ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY by Emmy Award Winning Canadian Actor and Author JOANNE VANNICOLA – If you only read one book this year, make sure it is this one. 5+ Stars – Compelling, Heart-rending, and Emotional. This is a MUST READ.

Title: ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY
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Author: JOANNE VANNICOLA
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Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, MENTAL HEALTH, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, LGBTQIA

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Length: 232 PAGES

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Publisher: DUNDURN PRESS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: JUNE 25, 2019

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ISBN: 9781459744226

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Price: $19.99 USD

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Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Joanne Vannicola grew up in a violent home with a physically abusive father and a mother who had no sexual boundaries.

After Joanne is pressured to leave home at fourteen, encouraged by her mother to seek out an acting career, she finds herself in a strange city, struggling to cope with her memories and fears. She makes the decision to cut her mother out of her life, and over the next several years goes on to create a body of work as a successful television and film actor. Then, after fifteen years of estrangement, Joanne learns that her mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, she visits with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.

Joanne relates her journey from child performer to Emmy Award–winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing her own sexuality, from conflicted daughter and sibling to independent woman. All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a testament to survival, love, and Joanne’s fundamental belief that it is possible to love the broken, and to love fully, even with a broken heart.

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MY REVIEW:

*** WARNING – TRIGGER WARNING***

This book contains scenes of child sexual abuse and physical abuse of children. If any of these topics cause emotional triggers for you, I strongly suggest you do not read this book.
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There are many memoirs that contain disturbing subject matter and ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY is no exception. However, the difference between other memoirs and that of Canadian Joanne Vannicola is that Joanne somehow managed to live through her horrific childhood and yet still emerge into adulthood full of compassion for others. Rather than allow her abusers to keep her ‘small,’ she has gone on to have a phenomenal career. To my way of thinking, Joanne being happy and successful is the best revenge. Her strength and determination are a big “F” you to her abusers. She didn’t let them win.

Not only that, but she has also become an advocate for LGBTQ youth. According to Joanne, “[Her] role meant [Joanne] could impact their lives, provide a little hope for others even though [she] still hadn’t learned to hold on to it [herself]…and it provided a deeper purpose…”

Joanne says in the book:
“I could not erase my own pain, but if I could help other kids, it meant healing was possible.”

This memoir is powerful. It is horrific in parts, especially when readers learn how Joanne was treated as a child, but it also includes some wonderful and touching moments and shows the power of friendship.

I do not want to give away too much with my review because I am hoping that everyone who reads this review runs out to buy/pre-order a copy of ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY.

YES, this book will make you shake in anger at the people who were supposed to love Joanne the most, but who turned out to be the perpetrators of her abuse, BUT I BELIEVE THIS IS A BOOK THAT NEEDS TO BE READ.

There are children suffering at this very moment, and people who see these things happening are often afraid to call Children’s Aid in case they are wrong. BUT … What if a child dies or suffers irreparable harm because you did not make that simple phone call? How would you feel? Could you ever forgive yourself?

PLEASE MAKE THE CALL. If it is determined that there was no abuse, then you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing. A bit of embarrassment is nothing when a child’s life and/or his/her mental health is on the line.

This book is not only about abuse. It is also about growing up and trying to come to terms with your sexuality. Joanne came of age not too long ago, but it was long ago enough that being gay, bisexual, trans, or queer was not acceptable to society at large. In fact, the phrase “non-binary” did not even exist. People kept their sexual orientations quiet and this fact made Joanne question what exactly was “wrong” with her. This memoir follows her journey from questioning her sexuality to accepting it and to become an advocate and role model for other LGBTQ youth.

Joanne’s life has been full of pain and agony, but it has also been a life filled with many triumphs, including her winning the her battle with anorexia.

