BLOODSUCKER CITY RELEASES TODAY!!! Get your copy now

Title: BLOODSUCKER CITY 

Author: JIM TOWNS

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 121 PAGES

Publisher: CASTLE BRIDGE MEDIA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-17364726-7-5

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Like a female Shawshank Redemption — with vampires.

1933

Falsely convicted of murdering her own boy, Lena—a poor young widow—is sentenced to life imprisonment in the infamous Steelgate Women’s Prison: an ancient stone fortress perched atop a jagged mountain in the middle of nowhere.

Abused by guards and her fellow prisoners alike, Lena is soon introduced to the Wardens of Steelgate. Strange and aloof, these seven men control everything and everybody within the prison. To break their rules brings severe punishment, as Lena soon learns when a misunderstanding sends her to the Hole for three days. There, in the darkness under the prison, she learns the true horror of Steelgate: the Wardens are all vampires, feeding off their women prisoners one by one: forgotten women, whom no one will ever miss.

Aware now that doing life in Steelgate is actually a death sentence, Lena decides she must form a plan to not only escape the prison, but to also bring down the evil that dwells there.

Obtained from the Author’s Facebook Page

MY REVIEW:

I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant to read another story with vampires as the central theme. However, I am VERY HAPPY I decided to go ahead and read BLOODSUCKER CITY by Jim Towns. The fact that he is a horror movie director definitely swayed my interest. The first line of the book’s synopsis also grabbed my attention and piqued my interest. It reads:

“Like a female Shawshank Redemption— with vampires.”

What self-respecting horror fan could pass up a book with that plot?

100% I was in!!!!

I was not disappointed. Jim Towns has crafted a fabulous story of risk, reward, and redemption. This novella has everything required of a great story. There is a gutsy heroine who has been trampled on simply by virtue of being a woman in 1933. There is a story of deep familial bonds, ones that transcend death. There is a women’s prison where those who could not (or would not) conform to society’s expectations of who and what and how a woman should behave.

I don’t want to ruin the story for any potential readers, but if you are a fan of horror and/or historical fiction, this is one book that you should pre-order now. It will be officially released on November 2, 2021 and I predict that it will obtain a dedicated cult following. I can’t wait to see how people react to BLOODSUCKER CITY.

I rate this book as a solid 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this novella. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jim Towns is a writer, director and visual artist. His films include the silent expressionist feature Prometheus Triumphant: a Fugue in the Key of Flesh, the award-winning haunted heist film House of Bad, the post-apocalyptic drama State of Desolation, and the streaming series Immortal Hands.

His short fiction has been published in print and online by Burial Day, Switchblade Magazine, Pulp Modern, Castle of Horror, and many more. He is the author of the non-fiction book American Cryptic, and his collection of poems, writings and photographs, Whiskey Stories, was recently released by Uncle B Publications.

His paintings and mixed media artwork have been exhibited in galleries in Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles.

He currently lives in San Pedro, CA with his wife and two mysterious cats.

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

WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

LINKEDIN

TWITTER

AMAZON  

THE TEACHING – A Thriller Based on the Author’s True Life Experience of Living In A Cult by T.O. PAINE is Coming Soon

Title: THE TEACHING

Author: T.O. PAINE

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, BASED ON THE AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE OF LIVING IN A CULT

Length: 381 PAGES

Publisher: DARK SWALLOW BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 3rd, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-9992183-2-7 (PAPERBACK)
ISBN: 978-0-9992183-3-4 (HARDCOVER)
ISBN: 978-0-9992183-4-1 (EBOOK)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Based on the author’s true-life experience living in a cult . . .

Raine Harkins believes everything the Teaching tells her—forgiveness is freedom, there are no dead, and there is no dying. She has lived her entire life in the Haven, a small religious community buried in the hills of northern Nevada, and it’s been a good life.

But when she discovers a frightened teenage girl hiding in the forest, everything changes. Raine offers to help the girl, but gunshots ring out, and the girl runs away, never to be seen again. A week later, Raine finds a letter pinned to her cabin door—God doesn’t want you here. Leave the Haven now, before he runs you down.

Raine can’t bear the thought of leaving the only life she’s ever known, but the threatening letters keep coming, and her search for the missing girl leads her down a twisted path, unraveling the truth behind the Teaching. It’s not a good life—there are dead, and people do die.

MY REVIEW:

Debut author T.O. Paine did exactly what authors are supposed to do: he wrote about what he knows. Since he has lived in a cult, he was able to create a community that is believable and is populated by inhabitants that are so realistic that I had to wonder if they were based on people he had known in his past.

If readers are approaching this story hoping to discover that all the people in Haven are evil, they will be disappointed. However, this is exactly what makes this book all the more believable; it’s acknowledgement that not everything in life is easily classified into simple categories.

