A MEDIC’S MIND by Matthew Heneghan is a memoir of his struggle with PTSD. A fascinating and compelling tale

Title: A MEDIC’S MIND

Author: MATTHEW HENEGHAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, MILITARIA, PTSD, MENTAL HEALTH, INSPIRATIONAL, CANADIAN NON-FICTION

Length: 258 PAGES

Publisher: WINTERTICKLE PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: OCTOBER 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-894813976

Price: $25.96 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Matthew Heneghan weaves an intricate web that is his life, in a style all his own. Once a medic in the Canadian Forces and a paramedic in the civilian world, he has a varied and traumatic past. Facing childhood abuse, addiction, suicide ideation, incredible loss, mental illness, he finds himself left rudderless, Matthew chronicles his journey towards a better way of coping.

If you have spent time in the military, paramedicine, or just love devouring an exquisitely written tale, this book is a must-have. Learning how Matthew transitions from the stereotypical position of “hero” to becoming the hero of his own life is nothing less than inspiring.

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MY REVIEW:

“At a certain point, the very best of humans will finally break, with long-lasting implications.”

Todd McGowan, Chief Warrant Officer (Retired), Canadian Armed Forces

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Sitting on the edge of an overpass, haunted by the demons of trauma and loss, Matt is ready. Ready to end his life, and along with that would be an end to his pain and suffering. However, when an ambulance passes on the road below, he realizes that he doesn’t want the EMTs inside to be traumatized because of him. He can’t bear to be the cause of someone else’s suffering.

Thank goodness he didn’t go through with his planned suicide attempt, or A MEDIC’S MIND would not exist and that would be a terrible shame.

This book might just be the catalyst for others who are experiencing the symptoms of PTSD to seek treatment – thus saving their lives, or at the very least, helping to identify and possibly alleviate some of their symptoms.

A MEDIC’S MIND is a memoir written by an extraordinary man who has served our country and saved many lives. Although I am sure he would disagree, it is my opinion that he is the very definition of a “Hero.”

So, if he is a hero, and a distinguished retired member of the CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) then shouldn’t his life be perfect? Shouldn’t he be happy and healthy in the knowledge that without him, many more families, military and otherwise, would be mourning their losses?

You might think so, but that would be a very simplistic view of what happens inside the human brain.

I don’t believe anyone who hasn’t experienced the trauma of war has the ability to understand the emotional, physical, or psychological damage such experiences can cause.

After leaving the military, Matthew became a paramedic which further exposed him to more and more trauma. It has only been within the past few years that our society’s first responders have had their psychological health taken into account and that it has been acknowledged that PTSD is not limited only to soldiers.

Matthew Heneghan may have been a fantastic medic and EMT, but his true calling, in my opinion, is writing about his experiences. In A MEDIC’S MIND, he opens his mind and heart and lays everything bare. The bravery this takes is monumental. In a recent blog post, where he writes about the suicide of his close friend, Matthew states:

“Living with a fractured mind can be torturous. Living with a fractured mind and a broken heart… that’s torture of the rarest kind.”

Matthew, at one point in his life turned to alcohol to cope and to try to fill the pain he was feeling. He is now clean and sober and still damaged. He has learned a hard truth which he shares with the reader, that just because you kick an addiction, does not instantly mean you are “cured.” Life can, and does, kick you in the ass, but you have to hold on, even if, at times, it feels like you are only hanging on by the tips of your fingers.

I truly believe that A MEDIC’S MIND is an important memoir. This book needs to be widely read and distributed.

I have read many biographies and this one is one of the few that will stay with me for a very long time. I wholeheartedly believe A MEDIC’S MIND will become a book that anyone and everyone who wants to understand the psyche of a PTSD sufferer needs to read. This includes others suffering from trauma, their friends and families, as well as those who seek to understand and/or treat this disorder.

I rate A MEDIC’S MIND as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I sincerely hope that the author continues to blog and podcast and to speak out his truth. I think he is an important advocate for informing people about PTSD and it’s ongoing effects.

