MOVING FORWARD – A Novella of Life After Zombies by Uber-Talented Sci-Fi Author JAMIE LACKEY is Available Now. This is like no other zombie book you have ever read. It is a 5 Star Read ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Title: MOVING FORWARD

Subtitle: A Novella of Life After Zombies

Author: JAMIE LACKEY

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, ZOMBIE FICTION

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-0-6926436-5-5

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Corinne survived the zombie apocalypse 30 years ago. After the dust settled, she got married, had kids, built a life.

All of that is gone in an instant when a zombie attacks a city park. Corinne manages to protect her family, but the zombie bites her before it is taken down.

She wakes up in one of the infected sanctuaries, where she’ll have to build her life over again, knowing that at any moment she, or anyone around her, could become a monster.

Thank you to #NetGalley and the #author for providing me with a free copy of this #novella

MY REVIEW:

It is fascinating to me how a skilled author is able to pack in as much story as a full-length novel into a novella. This ability only occurs in truly talented authors … of which, Jamie Lackey is one.

This tale is an original take on the zombie fiction theme. It takes place thirty years after the zombie apocalypse. Zombies are still around but security is such that they rarely pose a problem for the general public.

One day, Corinne is enjoying a lazy picnic in the park with her daughter and infant granddaughter when she spots a single zombie coming into the park. Most of the residents of the city were born after the zombie war and have had the privilege of growing up in relative safety. Because of this they are not alert and none of the other families enjoying the sunshine notice the impending attack.

Corinne doesn’t think. She acts purely on instinct. That instinct propels her toward the zombie while warning everyone else to escape to safety. Unfortunately, Corinne ends up bitten before the security forces are able to nullify the threat.

Corinne sees none of this and the next thing she is aware of is waking up in one of the many infected sanctuaries. This is where people who are zombie-bitten but who did not immediately become a zombie themselves.

It is this idea of infected sanctuaries that is such a unique take on the zombie genre. I bought in completely and I was 100% absorbed in the story.

The lead character – Corinne – is not the typical heroine. Firstly, she is older than the characters that usually populate zombie fiction. Plus, not only is she a mother, she is also a grandmother. She is not perfect and doesn’t pretend to be. I thoroughly identified with her plight. All she wants is to live and love, it was not her fault she was bitten. She was trying to do something good and ended up paying for it with her freedom.

I also loved the idea of shelters for the Infected. What a fascinating place Author Jamie Lackey has brought to life in vivid prose.

In fact, I enjoyed this novella so much that I am hoping to discover the Author has decided to turn this novella into the first book in a series. If she does continue this tale in additional volumes, I will be the first to purchase a copy.

The setting is familiar and yet not, the characters are compelling and utterly believable. I can’t imagine enjoying a story anymore than I enjoyed MOVING FORWARD. I have added all the other titles written by Jamie Lackey to my TBR (To Be Read) list.

I rate MOVING FORWARD as a solid 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to #NetGalley and the #author for providing me with a free copy of this #novella

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cats. She has over 160 short fiction credits, and has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Escape Pod. She has a novella and two short story collections available from Air and Nothingness Press. In addition to writing, she spends her time reading, playing tabletop RPGs, baking, and hiking.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
www.jamielackey.com

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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:

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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.

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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/

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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/

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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

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

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

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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:

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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:

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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.

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BOOK BLITZ ORGANIZED BY:

WHERE ARE YOU? By L.E. Hill Publication Day Book Blitz

Where Are You? is an emotionally charged drama about secrets, family and the danger of hiding the truth.

Thirty years ago, Josie and Tara’s mother left home and they haven’t seen her since.

The only contact they have is the cards she sent them both each year on their birthday until they reached 21.

Then a knock at the door changes everything.

Bones have been discovered at the bottom of their childhood home and a sinister story eventually emerges. 

But is everyone really telling the truth? 

Author Bio:


Lorna Hill is a former journalist, she now works as a researcher and creative writing facilitator mainly working with people living with dementia and women affected by domestic abuse.

She writes her novels whenever she can find time, which is usually late at night or first thing in the morning.

She lives in East Lothian with her family.

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Click on the ‘Buy Link

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PUBLICATION DAY BLOG TOUR BLITZ Organized By:

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.
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*** 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

NEW RELEASE TODAY – RAYMOND THE BUFFALO by Lou Beau

Title: RAYMOND THE BUFFALO

Author: LOU BEAUCHESNE 

Illustrator: KATE CHAPPELL

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, CANADIAN AUTHOR

Themes: FRIENDSHIP, LOSS, COME TO LIFE, TRANSITIONAL PICTURE BOOK, EARLY CHAPTER BOOK

Length: 48 PAGES

Publisher: ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 11, 2021

ISBN: 9781459826175

Price: $19.95 CDN / $19.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Raymond is a brave, strong and hairy buffalo. Gilbert is a quiet, growing and not-at-all hairy boy. Raymond is the hero of Gilbert’s favorite book, and Gilbert brings his favorite book everywhere. When an unfortunate incident separates the two, Raymond finds himself in a very unusual situation—outside of his book and loose in the local library! There’s nothing for Raymond to do but wait for Gilbert to come find him. But as the days turn into months and months into years, Raymond has to be brave and make a new home in the library shelves and a new friend in the librarian, Nicole.

This adorably illustrated picture book celebrates the love we have for books and the strength of friendship.

MY REVIEW:

RAYMOND THE BUFFALO is a terrific tale, written as an early chapter book.