The mystery that is the main plot will keep readers guessing and has multiple twists and turns. There are also several other sub-plots that the author seamlessly weaves together which will intrigue readers just as much as the main plot does.

There are five novels planned, of which THE TEACHING is only the first. I have added myself to the Author’s mailing list and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I rate THE TEACHING as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book can be pre-ordered now and the official release date is set for March 3rd of 2022.


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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

T.O. Paine is a suspense novelist whose authentic characters triumph over extreme situations in challenging, true-to-life settings. He enjoys delving into the emotional consequences of his character’s choices and taking his readers along for the ride. Though his novels are contemporary, things always get out of control. Cults are real, anger is a disorder, and everyone loses when a friendly competition becomes an obsession.

His first of five novels, THE TEACHING, is set for publication Spring of 2022.

T.O. holds a master’s degree in information systems, and when he is not writing, you can find him running or cycling through the mountains of Colorado, USA. He has run over thirty marathons, ridden over twenty 100-mile cycling events, and completed an IRONMAN.

T.O. resides with his wife, two children, and a Boston terrier who stares at himself in the mirror, questioning his existence.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK   

TWITTER

AMAZON

APPLE BOOKS

BARNES AND NOBLE

BATHTIME FUN – An adorable rhyming Children’s Book that will quickly become a favorite of both parents and kids alike by Award Winning Canadian Children’s Author KATHLEEN GAUER – Book Review and Sample Pages

Title: BATHTIME FUN

Author: KATHLEEN GAUER  

Illustrator: SARI RICHTER

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION

Length: 32 PAGES

Publisher: SKIPPING STONE PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: JULY 31, 2021

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Bathtime is FUN!!! Find out why in this bubbly, fun-to-read-aloud, tugboat adventure.

With bright, bold, and playful illustrations, diverse characters, and an engaging, rhythmic text, this delightful book is sure to spark the imagination of young readers everywhere.

When you combine adventure with getting clean, bath time is a fun time.

MY REVIEW:

BATHTIME FUN is a fun Children’s Book that both parents and young kids will adore.

The story is written in rhyme which allows the narrative to flow.

Children who may have been hesitant to have a bath or who start out afraid of the water, will see bath time as a time for fun during which they can allow their imagination to soar.

The illustrations are bright and engaging. These illustrations bring the fun of the rhyming story to life.

I rate this exceptional Canadian children’s book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

*

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Toronto writer Kathleen Gauer’s published works include illustrated children’s books, High in the Sky, For No Reason, The Wish Carvers, and Bathtime Fun! as well as poetry, and magazine and newspaper articles.

Her books have been acquired in libraries across Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Kathleen worked as a contributing associate editor for a Toronto community focus magazine for 15 years, and as an arts columnist for the Etobicoke Guardian newspaper.

She retired as an Educational Assistant in Special Education after working with the Toronto District School Board for 29 years.

When not writing or reading, Kathleen enjoys hanging out with her family and friends, yoga, hiking, golf, knitting, world travel, and choral singing.

She also volunteers with IBBY Canada’s Readers and Refugees program in Toronto and does author visits and story time programs in local schools and libraries.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Photograph by Nadia Guo

Sari Richter grew up in Ancaster, Ontario, and moved to Toronto where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and a Masters Certification from the Toronto Art Therapy Institute.

She works in a vast array of traditional and non-traditional drawing and painting media and looks forward to challenging commissions. Sari is also a published children’s book author (I’ll Know It When I See It!), illustrator, storyboard artist, and muralist. She has worked in the field of children’s mental health as an art therapist and loves challenging drawing and painting commissions.

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.sarimichellerichter.com

PINTEREST

INSTAGRAM

INSTAGRAM – ART ACCOUNT

TWITTER

AMAZON  

BLOODSUCKER CITY by Horror Director, Podcaster, and Author JIM TOWNS can now be pre-ordered. Secure your copy now, you will Not be disappointed.

Title: BLOODSUCKER CITY 

Author: JIM TOWNS

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 121 PAGES

Publisher: CASTLE BRIDGE MEDIA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-17364726-7-5

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Like a female Shawshank Redemption — with vampires.

1933

Falsely convicted of murdering her own boy, Lena—a poor young widow—is sentenced to life imprisonment in the infamous Steelgate Women’s Prison: an ancient stone fortress perched atop a jagged mountain in the middle of nowhere.

Abused by guards and her fellow prisoners alike, Lena is soon introduced to the Wardens of Steelgate. Strange and aloof, these seven men control everything and everybody within the prison. To break their rules brings severe punishment, as Lena soon learns when a misunderstanding sends her to the Hole for three days. There, in the darkness under the prison, she learns the true horror of Steelgate: the Wardens are all vampires, feeding off their women prisoners one by one: forgotten women, whom no one will ever miss.