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****Thank you to the Author for providing me with a free copy of his book.****
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https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/my-therapy/episode-47-matt-heneghan-37J4KhXwHlN
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in England, Matthew and his family emigrated to Canada when he was five years old. He is now thirty-six years old. Everything written in his book and on his blog are true.

Matthew was an army medic for 6 years and after his time in the army was finished, he became a paramedic for a busy city ambulance service. Most of what he writes comes from these experiences. The Good, the Bad and the Tragic.

He was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and major depressive disorder in 2017.

He started writing his blog because he thought he was going crazy. Wanting to shout but not knowing how to do so. Not knowing where to direct it. So, this place, his blog is “Droplets of blood from an aching mind.”

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.amedicsmind.com

A MEDIC’S MIND – THE PODCAST

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RED RIVER GIRL: The Life And Death of Tina Fontaine BY Award Winning Journalist and Author JOANNA JOLLY – A 5 STAR LOOK AT ONE MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS TEEN

Title: RED RIVER GIRL
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Subtitle: The Life and Death of Tina Fontaine
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Author: JOANNA JOLLY
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Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, INDIGENOUS NON-FICTION

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Length: 320 PAGES

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Publisher: VIKING – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: AUGUST 27, 2019

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ISBN: 9780735233935

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Price: $16.95 USD (Paperback)

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

On August 17, 2014, the body of fifteen-year old runaway Tina Fontaine was found in Winnipeg’s Red River. It was wrapped in material and weighted down with rocks. Red River Girl is a gripping account of that murder investigation and the unusual police detective who pursued the killer with every legal means at his disposal. The book, like the movie Spotlight, will chronicle the behind-the-scenes stages of a lengthy and meticulously planned investigation. It reveals characters and social tensions that bring vivid life to a story that made national headlines.

Award-winning BBC reporter and documentary maker Joanna Jolly delves into the troubled life of Tina Fontaine, the half-Ojibway, half-Cree murder victim, starting with her childhood on the Sagkeeng First Nation Reserve. Tina’s journey to the capital city is a harrowing one, culminating in drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and death.

Aware of the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Jolly has chronicled Tina Fontaine’s life as a reminder that she was more than a statistic. Raised by her father, and then by her great-aunt, Tina was a good student. But the violent death of her father hit Tina hard. She ran away, was found and put into the care of Child and Family Services, which she also sought to escape from. That choice left her in danger.

Red River Girl focuses not on the grisly event itself, but on the efforts to seek justice. In December 2015, the police charged Raymond Cormier, a drifter, with second-degree murder. Jolly’s book will cover the trial, which resulted in an acquittal. The verdict caused dismay across the country.

The book is not only a true crime story, but a portrait of a community where Indigenous women are disproportionately more likely to be hurt or killed. Jolly asks questions about how Indigenous women, sex workers, community leaders, and activists are fighting back to protect themselves and change perceptions. Most importantly, the book will chronicle whether Tina’s family will find justice.

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THIS BOOK IS ON THE TORONTO STAR’S TOP TEN BESTSELLER LIST
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MY REVIEW:

As proud as I am to be Canadian, there are many things I wish I could change. There are even things that make me ashamed of my country and one of those things is how Indigenous people have historically been treated. Even more horrifying is that although it is finally improving, at least in some areas, Indigenous people still face an unconsciounable amount of racial discrimination to this very day. This racism and discrimination is not limited to Canada, and is a Continent-Wide issue.

The reason I bring up racism is because it is definitely a factor of Tina Fontaine’s disappearance and murder as chronicled in RED RIVER GIRL.

Police map of missing limbs in the Red River – Photo obtained from the BBC

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Author Joanna Jolly has researched Tina Fontaine’s life from childhood up to, and even after her death. I believe that Joanna Jolly’s experience as not only a journalist and author, but also as a documentary film maker has culminated in a book that must be read. She does not shy away from disclosing the horror that Tina experienced in her short fifteen years of life. Not does she gloss over the cultural stigma Tina lived with every day of her life.

