Morocco, Peru, the Pacific and south-east Asia.

Zara now resides in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children. She is currently working on the next instalment in the Airwoman series.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

iBOOKS

AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN is an amazing memoir that you will not want to put down.

Title: RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN

Subtitle: A YOUNG GIRL’S SURVIVAL IN WAR-TORN VIETNAM

Author: LINDA T. BAER

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, HISTORY, VIETNAM

Length: 343 PAGES

Publisher: GREENLEAF BOOK GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JUNE 2, 2015

ISBN: 9781632990273

Price: $16.95 USD (Softcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

“The price of freedom was indeed dear.”

Linda, known then as Loan, certainly knows the truth about the price of freedom. Born in 1947 there was no way her family could have known that their simple but happy lives would change and become filled with heartache and strife.

Thankfully, they were blissfully unaware of the political upheaval their country was to find itself embroiled in for many years to come.

Linda has managed to write a memoir that drew me in from the very first chapter.

She has lived a dangerous and fascinating life and has quite the gift for story-telling. The title, RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN says it all. It does NOT matter what color your skin happens to be, we all bleed the same red blood. This message is especially important at this moment in history. With racial prejudice filling the headlines, it is essential for people to realize their hate is ridiculous. We need to embrace the diversity that exists in North America today.

We need to celebrate that diversity and tap into the power that exists when different cultures, races, colors, sexes, etc all come together with a common goal. Reading memoirs such as this one will open people’s minds and hearts. This is the first book in a duology and tells Linda’s story from birth to the end of the Vietnam War. She has recently released her second book ENDLESS JOURNEY: BOOK TWO OF RED BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN which allows the reader to get to know her not just as a new immigrant but also as a proud American who has run a successful business for many years. My review of Book Two will be posted within the next few days.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I would rate it 6 Stateside that was actually a thing, but for now, I give READ BLOOD, YELLOW SKIN a rating of 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

** I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda Loan Thi Baer was born Nguyen Thi Loan in 1947, in the small village where she was raised, Tao Xa, Thai Binh Province, North Vietnam.

Her father was killed during a Viet Minh attack on her village in 1951.

Her mother married again, to a wealthy practitioner of Chinese medicine, and a war widower himself.

Their family relocated to South Vietnam during the mass exodus of 1954, where they were forced to move constantly due to economic, political, and military conditions. They eventually settled near Vung Tau, south of Saigon.

Loan left home at the early age of thirteen, to seek work at various menial jobs in Saigon to help her family, and to escape the physical abuse of her stepfather. She lived on the street as the dust of life.

She grew up and became a club’s dancer, black market dealer, and later met and married to an American Air Force officer in 1968, and follow him to the United States in 1971.

She became an American citizen in 1973, and while raising two sons and a daughter, she obtained her high school GED and attended many college courses.

Linda graduated first in her class from her South Carolina cosmetology school. Later she became the owner / operator of a successful Beauty Salon business named “Elegance by Linda B.”

She is the author of three books, “Edge of survival, Red Blood Yellow Skin, R.B.Y.S-Endless Journey. And another book called “The Dust Of Life” is now in progress.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

TWITTER

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Greenleaf Book Group is a publisher and distributor that specializes in the development of independent authors and the growth of small presses. Our publishing model was designed to support the independent author and to make it possible for writers to retain the rights to their work and still compete with the major publishing houses. In addition to the books we publish, we distribute select titles from independent publishers to major trade outlets, including bookstores, libraries, and airports. To learn more about this Publisher, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

MY FAVORITE QUOTE:

“To me, there is no right, and there are no winners in war. All wars are insane, and there are only losers, even those who think they are the victors. What do they win? They win nothing but broken bodies, torn families, dead relatives, and mass destruction.”

ALL INCLUSIVE by Farzana Doctor is a phenomenal read.

Title: ALL INCLUSIVE

Author: FARZANA DOCTOR

Genre: FICTION

Length: 294 PAGES

Publisher: DUNDURN PRESS

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Release Date: 2015

ISBN: 9781459731813

Price: $22.99 CDN (SOFTCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A story about one all-inclusive resort, the ghost of an unknown father, and the tragedies we can’t forget.

What’s it like when everyone’s dream vacation is your job? Ameera works at a Mexican all-inclusive resort, where every day is paradise — if “paradise” means endless paperwork, quotas to meet, and entitled tourists. But it’s not all bad: Ameera’s pastime of choice is the swingers scene, and the resort is the perfect place to hook up with like-minded couples without all the hassle of having to see them again.

Despite Ameera’s best efforts to keep her sideline a secret, someone is spreading scandalous rumours about her around the resort, and her job might be at stake. Meanwhile, she’s being plagued by her other secret, the big unknown of her existence: the identity of her father and why he disappeared. Unbeknownst to Ameera, her father, Azeez, is looking for her, and they both must come to terms with the reason why he abandoned her.