Aware now that doing life in Steelgate is actually a death sentence, Lena decides she must form a plan to not only escape the prison, but to also bring down the evil that dwells there.

Obtained from the Author’s Facebook Page

MY REVIEW:

I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant to read another story with vampires as the central theme. However, I am VERY HAPPY I decided to go ahead and read BLOODSUCKER CITY by Jim Towns. The fact that he is a horror movie director definitely swayed my interest. The first line of the book’s synopsis also grabbed my attention and piqued my interest. It reads:

“Like a female Shawshank Redemption— with vampires.”

What self-respecting horror fan could pass up a book with that plot?

100% I was in!!!!

I was not disappointed. Jim Towns has crafted a fabulous story of risk, reward, and redemption. This novella has everything required of a great story. There is a gutsy heroine who has been trampled on simply by virtue of being a woman in 1933. There is a story of deep familial bonds, ones that transcend death. There is a women’s prison where those who could not (or would not) conform to society’s expectations of who and what and how a woman should behave.

I don’t want to ruin the story for any potential readers, but if you are a fan of horror and/or historical fiction, this is one book that you should pre-order now. It will be officially released on November 2, 2021 and I predict that it will obtain a dedicated cult following. I can’t wait to see how people react to BLOODSUCKER CITY.

I rate this book as a solid 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this novella. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jim Towns is a writer, director and visual artist. His films include the silent expressionist feature Prometheus Triumphant: a Fugue in the Key of Flesh, the award-winning haunted heist film House of Bad, the post-apocalyptic drama State of Desolation, and the streaming series Immortal Hands.

His short fiction has been published in print and online by Burial Day, Switchblade Magazine, Pulp Modern, Castle of Horror, and many more. He is the author of the non-fiction book American Cryptic, and his collection of poems, writings and photographs, Whiskey Stories, was recently released by Uncle B Publications.

His paintings and mixed media artwork have been exhibited in galleries in Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles.

He currently lives in San Pedro, CA with his wife and two mysterious cats.

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

WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

LINKEDIN

TWITTER

AMAZON  

SLEWFOOT Audiobook by BROM – One of the Best Historical Horror Books I Have Ever Had the Pleasure of Reading – Creepy and Terrifying, SLEWFOOT will stay with you forever. 5+ Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: SLEWFOOT

Author:  BROM

Narrator: BARRIE KREINIK

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, HORROR

Length: 14 HOURS and 15 MINUTES

Publisher: TOR NIGHTFIRE / MACMILLAN AUDIO

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 14, 2021

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Connecticut, 1666.

An ancient spirit awakens in a dark wood. The wildfolk call him Father, slayer, protector.

The colonists call him Slewfoot, demon, devil.

To Abitha, a recently widowed outcast, alone and vulnerable in her pious village, he is the only one she can turn to for help.

Together, they ignite a battle between pagan and Puritan – one that threatens to destroy the entire village, leaving nothing but ashes and bloodshed in their wake.

“If it is a devil you seek, then it is a devil you shall have!”

A Macmillan Audio production from TOR NIGHTFIRE

MY REVIEW:

World building at its finest. Characters so fully developed that it is impossible to not be invested in their lives. A build up in intensity that quite literally will have readers on the edge of their seats.

I was lucky to receive an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of the SLEWFOOT Audiobook from the Publisher through NetGalley. I am thrilled to say  listening to the story enhanced my experience.

Until I looked her up (yes, Barrie is female) after listening to her fabulous voice for hours on end, I had no idea that she wasn’t British by birth. Her website mentions her proficiency with accents, but actually hearing her performance, I realized she is not merely proficient, she sounds 100% as if she is a native Brit. Barrie is a masterful voice actor with an exquisite sense of timing. The way her voice rises and falls during particularly suspensful moments had me hooked. I will 100% be looking for more audiobooks featuring the skills of Barrie Kreinik in the future.

As for the story itself, the following offers a clue as to what I thought of SLEWFOOT…

From this day forward I will always think of Brom when anyone mentions historical horror fiction with fantasy elements. In fact, I don’t believe that any other author alive today even comes close to his skill level.

Because I do not want to give away any spoilers, I am not going to discuss the plot any further. Suffice it to say that this book is not just a story, it is an experience.

I rate SLEWFOOT as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the Publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this spectacular audiobook.

********************************

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

BROM

Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.

THE ART OF BROM – HARDCOVER

At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Three years later he entered the field of fantastic art he’d loved his whole life, making his mark developing and illustrating for TSR’s best selling role-playing worlds.