This book not only highlights the life and death of Tina Fontaine, it also highlights the excellent investigative skills shown by the dogged police detective who pulled out all the stops to find Tina’s killer and to bring him to justice. However, that was not to be.

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When killer Raymond Cormier’s trial ended up with him being acquitted, people across Canada (myself included) were both outraged and dismayed. The only positive that came from that trial was the spotlight that was shone on the horrific epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

If you care about the truth, if you care about our Indigenous population, if you want to be more informed regarding Indigenous homelessness, as well as other related topics, you need to buy a copy of this book.

I rate RED RIVER GIRL as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

Thelma Favel – Tina’s Great Aunt

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JOANNA JOLLY

Joanna Jolly is a multi-award winning former BBC South Asia Editor and documentary film maker. Over the past decade, she has reported from Jerusalem, Brussels, Kathmandu, Washington DC and Delhi. Red River Girl is her debut novel. In 2016, she was a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Represented by Susanna Lea Associates on behalf of Toby Mundy Associates

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

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THE FOREST CITY KILLER by Vanessa Brown a tale of murder and mayhem that gripped the city of London, Ontario in the late 1960s – A MUST READ for all true-crime buffs

Title: THE FOREST CITY KILLER
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Subtitle: A SERIAL MURDERER, A COLD-CASE SLEUTH, AND A SEARCH FOR JUSTICE
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Author: VANESSA BROWN
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Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, CANADIAN NON-FICTION

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Length: 360 PAGES

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Publisher: ECW PRESS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: OCTOBER 4, 2019

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ISBN: 9781770415034

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Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Dig deep into the unsolved murder of Jackie English and join the hunt for a serial killer

Fifty years ago, a serial killer prowled the quiet city of London, Ontario, marking it as his hunting grounds. As young women and boys were abducted, raped, and murdered, residents of the area held their loved ones closer and closer, terrified of the monster — or monsters — stalking the streets. Homicide detective Dennis Alsop began hunting the killer in the 1960s, and he didn’t stop searching until his death 40 years later. For decades, detectives, actual and armchair, and the victims’ families and friends continued to ask questions: Who was the Forest City Killer? Was there more than one person, or did a depraved individual commit all of these crimes on his own?

Combing through the files Detective Alsop left behind, researcher Vanessa Brown reopens the cases, revealing previously unpublished witness statements, details of evidence, and astonishing revelations. And through her investigation, Vanessa posits the unthinkable: is it possible that the Forest City Killer is still alive and, like the notorious Golden State Killer, a simple DNA test could bring him to justice?
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MY REVIEW:

Researcher Vanessa Brown grew up in London, Ontario, Canada and resides there to this day. It is in her beloved city where she owns and operates a used book store and as an avid local historian, she has authored and/or edited several local history books. London, Ontario is also known as “The Forest City” hence the title of this book.

I have a keen interest in True Crime, biographies and historical non-fiction. It is because of this that I was drawn to THE FOREST CITY KILLER.

Also, since I live in Ontario, Canada and have visited all the locations mentioned in this story, and in fact, I attended the same high school (Sir Frederick Banting High School in Alliston Ontario) as convicted murderer, David Bodemer, I knew I just had to find out the details of the murders which took place only a few years before I was born.

Author VANESSA BROWN has taken the story of murder most foul and crafted a true tale of intrigue with so many twists and turns that it is almost unbelievable. It is said that “Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction,” and in the case of the FOREST CITY KILLER this statement proves to be true.

Untangling the web of murders as well as entertaining multiple theories, the writing of this book must have been a monumental task and yet Vanessa Brown proves herself as adept in not only untangling the many strands of the web, but also in providing readers with a chohesive and coherent timeline and a theory that comes across as convincing. In fact, maybe Vanessa Brown has missed her calling – she would make a phenomenal cold-case investigator.

My only negative feedback about THE FOREST CITY KILLER is the overabundance of footnotes. In my opinion, if the note is worthy of being included in the book, then it can easily be added to the main narrative. I found the footnotes interesting and was glad the information they contained was included, however I found them overly distracting. Hopefully, since the copy I received was an ARC (Advance Review Copy) that these footnotes will be worked into the body of the book.