A moving new work from award-winning author Farzana Doctor, All Inclusive blurs the lines between the real world and paradise, and life and death, and reminds us that love is neither easily lost nor found.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

MY REVIEW:

ALL INCLUSIVE was released in 2015 and won the Kobo Best Book of the Year — Canadian Favourites Category; a wonderful achievement.

Canadian author Farzana Doctor also won the NOW Magazine Best Author of 2015. Upon reading ALL INCLUSIVE, I can certainly see why it won so many awards.

The subject matter of ALL INCLUSIVE firmly places it in 18+ readership category.

The main character is Ameera who has a white mother and a Middle Eastern father, a father she has never met and knows almost nothing about.

The narration of the tale swaps between two points of view. One is Ameera’s and the other is that of her father, Azeez.

Despite never having met, Ameera and Azeez are connected. Ameera decides to search for him at the same time as he begins to search for her.

The main story is about Ameera and her job at an All-inclusive resort. Someone is trying to sabotage her and the promotion she thought she had in the bag.

While trying to figure out who is out to get her and why, there is an entire other story happening which is just as complicated as the main storyline, maybe even more so.

With vividly realistic characters and descriptions that will paint brilliant pictures in the reader’s mind, ALL INCLUSIVE is a delightful read. Readers will feel immersed in the story and feel sad when the book ends – they will not want to stop reading. It’s a good thing that Farzana Doctor has more books available because I do not believe it is possible after reading this book to not become an instant fan of hers. I know that I for one am hooked. I plan to read her novel SIX METRES OF PAVEMENT next.

I rate ALL INCLUSIVE as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

FARZANA DOCTOR was the WINNER of the NOW Magazine Best Author of 2015.

Farzana Doctor is the author of Stealing Nasreen and Six Metres of Pavement, which won the 2012 Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award.

Farzana is one of CBC BooksTen Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now and the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Grant.

She co-curates the Brockton Writers Series and lives in Toronto.

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FRED’S FUNERAL by SANDY DAY is a fascinating tale of one man who returned from WWI only to be locked up in an insane asylum for “Shell Shock”

Title: FRED’S FUNERAL

Author: SANDY DAY

Genre: FICTION

Length: 114 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: DECEMBER 2, 2017

ISBN: 9781979556163

Price: $22 CDN for an autographed book through the author’s website.

Price: Ebook $2.99 CDN

Price: Softcover for $14.95

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:
(From the Back Cover)

Fred Sadler has just died of old age. It’s 1986, seventy years after he marched off to WWI, and his ghost hovers near the ceiling of the nursing home. To Fred’s dismay, the arrangement of his funeral falls to his prudish sister-in-law, Viola. As she dominates the remembrance of Fred, he agonizes over his inability to set the record straight.

Was old Uncle Fred really suffering from shell shock? Why was he locked up most of his life in the Whitby Hospital for the Insane? Could his family not have done more for him?

Fred’s memories of his life as a child, his family’s hotel, the War, and the mental hospital, clash with Viola’s version of events as the family gathers on a rainy October night to pay their respects.

MY REVIEW:

FRED’S FUNERAL is based on a true story. The details came from the letters, journals and recollections of the author’s Uncle Fred who, like the title character, fought in World War One and returned as a changed man.

This story begins upon Fred’s death in a Nursing Home. Fred finds himself floating above what was bed for years. He watches as his brother’s widow paws through his most cherished mementos. Fred is not happy about this since he never could stand Viola, and he never understood what his brother saw in the shrewish woman.

Fred finds that he is stuck between death and heaven and is somehow tied to his estranged family. He floats, invisible, to his own funeral and the reception afterward.

The rest of Fred’s relatives are eager to learn more about this Uncle they never knew and it is Viola who begins to tell the tale of Fred’s life.

Fred’s time as a soldier in World War One had a profound affect on him and after being home from the war for several years and not meeting his father’s expectations, Fred’s family has him involuntarily admitted to the Whitby Psychiatric Hospital, also known as Ontario’s Hospital for the Insane.

The above pictures are from the website Invisible Threads

This hospital actually existed. It was constructed between 1913 and 1916 to serve as a military convalescent hospital for soldiers wounded in the First World War. The hospital was considered a model of mental health care for its era. However, patients like Fred were forced to undergo treatments that we know now as cruel and barbaric such as shock treatment.

The more readers learn about Fred and his life, the more they will be forced to think about how veterans have been treated in the past, and how they are treated today. It will also bring awareness to mental health issues which is much needed.

Did Fred actually have “Shell Shock?” (What was once called Shell Shock is now know as PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.) We, as a society, are only just now beginning to recognize and treat PTSD sufferers with the dignity they deserve. But, we still have a long way to go to completely remove the stigma that is wrongfully attached to mental health issues. To learn more about PTSD, visit CMHA – The Canadian Mental Health Association.

The story jumps around in time, which I normally am averse to, but in this case it actually works.

FRED’S FUNERAL contains a mere 114 pages which makes it an ideal weekend read. I was so absorbed in the story that I read it cover to cover in less than 24 hours.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good family drama with a dose of history thrown in. In fact, this little book really packs a punch when you consider just how many topics and timelines are contained within.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sandy Day is a recovering chatterbox living in Georgina, Ontario, Canada. She graduated from York University, with a degree in English Literature sometime in the last century. Sandy then took 20 years off from writing to run a gift store and raise a family. Now relationship-free and un-self-employed she finally has time to write and publish.