He has since gone on to lend his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games, to comics and film. Most recently he’s created a series of award winning horror novels that he both writes and illustrates: “The Plucker”, an adult children’s book, “The Devil’s Rose”, a modern western set in Hell, “The Child Thief”, a gritty, nightmarish retelling of the Peter Pan myth, “Krampus, the Yule Lord“, a tale of revenge between Krampus and Santa set in rural West Virginia, and his latest concoction, “Lost Gods” one man’s determined trek through the brutal landscape of purgatory, “Slewfoot” a historical horror novel of witchery and vengeance, set in colonial America.

Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere in the drizzly Northwest. There he subsists on poison spiders, centipedes, and bad kung-fu flicks. When not eating bugs, he is ever writing, painting, and trying to reach a happy sing-a-long with the many demons dancing about in his head.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.bromart.com/

AUDIBLE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER   

AMAZON  

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR:
[headshots by David Perlman]

Barrie Kreinik is an award-winning audiobook narrator with titles produced by

Macmillan, Hachette, Penguin Random House, Harper, Podium, Tantor, Audible, and AudioGO.

She specializes in accents and dialects, particularly those of the British Isles. And she does it perfectly.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.barriekreinik.com/

AUDIBLE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM  

BLOG

AMAZON  

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT by Heather B. Moore RELEASES TODAY!!! Check out the special offer for book buyers and invite the author to virtually attend your book club – BASED ON A TRUE STORY

Title: THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT

Author: HEATHER B. MOORE

Publication Date: 9/7/21

ISBN: 9781629729282

Retail Price: $26.99 (Hardcover)

Page Count: 368

Genre: Historical Fiction

Cover: Image by
BrianScantlebury/Shutterstock

Endsheet Image by: Naeblys/Shutterstock

Book Design: © Shadow Mountain

Design: Sheryl Dickert Smith

Art Direction: Richard Erickson

SYNOPSIS:

Sometimes all you have is hope.

In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing
Berlin. Aware of the many whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking
her life to help East Germans escape across the Berlin Wall and into the West.

Bob Inama, a soldier in the US Army, is stationed in West Germany. He’s glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he doesn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob’s special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany, identifying
possible targets for the US military. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and the danger of being caught and sent to a brutal East German prison lurks on every corner.

Best-selling author HEATHER B. MOORE masterfully alternates the stories of Bob and Luisa, capturing the
human drama unique to Cold War Germany was well as the courage and the resilience of the human
spirit.

http://www.shadowmountain.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy publications. She has lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States, including Hawaii, and attended school abroad including the Cairo American College in Egypt, and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about history and is passionate about historical research.

Help Heather B. Moore get her latest novel, The Slow March of Light, to hit the New York Times best-seller list by purchasing a copy between September 6-11.

Everyone who submits a copy of their receipt and fills out this form during the week of September 6-11 will receive The Slow March of Light – Swag Bundle*.

*While supplies last. Click here for terms and conditions.

Available From The Above Resellers

MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM:

Title: MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM 

Subtitle: TWENTY-FIVE TALES OF TRUE CRIME AND DARK HISTORY

Author: MIKE BROWNE

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Length: 337 PAGES

Publisher: HARPER COLLINS CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781443461597

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

https://omny.fm/shows/dark-poutine-true-crime-and-dark-history/did-they-get-it-right-the-rafay-family-murders/embed

DESCRIPTION:

Mike Browne, host of the popular Canadian podcast Dark Poutine, chronicles some of his all-time favourite stories of true crime and dark history from Canada and around the world.

Divided into four sections —Murders with a Twist, Perpetual Puzzles, The Madness of Crowds and Notable Disasters — all the stories in this collection (except two) are brand new and haven’t been covered by the podcast.

In Murders with a Twist, Browne recounts seven true crime stories with atypical elements, including weird motives, unusual perpetrators and bizarre murder weapons. In one case, we meet a man who is willing to kill to possess a human voice. In another, two women play a deadly game to prove their love to each other.

Perpetual Puzzles covers six stories that remain unresolved and will leave you with more questions than answers. They include the archaeological find of the century, which turns out to be something far more sinister, as well as the discovery of a dead man on the beach with a mysterious clue in his pocket.

The Madness of Crowds reveals that murder and mayhem are sometimes a group effort. We meet two young Canadians who leave home one summer to find work and instead end up on a murder spree, and a bizarre California cult that asks its members to topple the Mormon church.

The book concludes with Notable Disasters, which describes some of the most tragic and deadly events in history, including the deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, as well as the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017.

The book includes a foreword by Alan R. Warren, bestselling true crime author and host of the House of Mystery Radio Show.