Included in the book are many photographs including pictures of the eleven victims and photos taken at the time the bodies were found. This allows readers to feel an extra connection to the cases.

I rate THE FOREST CITY KILLER as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

A freelance writer, editor and local historian, Vanessa Brown is the author of The Grand Old Lady: A History of Hotel London and London: 150 Cultural Moments which was published by Biblioasis in 2017.

Vanessa Brown is an antiquarian bookseller who consults on early and rare editions and ephemera for the L. M. Montgomery Research Group. She is the author of The Grand Old Lady: A History of Hotel London.

Vanessa is also a murderino, and wants to remind you to stay sexy and don’t get murdered! (Don’t know what this means? Check out the amazing True Crime podcast MY FAVORITE MURDER)

Her latest book, The Forest City Killer, will be published with ECW in 2019.

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

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GOODREADS
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GOODREADS – ECW PRESS

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FACEBOOK
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FACEBOOK – ECW PRESS

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INSTAGRAM
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TWITTER
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TWITTER – ECW PRESS

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TO PURCHASE A SIGNED COPY OF THE FOREST CITY KILLER Click HERE

#TheForestCityKiller #NetGalley #SSDGM #murderino #TrueCrime #london #ontario #murders #coldcase

THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB by Canadian Author CRAIG DAVIDSON. This book is so good that it deserves more than 5 Stars. Don’t miss this one.

Title: THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB

Author: CRAIG DAVIDSON

Genre: FICTION, LITERARY FICTION, CANLIT, CANADIAN FICTION

Length: 246 PAGES

Publisher: ALFRED A. KNOPF CANADA – A Division of PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

Received From: THE PUBLISHER

Release Date: AUGUST 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-7482-2 (Hardcover)

Price: $27.00 CDN

Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

When neurosurgeon Jake Breaker operates, he knows he’s handling more than a patient’s delicate brain tissue – he’s altering their seat of consciousness, their golden vault of memory. And memory, Jake knows, can be a tricky thing.

When growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls (a.k.a. Cataract City) one of Jake’s closest confidantes was his uncle Calvin, a sweet but eccentric misfit enamored of occult artefacts and outlandish conspiracy theories.

The summer Jake turned twelve, Calvin invited him to join the “Saturday Night Ghost Club” – a seemingly light-hearted project to investigate some of Cataract City’s more macabre urban myths.

Over the course of that life-altering summer, Jake slowly and painfully came to realize that his uncle’s preoccupation with chilling legends sprang from something buried so deep in his past that Calvin himself was unaware of it.

MY REVIEW:

The Saturday Night Ghost Club is on the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize shortlist. The Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize recognizes Canadian writers of exceptional talent for the year’s best novel or short story collection. The winner receives $50,000 and all finalists receive $5000.
https://www.writerstrust.com/awards/rogers-writers-trust-fiction-prize

Everything about this book is sheer perfection. From the Hardy Boys inspired cover, to the uneven edging of the pages, to the scenes of Canadiana – such as when twelve year old Jake “… was sitting on the sofa watching The Beachcombers…”

Reading this book is like taking a walk through my own Ontario childhood when children actually played outside, when kids could disappear for hours and explore places that today’s helicopter parents would never dream of allowing their bubble-wrapped kids to go. It was a time when “bullying” was just a part of growing up. You had to either submit to it or learn to fight back.

“Suck it up, Buttercup,” was more likely the parental response to any type of bullying during my childhood and that of Jake Breaker as opposed to what happens now – complaining to the teachers, the Principal, the School Board, and anyone who will listen and likely even posting about it on social media.

It was a time when you would have been mortified if your parents got involved. Kids learned to solve their own problems, or they didn’t and if not, they ended up as perennial victims.

Craig Davidson takes the reader back to a time when imagination was King. A time before internet. You couldn’t just Google information about anything you wanted to know. You asked your parents or if you were as lucky as the protagonist, you asked your “Strange Duck” Uncle.