I could go on and on about how amazing Joanne Vannicola is (all based on her book as I have not met her yet.) Instead, I will encourage everyone reading this review to pre-order her book immediately. Don’t wait to do it. Order it immediately. You will not be disappointed. ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY is a 5+ Star Book and you will continue to think about Joanne and her life long after the final page has been read. It is impossible not to. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning Canadian actor and writer, who has been working in film, television, and theatre since she was eight years old. She has also been nominated for a Genie, a Gemini, and an ACTRA award.

Joanne is a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ community and has an essay in the anthology Cuarenta y Nueve, a book by 49 artists for the 49 victims of the Orlando Pulse club massacre. She is the Chair of the first LGBTQ+ committee for the actors union, ACTRA, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee at ACTRA for women in film and television.

Joanne’s forthcoming memoir, All We Knew but Couldn’t Say (Dundurn Press) will be available 1 June 2019.

She is a recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Grant in 2016—Writer’s Works in Progress for her memoir. Joanne was selected for the Diaspora Dialogues Program in 2013 and worked with author David Layton for six months. Her short screenplay His Name Was Steven, was selected for the Queer Ideas Screenplay competition.

Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, between 2004-2009, to raise awareness about child abuse and sexual violence.

Equity issues have always been at the forefront of Joanne’s work both in her artistic world and in her personal/political life and she is very passionate about youth, women, and LGBTQ equity and rights.

To learn more about Joanne Vannicola visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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OFFICIAL AUTHOR WEBSITE
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BLOG
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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK
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INSTAGRAM
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DUNDURN PRESS ON INSTAGRAM

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TWITTER
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DUNDURN PRESS TWITTER

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IMDb

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AMAZON
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CHAPTERS
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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
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WANT TO ATTEND THE OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH???

WANT TO MEET JOANNE IN PERSON?

WANT TO HAVE YOUR BOOK SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR?

SIGN UP FOR FREE TO ATTEND HER OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH HERE

****This book is my “A” entry in the GingerMom’s 2019 A to Z Reading Challenge****


BURN by Helen Hyland – Book One in a New Post-apocalyptic Trilogy is COMING SOON – Romance and Non-Stop Action Make This A Great Read

Title: BURN
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Series: EARTH 6.0 TRILOGY : BOOK ONE
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Author: HELEN HYLAND
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Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, APOCALYPTIC FICTION, SCI-FI ROMANCE

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Length: 226 PAGES

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Publisher: BLACK ROSE WRITING
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Received From: THE AUTHOR

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Release Date: MAY 2, 2019

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ISBN: 978-1-68433-257-1 (Paperback)

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Price: $18.95 (Paperback)

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Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

5 EXTINCTION LEVEL EVENTS HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED. CAN HUMANITY SURVIVE A 6TH?

In two weeks life on Earth would end. Victoria Phillips was one of the fortunate ones, she’d won a spot in Earth’s underground sanctuary. Unfortunately, it came with Phoenix Tanner. He’d been sent to escort her to safety, but the man drove her nuts with his arrogant, annoying, sexist attitude. She was torn between kicking his shins and running her nails down his back, tracing that delicious tattoo.

She was relieved when they picked up more winners, and his attention shifted away from her. But the more time the group spent together; the more she got to know Nix… she began to suspect that the lottery wasn’t all that random after all.

MY REVIEW:

Want a dash of romance with your ‘End of The World’ tale? If so, BURN is perfect for you.

If you like stories where the female lead character has a backbone and is ‘off-the-charts’ intelligent? Again, BURN is the book for you.

I have a soft-spot for post-apocalyptic fiction. There is just something about reading about regular people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances that intrigues me.

I enjoyed reading BURN and I love the characters author HELEN HYLAND has populated the story with. Each one has his or her own distinct personalities and they all seem so real that I found it impossible not to care about them.

Victoria Phillips is the main character and she is someone that, if she were real, I would definitely hang out with. Her backstory is similar enough to my own that I understood the motivations behind many of her thoughts and actions. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, so I won’t say anything more about her. Suffice it to say that I really enjoyed reading BURN and I recommend it to readers who are fascinated by the many scenarios that could potentially bring an end to most of the life on our planet.