MY REVIEW:

I am a True Crime fan. I listen and subscribe to several true crime podcasts. As I live in Canada, I am extra interested in those podcasts which are Canadian based. It is through that medium that I first became aware of Mike Browne.

Mike Browne is the host and creator of the “Dark Poutine” podcast. When I learned he was planning to author a book of true stories, I was immediately intrigued. I wondered if he would simply convert episodes of the podcast into written form or if he planned to tell all-new tales.

I now have my answer.

Instead of rehashing stories he had previously covered, MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM is filled with new and fascinating true stories.

The book contains a total of 25 stories, which have been divided into four categories.

Those categories are:

MURDER WITH A TWIST: which contains seven stories that prove that truth really is stranger than fiction. The strangest is the story about spelling out the word M-U-R-D-E-R.

PERPETUAL PUZZLES consists of six stories that remain mysteries to this day. These tales are guaranteed to leave readers wondering.  

THE MADNESS OF CROWDS delves into the weirdness that can develop when twisted people join together. This section includes the story of the “Heaven’s Gate” cult.

Last, but not least, is the section called Notable Disasters.

NOTABLE DISASTERS is not a typical chapter you would find in any other true crime book… This is a good thing. I love that Author Mike Browne included such events as the horrific Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, and the story of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, England that took the lives of 72 people and injured more than 60 others in June of 2017.

The Grenfell Tower Fire

You will definitely want your friends and family to read this book so that you can discuss it with them. If you work in an office, this book is sure to heat up conversations around the water cooler.

One of the characteristics that I most appreciate about Mike Browne is that he does not cheapen his stories by resorting to shock value. He includes enough details to ensure the reader understands the magnitude of what the victims suffered, but does not include gratuitous gore.

Mike Browne is a fabulous podcast host, and now he has expanded into being a fantastic author as well.

I look forward to his next book as well as to the next episode of Dark Poutine.

I rate MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM as a solid 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

*

https://omny.fm/shows/dark-poutine-true-crime-and-dark-history/sins-of-the-father-the-delorme-affair/embed

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MIKE BROWNE’s curiosity, love of storytelling, and lifelong interest in the true-crime genre led him to create the popular, award-winning Dark Poutine podcast in 2017.

New episodes released weekly cover true crime and dark Canadian history, with a smattering of stories from around the world. Mike’s experience as a trauma survivor is evident in the compassion and thoughtful connection he brings to the stories he writes and voices.

Mike is also a regular co-host on the radio show The House of Mystery, which plays nightly on KCAA in Los Angeles.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

DARK POUTINE PODCAST

GOODREADS

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

https://omny.fm/shows/dark-poutine-true-crime-and-dark-history/refrew-county-rampage-carol-culleton-anastasia-kuz/embed

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To learn more about the DARK POUTINE Podcast Click on the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

FACEBOOK GROUP – YUMBER YARD

TWITTER

PATREON

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PUBLISHER – HARPER COLLINS – VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

INSTAGRAM

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

YAKS CAN DO YOGA! BOOK BLITZ TODAY!!! – A #Fabulous #kidlit #childrensbook about #mindfulness and #yoga with #adorable #animal #illustrations (aimed at ages 3-11)

Title: YAKS CAN DO YOGA!

Author: Snezana Danilovic

Illustrator: Sandy Thornton 

BOOK BLOG TOUR COMING SOON

DESCRIPTION:

Yoga makes children happy, healthy and strong!

But if you are a clumsy yak, with wobbly hooves, who has never done yoga before, it can be tricky. Join Yak in her first Happy Panda class and see how she discovers the power and playfulness of yoga.

Eight yoga poses and their benefits are clearly explained and illustrated at the back of the book so young children can easily do them at home or in the classroom.

Yoga is for everyone! Adorable, engaging characters and humorous story draw in young children and get them hooked on yoga, creating healthy mind-body habits to last a lifetime.

Mindfulness and meditation are lots and fun! The story’s humorous, creative visualisation exercises tap into young children’s innate imagination, facilitating a deeper understanding of their emotions and developing confidence and resilience.

Author and experienced children’s yoga teacher Snezana Danilovic and illustrator Sandy Thornton team up to create the Happy Panda Children’s Yoga picture book series of heart-warming stories full of gentle humour, aimed at encouraging even very young children to get hooked on yoga. Parents, teachers and educators don’t need to be experienced yogis – they can learn and enjoy yoga alongside young readers, too!

YAKS CAN DO YOGA! IS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES.

Buy Link:

https://amzn.to/3hcuv3s

https://youtu.be/kbVLkGePXNY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Snezana Danilovic is a children’s author and an experienced children’s yoga teacher.

Her mission is to bring yoga to children through her passion for storytelling.