The way the author describes Uncle Calvin is so vivid and so very detailed that readers are able to picture him vividly, from his height. “He was incredibly tall, or so he seemed back then. (I realize now that, at six foot three, he was not quite the fairytale giant who exists in my memory.) To the way he moved – “He moved awkwardly, as though threads were attached to his limbs, trailing up to a novice puppeteer. He claimed this was the result of his nerves failing to stretch down to his toes and fingertips…” To his teeth, hair and even the clothes he wears. Uncle C becomes as vital and real to the reader as he is to his nephew, Jake.

The tale is told through the memories of a now grown up Jake. He has become a neurosurgeon and tells us the story of one summer when he was a pre-teen. It was a summer in which he still believed in ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night.

I was so wrapped up in this story that the world around me fell away and through the amazing talent of author Craig Davidson, I was transported into the story.

It takes a rare and exceptional talent to make me excited enough about a book that I feel compelled to tell everyone I meet about it. THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB is the best book I have read this year, and I have read many.

The descriptive power of words is on full display in this work of Literary Fiction. For example, read this:

“The girl was eight years old … An MRI revealed a mass lodged near her pineal gland … an aggressive form of cancer manifesting in children. She was booked into surgery immediately. My sucker wand transited the lobes of her brain, moving through sticky webs of glia – brain glue, as it is known in our racket – to arrive at the tumor, which lay anchored in her ocular nerve. The delicate procedure was like vacuuming caramelized sugar off a strand of spaghetti. The slightest misstep would snap the nerve and rob the girl of sight in that eye. I removed as much as felt safe before retreating.”

Comparing author Craig Davidson to other authors would just not be fair. It would be like comparing a CB Radio to a Smart Phone. He is in a class by himself and is sure to win award after award for his writing.

I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and I am thankful to them for introducing me to this author. I need to get my hands on anything and everything else he has written. If those books are even half as good as this one, they are books I absolutely must read.

The rating system for books only goes to 5 Stars, but I believe this book warrants a higher rating, one that distinguishes it from all others, therefore, I rate The Saturday Night Ghost Club as 5+ out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

**This book is also available as an audiobook at http://www.audible.ca Click HERE to purchase it online.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CRAIG DAVIDSON was born and grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls.

He has published four previous books of literary fiction: Rust and Bone, which was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film of the same name, The Fighter, Sarah Court, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated Cataract City.

Davidson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his articles and journalism have been published in the National Post, Esquire, GQ, The Walrus, and The Washington Post, among other places.

He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his partner and their child.

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

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DUTY COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY – WIN A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD

Title: DUTY

Author: BETHANY-KRIS

Andino + Haven, #1
Publication Date: October 8, 2018
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime. Erotic Romance

Cover Credits: Mykel Mignon at Oh So Novel

SYNOPSIS

They say heavy is the head that wears the crown …

Andino Marcello’s world is turned upside down when he becomes the next heir apparent to the Marcello empire. He was comfortable in his place as a Capo, but comfort is for the weak in the world of mafioso. The boss’s seat is waiting. It takes meeting a tattooed beauty who has no idea who Andino is or the criminal legacy he now carries beneath his three-piece suits, and charming smile for him to finally bend the rules set out for him. That doesn’t mean he can keep her.

They say things that never challenge you won’t change you …

Haven Murphy is doing her own thing, and she does it well. The owner of a successful Brooklyn strip club, she makes it her only goal to never fail. She’s just trying to live her life when a morning jog puts her face to face with a man that will change the direction of her life with a single conversation. She knows there’s a dark side to him beyond his good looks, and three-piece suits, but it’s hard for her to care when she wants him. That doesn’t mean he can be hers.

He’s going to break her heart; she’s going to keep his.

Because duty waits on no one.

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: DUTY

“Bad things happen to people who aren’t paying attention,” the woman said.

Andino nodded. “That’s true.”