I read BURN in a single sitting (much to the chagrin of my hungry family who were waiting for me to finish the book and to cook dinner.) At only 226 pages, this book can easily be read over a single weekend, or a single day if you binge read like I do.

I rate BURN by HELEN HYLAND as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mark your calendars for May 2nd to get this book on Release Day. Or, better yet, just go to any of the links at the end of my post to preorder a copy to be sent to you the second it is released.

***Thank you to Helen Hyland for providing me with a free copy of this book***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Helen lives in a suburb of Philadelphia. Philly girl through and through. She bleeds green. She knows the meaning of “Wit or Witout”, that the best cheesesteaks are from the local place and skips Pat’s and Geno’s.

She has always been an avid reader and writer. Her mother would often find her in the middle of the night with a flashlight and either a book she couldn’t put down or scratching the stories that were in her head on loose leaf paper.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK
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TWITTER
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AMAZON
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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

BURN by Helen Hyland is my Letter “B” Entry for this terrific challenge

RIVER PEOPLE by Margaret Lukas – Historical fiction – A fascinating tale of struggle and survival in the 1890s

Title: RIVER PEOPLE

Author: MARGARET LUKAS

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 375 PAGES

Publisher: BQB PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1945448225

Price: $18.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Set in Nebraska in the late 1890s, seventeen-year-old Effie and eleven-year-old Bridget must struggle to endure at a time when women and children have few rights and society looks upon domestic abuse as a private, family matter.

The story is told through the eyes of the girls as they learn to survive under grueling circumstances.

MY REVIEW:

What first drew my attention to RIVER PEOPLE by Margaret Lukas was the wonderful cover. Seeing the shack near the water, it evokes a feeling of isolation and even somehow emits a sense of desperation – all that just from the front cover.

Once I started reading this book, I was introduced to Bridget (who is an eleven year-old half-orphan), and to Effie, who is the unwanted seventeen year-old daughter of a settler family.

The lives of girls and women in the 1890s were not their own. Females began life as property of their father, which only changed when she was married. At that point she became the property of her husband. Women could not vote since they were considered “non-persons.” Of course, in modern North American society, this seems ridiculous, but it was reality and very few people questioned it. In fact, if a man were to beat up his wife, the law would ignore it as being “none of their business.” Ridiculous I know, but that was reality and few people questioned it.

I do not think I would have done well living in such a society. In fact, I would probably end up like so many other women of that time who were labelled as “incorrigible” or as having “hysteria.” If a woman was so designated, her husband or family would have her admitted to an insane asylum to live out her days being considered crazy. Although this does not happen in this book, both Effie and Bridget must have known that it was a possibility, and that their fate rested in the hands of a man – one that neither of them liked very much.

Sixty four year-old Reverend Jackdaw has his heart set on building a church in Omaha, Nebraska and in having numerous sons to ensure his vision comes to fruition. To do this, he needs a wife, one young enough to bear multiple children. He sees his chance to begin fulfilling what he thinks of as his destiny when he stops at the farm belonging to Effie’s family. He convinces her father to allow them to wed by telling him that the Reverend and his new bride would be leaving for Omaha shortly after the ceremony and the consummation of the marriage.

When procuring supplies for their trek to Nebraska, Reverend Jackdaw comes across a sign offering “Free Orphans.” This is how Bridget becomes his adopted daughter. He sees her not as a person, but as a way to keep watch on his youthful bride. She tries to introduce herself, but he doesn’t care what her name is and tells her that from that day forward, her name would be “Rooster” due to her red hair.

The story then follows the unlikely trip as they trek through the wilderness and arrive at the “house” on the river that Reverend Jackdaw is being loaned the use of for free.

Author Margaret Lukas does a phenomenal job at world building and I felt as if I had been transported back in time. I loved the way she built up each character and they became real to me and I was invested in their survival. I just couldn’t put this book down and read the entire 375 in a single weekend.