The story is about a boy named Gilbert who, for years has taken his favorite book with him wherever he goes. That book is called RAYMOND THE BUFFALO and it is from Raymond’s point of view the story is told.

One day, Gilbert discovers (like every young boy I have ever known) the wonderful world of dinosaurs. Gilbert’s mother takes him to the library where he borrows several dinosaur books.

When Gilbert’s mother grabs all of the library books to return them, she inadvertently drops off Raymond’s book as well.

Raymond somehow finds himself outside his book and he meets the friendly librarian and discovers the wonders that exist in a library.

Author LOU BEAUCHESNE has crafted a wonderful story of love, friendship, and loyalty as well as pointing out the wonderous world of the local library.

Raymond may be a buffalo, but he is also a terrific help to the librarian, staying inside his book when the library is open and re-shelving books at night. 

The Publisher of RAYMOND THE BUFFALO is my favorite children’s book publishing company; ORCA BOOKS. Even their logo (a killer whale) is gorgeous and I love that they are based in Canada.

I rate RAYMOND THE BUFFALO as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I recommend it to readers ages six to ten.

This book would make a fabulous gift for teachers, librarians, and booklovers, in addition to every child aged six and up.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lou Beauchesne is an author and illustrator of over twenty books for young readers, including La princess cowboy and La guerre des suces.

She began writing and illustrating small books that she sold to her neighbors and has been doing this ever since.

Lou writes and draws from her home in Quebec.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Kate Chappell is a freelance illustrator living and working from her home in Lincolnshire, UK.

She graduated from Falmouth University with a degree in illustration in 2013 and uses a mix of traditional textures and digital techniques to create fun, dynamic characters and illustrations.

Kate has created art for Google, Stella Artois, Nespresso, Dove and many others and tries to include elements of humor in her work whenever possible.

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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RELEASED TODAY – Creative Crochet Projects – 12 Playful Projects for Beginners and Beyond by the uber-talented Stephanie Pokorny CROCHET AT IT’S MOST CREATIVE

Title: CREATIVE CROCHET PROJECTS

Subtitle: 12 PLAYFUL PROJECTS FOR BEGINNERS AND BEYOND

Author: STEPHANIE POKORNY 

Genre: NON-FICTION, CROCHETING, CRAFTS AND HOBBIES

Length: 96 PAGES

Size: 8.5″ X 10.8″

Publisher: LANDAUER PUBLISHINGA DIVISION OF FOX CHAPEL PUBLISHING 

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2021

ISBN: 9781947163638

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

You’ve never seen a crochet book like this before!

Whether you want to learn how to crochet or you’re looking for new projects to try, Creative Play with Crochet is for you! Featuring 12 projects that start easy and introduce a new technique one design at a time, this exciting guide contains crochet patterns you won’t find anywhere else!

Filled with personality and color, follow step-by-step instructions and skill-building tutorials to create a collection of charming crochet projects, from a beehive mobile and a kitchen play mat to toys, beanies, scarves, and more!

Crochet with creativity!

– 12 fun crochet projects with a charming, offbeat sense of style
– Create kids’ toys, beanies, buntings, scarves, a beehive mobile, and more
– Step-by-step instructions, coordinating photography, and skill-building tutorials
– Beginner-friendly introduction to common stitches and crochet basics.

Author Stephanie Pokorny has a one-of-a-kind style that has both wide appeal and originality.

MY REVIEW:

Ever wished you could learn to crochet? Or, are you already an accomplished crocheter? Either way, this is a must-have book.

With 96 pages, of the highest quality photography with detailed instructions for each project, this is a craft book of the highest quality.

To ensure CREATIVE CROCHET PROJECTS will appeal to crocheters of every skill level, author Stephanie Pokorny has included instructions with full colour photographs for each crochet stitch.

It is obvious to me that a exceptional amount of thought went into the creation of this book.

The author even includes information as to how to read other crochet patterns and what each abbreviation that crocheters might run across stands for.

I have seen (and own) dozens of crochet pattern books, but have never seen one (until now) that appeals equally to crafters of all ages and degrees of proficiency.

From a kitchen placemat that looks like a stovetop to a fully stacked hamburger for kid’s play kitchens, each project is unique and beautiful.

The projects include:

Finger Crochet Scarves

– It’s a Chinch One-Hour Cowl


– Squiggles McGee Hat


– Bubble Hue Shift Hat


– Asymmetric Owl Wrap


– Happy Heart Bunting


– Foldable Burger


– Foldable Hot Dog


– Sliceable Watermelon


– Bee-Unified Mobile and a


– Roll-Away Kitchen Placemat

I rate CREATIVE CROCHET PROJECTS – 12 PLAYFUL PROJECTS FOR BEGINNERS AND BEYOND as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephanie Pokorny is the designer and owner of Crochetverse.com that offers a one-of-a-kind original style to the crochet world.

Her elaborate children’s crochet costumes were even acknowledged in the 2019 edition of Ripley’s Believe it Or Not.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  

GOODREADS 

ETSY

FACEBOOK – AUTHOR

FACEBOOK – PUBLISHER

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER – AUTHOR

TWITTER – PUBLISHER

RAVELRY

AMAZON  

YOUTUBE

CHAPTERS

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“Stephanie Pokorny is one of the most creative crochet designers working today and her clever ideas shine through in this book. Every design is innovative, joyous, and most of all, FUN!”
Heather Mann

Download the Free Pattern “Walt The Worry Bear”