She gave him another look, adding, “I guess the bad guys probably don’t wear three-piece suits, or walk their dogs in the middle of broad daylight.”

Funny.

Hadn’t he just killed a man a couple of days ago? Didn’t he have a gun hidden at his back? Wasn’t he just told he would be the heir to a criminal empire?

That all spelled bad guy to him.

Just in different ways.

“Life is busy,” Andino said, whistling after for Snaps to come back. Unquestioningly, the dog left the woman’s side, and came back to his master to sit patiently at Andino’s leather loafers. “Too busy for me, maybe. I don’t like change, but someone decided something recently that changed everything for me. Walking Snaps clears my head.”

The woman crossed her arms over her chest, and it drew Andino’s attention to the colorful artwork tattooed up her arms. Full sleeves on both arms, ink covering her throat, and traveling down to where the baggy tank top dipped low on her chest.

Damn.

He wondered what kind of stories her ink told.

Something amazing, probably.

“You should take a break, then, stranger who wears a three-piece suit to walk his dog.” Her tone was half-amused, and half-teasing. “You looked happy right before I interrupted—I bet Snaps would like you to take a break, too.”

“I—”

Andino’s phone buzzed with a call—he cursed as he shoved his hand into his pocket, and pulled the offensive device out to check the call.

Dante.

The boss.

No shunning a boss.

It was a rule.

He turned slightly to make his shoulder face the woman as he picked up the call. “Yeah, boss, what can I do for you?”

“Nothing you can’t handle, I am sure.”

The last thing Andino wanted to do was handle business. Any kind of business. He thought of the woman, and her words. Maybe she had a fucking point.

“Actually, I need a couple of weeks,” Andino said.

“Excuse me?” Dante asked.

“Yeah, I need a break.”

“For …?”

“At this point, whatever the hell I want. And anything that is not in this city.”

He needed to get away, and just … relax. Maybe then he wouldn’t get so snappy when his mother asked about women in his life, or whatever. Maybe then he might start to feel better about this whole fucking boss thing.

“Is this about the business, and la famiglia again, Andi?”

“Do you really need me to answer that?”

“You’re the right choice,” Dante said quietly. “The best choice. And you know it.”

“Fact remains. You’ve upended what I thought was my life. I need time to adjust.”

Dante sighed harshly, and Andino knew then he was going to get what he wanted. After all, Dante would want to keep him happy.

This was a two-way street.

A give and take.

“Fine, but—”

“No buts,” Andino interjected. “A break is a fucking break.”

“Has your father ever told you that you’re a demanding little shit?”

“Yes, and also that it suits me.”

Dante grumbled under his breath, but Andino was pretty sure his uncle said, “He’s not wrong.”

“Yeah, well—”

“Take your break.”

Dante hung up the phone without a goodbye. Andino wished he could say he was surprised. Turning on his heel to apologize and say goodbye to the woman who had been at the mouth of the connecting trail, he found the spot empty.

And the woman gone.

Fuck.

He hadn’t even gotten her name.

Snaps looked up at Andino with his big, dark eyes—ready and willing to find yet another stick to be thrown for him, probably.

“Where did she go?” Andino asked his dog.

Snaps simply wagged his stubby tail.

Thanks for the help, buddy.

ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD

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LIFE AT THE DEATH HOUSE by Sean E.D. Kerr is a phenomenal 5 Star Read. New Release

Title: LIFE AT THE DEATH HOUSE

Author: SEAN E.D. KERR

Cover Art: NATASHA SNOW

Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ, LITERARY FICTION

Length: 410 PAGES

Publisher: NINE STAR PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: AUGUST 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-949340-51-8 (EBOOK)

ISBN: 978-1-949340-55-6 (PRINT)

Price: $6.99 USD (EBOOK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

The locals call it the Death House, but Carol and Marco designed the New Life House as a home for kids to live, safely removed from the stigmas and judgments of the outside world.

Seventeen-year-old Tyler arrives on the doorstep, hoping that he’s finally found a safe place to die. His arrival causes the other kids to question the futures they’ve been promised, and Carol and Marco must convince them there is life after diagnosis.