Anyone who is curious as to how “real” people lived in the pioneer era should read this book. Unfortunately, many historical fiction authors take the easy route and choose to make their characters wealthy, but this just does not reflect the lives of average or poor people. To make a modern day analogy, it would be like writing about the Kardashians rather than a regular, every day person of middle class.

I enjoyed this book tremendously and as such, I am rating it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Margaret Lukas is an instructor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She teaches creative writing in the Writer’s Workshop Program. She received her BFA from UNO’s Writer’s Workshop in 2004. In 2007 Margaret received her MFA from Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington.

She is a recipient of a 2009 Nebraska Art Council Individual Artist Fellowship.

She is a contributor to NEBRASKAland magazine and an editor for the quarterly literary journal, Fine Lines. Her writing also appears online and in the 2012 anthology, On Becoming, published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Her award-winning short story, “The Yellow Bird,” was made into The Yellow Bird, a short filmand premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Farthest House was her first novel.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

PLUS+ by Fashion Blogger and Podcaster BETHANY RUTTER is being released soon. A coffee table book to inspire women of every size. 5 STARS

Title: PLUS +

Subtitle: STYLE INSPIRATION FOR EVERYONE

Author: BETHANY RUTTER

Genre: NON-FICTION, PHOTOGRAPHY, STYLE, LIFESTYLE, PLUS SIZED WOMEN, PLUS SIZED STYLE, DIVERSITY, DISCRIMINATION

Length: 224 PAGES

Publisher: ANDREWS MCMEEL PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 5, 2019

ISBN: 9781449493578

Price: $14.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Be inspired by 100 of the very best plus-size street style images from fashion influencers and tastemakers from around the world.

Plus-size fashion is daring, experimental, and deeply personal. There’s no longer any shame in not fitting the traditional ideals of beauty, as proven by Gabi Gregg, Tess Holliday, Beth Ditto, and thousands of bloggers and models around the world.

The online plus-size fashion community is loud, international, and confident. Millions of #ootd photos are shared every day, showing off amazing style and beautiful people. Plus+ gathers together the very best, and celebrates all shapes, sizes, and aesthetics—a beautiful, sharply designed, glossy collection to inspire everyone, plus-size or otherwise.

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MY REVIEW:

“My style is practical, stylish, feminine (at times) but most of all, true to me.”
– Quote by Chloe Pierre

PLUS + is a must buy coffee table book.

Are you a plus size woman?

Have you ever been told that you couldn’t wear a specific outfit due to your size?

If so, PLUS + is the book for you. With photographs of plenty of plus-sized women wearing whatever they want, this book will easily become your go-to when you need some inspiration in your day.

Each professional photograph is accompanied by a quote from the model.

These quotes range from:

“I dress for the celebration I want my life to be”

all the way to:

“Fuck flattering! No rules. Just Style.”

The included quotes run the gamut from sassy to demure, and from angry to inspirational.

Finally there is a book that celebrates fashion for regular sized women, rather than for stick people with no curves. Body positivity is the message.

As an added bonus, each photo layout includes the @ tag for each model which allows readers to go online and follow their favorite model even after finishing reading this book.

If, after reading, you do not come away feeling better about your body, and your personal style, then you are missing the point and I suggest you read it again.

I rate PLUS+ as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I hope to see this book become the go-to present for all your female friends regardless of their dress size.

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

QUOTES THAT REALLY SPOKE TO ME:

“I’m probably one of the worst people to talk about trends. I wear what I want, how I want, whenever I want. Dressing for myself is the only rule I understand.”
Fluvia Lacerda

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“I dress according to my mood, and I love it.”
Aileen Melendez Salinas

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

To learn about this author, blogger, and Podcaster visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

PODCAST – WHAT PAGE ARE YOU ON

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

INFO ABOUT BETHANY’S PODCASTS:

Prolific readers Alice Slater and Bethany Rutter take a literary theme, from ghost stories to crime to fat women, and chat about it for the next 40 minutes.

Visit their Podcast site.

Follow them on Twitter @WhatPagePod