She has spent the last 30 years writing and working in theatre and children’s TV, creating an array of characters for pre-school and early years.

Snezana lives in Windsor with her husband, two children and a hamster.

She loves hugging trees and her house is full of balloons and musical instruments!

To learn more about this Author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

TWITTER  

INSTAGRAM

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Sandy Thornton is a picture book maker with over 20 years experience in early years creative play, running her own children’s art & craft classes, whilst providing creative ideas and content for children’s TV, including Cbeebies Mr Maker. From an early age, Sandy snipped, sketched, glued and stapled her own little books and magazines, influenced at the time by Herge’s Tintin and Jansson’s Moomins. Sandy lives in North London, with her family, their dog Winston and cat Rocky.

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

YOUTUBE

BOOK BLITZ ORGANIZED BY:

IT’S RELEASE DAY – John Carpenter’s Storm Kids: SACRED HEARTS IS NOW AVAILABLE – This graphic novel is targeted at young adult horror fans and readers will find themselves unable to put it down

Back Cover

Title: SACRED HEARTS  

Series: JOHN CARPENTER PRESENTS STORM KIDS: BOOK FOUR

Author: STEVE NILES

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Length: 152 PAGES

Publisher: STORM KING COMICS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JULY 27, 2021

ISBN: 9781734389104

Price: $23.99 USD (PAPERBACK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

For Chris, Dirk and Shelley, life in their small town has always been quiet. But they have all heard about the Franklin Farm… a place they should never go near.

The Franklin Farm

When the three best friends decide to build a tree fort in the woods, they dare each other to go to there in search of wood, and find themselves in a strange world they never expected, setting off a terrible chain of events.

Building the fort

In this place, monsters are created, and an ancient evil from an old family curse is rising within their little town. But in all the chaos, they come to learn that not all monsters are bad. Some are special… some are born with a Sacred Heart… From his horrific beginnings, this special Monster was born from a broken pact with evil, and somehow a door to a dark world had been opened. With the help of their new Monstrous friend, the kids try to stop the destructive forces happening all around them, and end the curse once and for all.

MY REVIEW:

I was drawn to this graphic novel because of seeing “John Carpenter” on the cover. But, that alone would not have been enough to make me love this graphic novel as much as I do.

This is the 4th book in a series, but each novel is a standalone seperate story. This means that you can read them in any order, or just read this one. But, now that I have read one of the novels, I want to read them all.

Even though this is a horror story, it is targeted at the young adult (or full adult) audience. The gore is kept to a minimum and I recommend it for ages thirteen and up.

The story itself will resonate with anyone who has grown up in a small town. Every small town seems to have at least one house or property that is rumored to be haunted or evil. SACRED HEARTS is no different.

The Sheriff

In this case, three friends – Chris, Dirk, and Shelley are building a fort in the woods outside of their town. When they realize they need more wood to be able to finish it, they remember seeing an old pile of boards beside the barn on the Franklin farm.

Retrieving that wood sets off a chain of events they could never have expected. Curses, pacts with the devil, and a monsterous creature unlike anything the kids have ever seen are only a few of the surprises awaiting readers.

The entertainment value of this graphic novel is off the charts. It also highlights some basic life lessons such as never judging someone by their appearance, and the value of true friendships.

The illustrations are utterly fabulous. I particularly liked the way the illustrators used dark and light to highlight the difference between the scenes of good versus those of evil.

Willie of ‘Willie’s Towing’
Close to the Franklin Farm

I highly recommend this graphic novel to everyone who loves a tale of good against evil. I rate SACRED HEARTS as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE CREATORS:

A Note From the Publisher

John Carpenter Presents Storm Kids brings horror and sci-fi stories to YA and MG audiences.

Brought to you by Sandy King’s Storm King Comics and the Master of Horror himself, John Carpenter, Sacred Hearts is the fourth story in the anthology series. As a mature version of childrens’ books like “Where the Wild Things Are”,The Gruffalo”, and “Leonardo, the Terrible Monster”, Sacred Hearts shows us that not all monsters are bad.

Like the young adults’ book, “No Place for Monsters” but with its own twist, Sacred Hearts takes us on a journey with children trying to save their town from a curse, while exploring what exactly makes monsters good or evil.

With twists and turns, and a backstory that comes full circle, this story contains revelations on how we as a society view monsters.

Steve Niles’ name is synonymous with the Horror genre. He is credited among other contemporary writers as bringing horror comics back to prominence, best known for 30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre, October Faction, Simon Dark, and Batman: Gotham County Line. Steve’s comic series, The October Faction, was made into a successful Netflix show in 2020.

His comic, 30 Days of Night, was released in 2007 as a major motion picture.