Even through struggles with addictions and questions of sexuality, the residents could come to believe in the possibility of living.

*
*

MY REVIEW:

****WARNING ****
This book contains sexual content, which may only be suitable for mature readers. It also contains mature themes such as death, dying, suicide, drug use and more.
***************************

It’s called the “New Life House,” but the locals have their own name for it – they call it the Death House.

Why?

The answer is somewhat complex, but also quite simple. In the late 90s (which is the era when this story takes place) HIV and AIDS were still relatively new diseases and the general populace were spectacularly uninformed.

Rumors were rampant and many people thought that you could catch HIV just by touching an infected person. It was known as the “gay disease” since many of the infected came from the lgbt community.

In 1997, at the age of seventeen, Tyler arrived at the New Life House. “Strange name for a death house, he’d thought. The name just didn’t make sense to him. There was no new life for people like him. There was only death and loneliness. And pain. That’s all there was.”

Imagine being only sixteen and finding out you have a disease with no cure and a near 100% fatality rate. Now, add to this – your family kicking you out of the house and calling you terrible, hurtful names. As if those two things are not bad enough, now add another issue – the fact that you know nothing about this disease other than the fact it is going to take your life. You believe that anyone you touch (even just to give a simple hug) will also become infected, so you swear off physical contact completely. That is one heck of a burden to place on anyone, nevermind on a young teenager.

The longer Tyler and his housemates live at the New Life House, the more they learn – not only about their disease, but about each other, about themselves and about the selfless couple who made the house a reality.

I loved learning about each of the house’s residents and their backstories, including what led to them living away from their families and coming to reside in the New Life House.

I love that there are so many themes examined in the pages of this book. I love the fact that author Sean Kerr does not shy away from topics that might make certain readers uncomfortable. He tackles the issue of homophobia with the depth of feeling that I believe only an LGBTQ author could achieve. I am proud to say that the author is Canadian and I cannot wait to read whatever he writes next.

The only rating that I could possibly give this book is a perfect 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

With heart-wretching prose, authentic characters and a story ripped straight out of the headlines of the 1990s, this book should be at the top of everyone’s MUST READ list.

*** I would like to say a special thank you to both NETGALLEY and the Publisher for providing me with an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book. ***

QUOTES:

“Marco was wearing blue jeans and a Nirvana T-shirt. He looked like an old guy who hadn’t accepted his age yet.”

*

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sean holds a diploma in Professional Writing from Algonquin College (Ottawa, Canada, 2009). He found his love of writing at the age of ten when he released his first miniseries via Duo-Tang folder to his family and friends. He has another four novels outlined and is working on draft one of a fifth.

In December 2016, he launched the Pontiac & Ottawa Valley Writers’ Circle under the umbrella of the Pontiac Artists Association (PAA). He continues to coordinate the efforts of the POVWC and is enjoying the blossoming of a strong creative writing community.

Sean writes a wide range of genres with a particular focus and interest in literary and upmarket fiction. He specifically enjoys writing stories that deal with how people react to hardships, exploring how they come through them for better or for worse. It’s the experiences and choices that change people that intrigue him the most. Common themes include addiction, mental health, sexuality, grief and hope.

Sean lives on a farm in Bristol, Quebec, with his husband, Glen; their dogs, Suzie, Maxwell and Walker; their goats, Tyrion and Arya; and their llamas, Shadow and Angie.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

LINKEDIN

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST:

Professional Designer of Book Covers.

Natasha Snow

I’m a 28 year old graphic designer turned professional book cover designer living in Edmonton, Alberta.

I graduated from Grant MacEwan University studying Graphic Design with a major in print, which has helped me time and time again when designing (you guessed it) print books.

Since graduation, I’ve worked at a few places as a graphic designer, ranging from working in identity and branding, to advertising for a major company in Canada.

In September 2016, I left my corporate job in advertising to start my own business only designing book covers. I’d found my passion in life, and knew there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do.