Sandy is a trained volunteer facilitator for the Toronto Writers Collective’s creative writing workshops. She is a developmental editor and writing teacher who sells dog halters on the side. Tech savvy, a born marketer, entrepreneurial, and a big picture thinker, Sandy is a dedicated indie author, publisher, and book coach.

If you enjoy Sandy’s writing please sign up on the email list – she promises to write. Contact her via her website.

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5 Stars for Melanie Karsak’s Steampunk short story: CHASING CHRISTMAS PAST ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: CHASING CHRISTMAS PAST

Subtitle: An Airship Racing Chronicles Short Story

Author: MELANIE KARSAK

Genre: FICTION, SCI-FI, CHRISTMAS, STEAMPUNK

Length: 41 PAGES

Publisher: CLOCKPUNK PRESS

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: FREE FROM THE AUTHOR

Release Date: 2014

ASIN: B00RA6ZA1Q

Price: $1.02 on Amazon

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MY REVIEW:

The main character is a young woman named Lily. She is the captain of the airship “Stargazer.” Lily has entered the Yuletide Airship Race ever since she was young, and last year she had almost won. This year – 1820 – Lily was determined to win.

Lily would never admit it to anyone, but she is lonely and Christmas being the next day amplified her loneliness.

Will Lily finally be able to beat out all the other airship captains? And what will she do about her loneliness?

Melanie Karsak’s world-building is superb. The Steampunk version of London where the story takes place is highlighted by vivid imagery.

What a gift! Melanie Karsak has the ability to describe a scene so well that you can visualize it easily in your mind. For example:

The rooftops were covered with a powdering of crystalline snow. The gaslamp light made everything sparkle. The waves on the Thames twinkled with golden light.”

I rate this short story as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I highly recommend this wonderful Steampunk Christmas tale.

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

To sign up to Melanie Karsak’s Newsletter, click HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and The Celtic Blood Series.

She is a steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne.

Melanie currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children.

She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

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DADDY DARKEST by ELLERY KANE is a dark & twisted YA thriller worthy of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: DADDY DARKEST

Series: BOOK ONE OF THE DOCTORS OF DARKNESS SERIES

Author: ELLERY KANE

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT, PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

Length: 358 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JUNE 1, 2018

ISBN: 9780692880968

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“I wish my first plane ride had ended in a crash. An unforeseen plunge to Earth. A few minutes of white-hot terror, followed by a rising ball of fire. And no survivors.”

Samantha is a small town girl who just graduated from high school. She has her entire future ahead of her and she can’t wait. Her best friend, Ginny surprises her with a weekend in San Francisco.

Samantha knows her Mom would not approve so she waits until she is already on the plane before answering her mother’s texts and calls.

Samantha and Ginny may be best friends, but they are polar opposites of each other (except in physical appearance since they look so much alike, they could be sisters.

Samantha is quiet. Ginny is loud. Samantha does not like to flirt. Ginny seems to have learned to flirt in the womb. Samantha is careful, Ginny is not. Ginny likes to go with the flow, Samantha would rather have a plan. But, despite their differences, or maybe because of them, they compliment each other and their trust in each other is complete.

What neither of the girls know is that the amazing and fun weekend they’d planned is about to turn into a nightmare. One in which Samantha will discover that everything she thought she knew about her life, has been a lie.

Fast paced, heart-thumping action that will appeal to her new target readership of Young Adults and will not disappoint her adult fanbase.

This book, however, should come with a warning and could be a trigger for survivors of violent crime; including, but not limited to, stalking, mugging, domestic violence and especially to survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

I enjoyed most every part of this book and am glad author Ellery Kane has chosen to bring the issue of childhood sexual abuse into the light. She has included a description of one of the ways that pedophiles groom their victims. I believe this is important. The more information that is distributed to people, the less likely they or their loved ones will fall victim to this type of crime.

Tackling a sensitive subject while crafting an unforgettable thriller could not have been easy, but Ellery Kane has done exactly that. It is for that reason that I chose to rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Forensic psychologist by day, novelist by night, Ellery Kane has been writing–professionally and creatively–for as long as she can remember. Just like many of her main characters, Ellery loves to ask why, which is the reason she became a psychologist in the first place. Real life really is stranger than fiction, and Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Evaluating violent criminals and treating trauma victims, she has gained a unique perspective on the past and its indelible influence on the individual. And she’s heard her fair share of real life thrillers. An avid short story writer as a teenager, Ellery recently began writing for enjoyment again, and she hasn’t stopped since.

Ellery’s debut novel, Legacy, has received several awards, including winning the Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, young adult, e-book category, and the Gold Medal in the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards, teenage category. In 2016, Ellery was selected as one of ten semifinalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition.

To learn more about Ellery Kane, visit the following links:

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