Nat Jones is one of the industry’s top horror and dark fantasy artists, he has worked with many of horrors’ most recognized creators and filmmakers including Rob Zombie, Guillermo del Toro, Steve Niles, Todd Mcfarlane and Joe Hill.

A 5 STAR YA Graphic Novel ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

UNSILENCED: A Teacher’s Year of Battles, Breakthroughs and Life-Changing Lessons at Belchertown State School by HOWARD C. SHANE is an unforgettable and compelling story of finding hope and inspiration in the most unlikely of places – THE MOST IMPORTANT MEMOIR YOU WILL READ IN 2021 – 5+ STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: UNSILENCED

Subtitle: A Teacher’s Year of Battles, Breakthroughs, and Life-Changing Lessons at Belchertown State School 

Author: HOWARD C. SHANE   

Genre: NON-FICTION, DISABILITIES, HISTORY, MEMOIRS, DISCRIMINATION

Length: 254 PAGES

Publisher: BROOKES PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 1, 2021

ISBN: 9781681255156

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

https://m.facebook.com/watch/?v=898640163601782&_rdr

DESCRIPTION:

The year is 1969, and fresh-out-of-college smart-aleck Howard Shane has just landed his first teaching job—at Belchertown State School, a bleak institution where people with disabilities endure endless days of silence, tedium, and neglect.

Howard is stunned by the conditions at Belchertown and the challenges of his new job, but as he gets to know his diverse, endearing, and intelligent students, he becomes consumed with a mission: to unlock their communication skills and help them reach their full potential. Pitting his youthful idealism and passion against the rigidity of a rule-bound administrator, Howard battles his way to small joys and victories with his students—and, along the way, learns just as much as he teaches.

A stirring and spellbinding memoir from internationally renowned AAC expert Howard Shane (Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Unsilenced is a candid look at a pivotal era in disability history and a deeply personal account of how all human beings can flourish when we care for each other and fight for change.

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MY REVIEW:

“It began in 1969, at a school with a name that’s repellent to modern ears: ‘Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded.’ Located in the sleepy town of Belchertown, Massachusetts, it was a grim institution where children with a wide range of disabilities were warehoused for nearly a century. At that time, parents of children with disabilities had few alternatives when it came to raising and educating their children.”

This fantastic memoir is an important addition to the history of people with disabilities. This is a story that MUST be told.

A scan of a 35mm slide taken of one of the dorms at BSS likely in the late 1970s.

Howard Shane was only 22 when he took a teaching position at the Belchertown State School. Much has been written about the institutions where “disabled” people were warehoused in the past. However, this book is completely unlike any other.

Ruth Sienkewicz-Mercer – Born in Northampton, MA, Ruth suffered a severe bout of encephalitis at five weeks old and at 13 months was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Ruth was admitted to Belchertown as a teen and spent the next 8 years in a bed on a ward for schizophrenics. In 1969, Ruth was introduced to a new teacher, Howard Shane, who, with the help of the physical therapist, created the first alternative communication device that allowed Ruth to communicate more widely. By then, the nurses on the ward had already figured out that Ruth communicated using eye movements and facial expressions.

Institutions such as the Belchertown State School were not places of learning as one would expect from the name. It’s full name says much about the commonly held attitudes of the time: The Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded. These were NOT places where hope or inspiration could be found. Instead, the residents were taught either only the basics of self-care, or were taught nothing at all.

Residents (patients) were often left with little or no access to external stimuli and had little access to educational materials.

When Howard Shane arrived to begin his teaching position, he had no idea that it would shape his entire future.

With A and K Building demolished, the worst conditions could be found in the other two large scale residential buildings: G Building and the Infirmary shown here where residents far outnumbered staff and there was little day to day activity on the wards to enrich the residents’ time there. The residents of the infirmary rarely left their beds unless it was to spend time on mats that were spread out on the floor. From Instagram.

Determined to actually educate his students, who were the most severely physically disabled residents of the “school,” Howard devised a way for the non-verbal students to actually communicate. This invention changed the lives of his students in untold ways.

In the early 1940s the residents attended the Belchertown fair and enjoyed riding the carousel so much that the administration decided to purchase one for the school. In 1948 they purchased a c. 1912 Stein & Goldstein Carousel from Forest Lake Park in Palmer. Obtained from the Belchertown State School Friends on Instagram

His dedication to actually educating his students caused him to butt heads with the administration continuously. His views were seen as radical and his goals for his students were seen as unrealistic and a waste of time.

This book will grab your attention and is 100% unputdownable. Readers will find themselves rooting, not only for Howard Shane, but also for the students in his unconventional classroom.

This book is important. We need to remember the past and how people with disabilities were viewed and treated. This knowledge is essential so that society is never allowed to slip back into believing the uneducated views of the past.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who believes that every person, despite their physical and mental disabilities, are important and deserve the chance to be happy and to live a fulfilling life.

I am very much hoping that Dr. Howard Shane decides to write a follow up to this memoir. I would be extremely interested in hearing more about his career and the devices he helped to create. In my view, Howard C. Shane is an exceptional human being and his life and work need to be celebrated.

I rate this book as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be eagerly awaiting the next volume of his memoirs.
.
*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

* Hear an Excerpt Read by Howard Shane, Ph.D. here: 

https://products.brookespublishing.com/Unsilenced-P1285.aspx

*

From: AsylumProjects.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Howard Shane, Ph.D.,is an associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Center for Communication Enhancement and the Autism Language Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

He has designed more than a dozen computer applications used widely by persons with disabilities and holds two U.S. patents.

Dr. Shane has received Honors of the Association Distinction and is a fellow of the American Speech and Hearing Association.

He is the recipient of the Goldenson Award for Innovations in Technology from the United Cerebral Palsy Association and has authored numerous papers and chapters on severe speech impairment, lectured throughout the world on the topic, and produced numerous computer innovations enjoyed by persons with complex communication disorders.

https://images.app.goo.gl/WfN2yAadxXCmtzgi8

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

WIKIPEDIA

BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

BROOKES is the premier publisher of practical, research-based resources that support children’s healthy development and boost the learning and success of all people, with and without disabilities. We partner with pioneers and fresh voices to inspire readers and provide them with the tools needed to help all learners achieve academic success and work toward a bright future.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL:

Photograph obtained from http://www.asylumprojects.org
This photo shows dinner being served in one of the women’s buildings at the Belchertown State School in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Food was prepared for residents at a central kitchen and delivered to the various dormitories.
Note the Buster Brown haircuts on most of the women–the preferred style because it was said to be easier for the staff to do than anything else. (Photo courtesy of the Clapp Memorial Library)
In this 1972 photo, empty beds at the Belchertown State School are pictured. James Shanks reported in his 1970 expose on the conditions at Belchertown State School where men slept in large barracks, beds touching head to foot, with only a narrow twelve-inch aisle separating rows. Sometimes residents had to climb over one another to get to and from their beds. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Albertson/CORBIS)

The Following Photos and Links have nothing to do with Dr. Howard Shane’s memoir. They are included here as additional content I found interesting:

INFORMATION ON THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL

From: The ATLAS OBSCURA WEBSITE

THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL FOR THE FEEBLE-MINDED was founded in 1922.

The 845 acre campus comprising some 57 buildings must be called scenic, if nothing else—the Holyoke Range is visible from the campus, and many of the original structures were old farmhouse cottages (five farms were purchased to build the school).

After its establishment, the school became the only institution for developmentally disabled children in Western Massachusetts. Conditions deteriorated over the next few decades. Wards were overcrowded and attendants overworked. As a result, patients were often left to soak for hours in their own excrement. Sometimes, handicapped patients had their teeth removed to facilitate feeding.

In 1992, the school was finally closed after decades of reported human rights violations. In 1994, the campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the buildings are all boarded up. Graffiti and vandalism are rampant. Many of the ward rooms have been destroyed. Weather has also done its fair share of damage. The buildings have asbestos and, while possible to walk in, aren’t structurally sound.

However relics remain of the old school. One room in a large dormitory building still has plastic mats nailed to the walls—a padded cell. Large recreational rooms on either side of the dormitory halls get the most sun. The light is fractured by old-fashioned wheelchairs. In the basement of one building, a piano is lying on its back like a sleeping horse.

And, while the town of Belchertown may have forgotten this nasty piece of its history in the few decades since the state school was closed, it is possible the former residents still remember. In an upper floor, a note was scrawled on the floor, on top of which were human feces. “We were here. Now we’re gone,” it read. “Clean this place up. It’s a mess!”

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

The grounds are conveniently located right behind the Belchertown Police Department. There are No Trespassing signs, and the local paper reports trespassers being arrested on a weekly basis.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you might find the following links interesting:

ARTICLE: Abandoned New England: Photos from inside the old Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded by Matt Hester, Freelance Photographer on MASSLIVE website

Book: Crimes Against Humanity: A Historical Perspective. It was written by Benjamin Ricci, who sent his six-year-old son Bobby to live there not knowing what the conditions were like, and who was involved in the initial 1972 lawsuit.

Another book with vivid descriptions of Belchertown is Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer’s I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes. She was a resident of the school in the 1960s and 1970s. Ruth was one of Howard Shane’s students.

BOOK: THE BOYS AND GIRLS OF BELCHERTOWN by Robert Hornick