To this day, I’ve designed books from many genres, including romance, thriller, horror, LGBTQ, M/M, young adult, middle grade, fiction and non-fiction, and many more.

When not designing book covers (and let’s be honest, that’s practically never), I enjoy playing video games, reading, and pretending I know how to cook something besides toast.

To learn more about this artist, visit her website HERE.

#LifeAtTheDeathHouse #NetGalley #addiction #AIDS #drugs #alcohol #alcoholic #gay #gayfiction #LGBTQIA #LGBT #LGBTQ #HIV #death #dying #hospice #grief #mourning #illness #disease #tearjerker #mustread #children #youth #sexuality #CanLit #Canada #debut #debutauthor #Canadian #CanadianAuthor #author #igreads #Instagramhub #igauthor #igbook #lgbtqfiction #lgbtfiction #instabook #instaauthor #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #Amiesbookreviews #2018 #2018book #bookreview #bookreviewer #readandreview #tbr #tbrlist #amreading #drama #fiction #literaryfiction @weneedmorediversebooks

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

Title: FRED’S FUNERAL

Author: SANDY DAY

Genre: FICTION

Length: 114 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: DECEMBER 2, 2017

ISBN: 9781979556163

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

Price: Ebook $2.99 CDN

Price: Softcover for $14.95

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:
(From the Back Cover)

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

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

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

MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

The above pictures are from the website Invisible Threads

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

SMASHWORDS

F.O.L.D. BOOK BASH was terrific – Check out the amazing and diverse authors, poets and publishers I met on Saturday.



F.O.L.D. stands for FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY 

Today at City Hall in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, FOLD hosted the 2017 Book Bash. 

WHAT IS A FOLD BOOK BASH?

  • A one-day book market designed to give authors and book selling organizations a space to promote their books. 
  • A chance for the community to learn about books written by local authors
  • The ability for consumers to learn about and to purchase multicultural books that reflect the diversity of the city and  country in which they live
  • A chance to meet the authors of those books and to have them autographed 
  • As well as the chance to listen to authors read from, and talk about their books. 

    FOLD is the first and only literary festival in Canada to focus on diverse authors and stories.

    The first Festival of Literary Diversity was held in May 2016 and included more than 25 unique sessions held over three days with over thirty of Canada’s most exciting authors.

    Mark your calendars for May 3rd to May 5th, 2018 for the next Festival. There will be quite a few authors and publishers with many different sessions to choose from.

    CHECK IT OUT – YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID. 

    AUTHORS I MET ON SATURDAY  & SOME AMAZING BOOKS YOU NEED TO OWN


    #1. 

    JAEL RICHARDSON 


    Jael Richardson
     is one busy woman. Besides being the Founder and Creative Art Director of the Festival of Literary Diversity, she is also an author in her own right.

    Her book THE STONE THROWER: A DAUGHTER’S LESSON, A FATHER’S LIFE is a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The memoir received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award as an Emerging Artist and was adapted into a children’s book in 2016. 

    To learn more about Jael, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

    GOODREADS          

    TWITTER    

    FACEBOOK          

    INSTAGRAM        

    CHAPTERS              

    This is me with Jael at the 2017 FOLD Book Bash

    #2. 

    DEJA BEALS has been writing poetry since the age of sixteen. She finds her inspiration for her poetry in family, friends and everyday experiences.  

    DĖJA BEALS has been writing poetry since the age of 16. You would never know that during those early writing days, her poetry was filled with incorrect grammar. Now, like Déja herself, her writing has matured and
     developed. Her work has blossomed to include a range of topics such as love, faith and everyday experiences.

    Déja finds her poetic inspiration in family, friends and her daily experiences.

    She is known for her silly moments, big laugh and even bigger heart. She has been said to have wisdom beyond her years and uncanny insight which adds depth to her writing. She is currently living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

    DÉJA’S OFFICIAL BLOG     

    GOODREADS      

    TWITTER     

    FACEBOOK     

    INSTAGRAM    


    AMAZON          

    DISCOVERING DIVERSITY PUBLISHING    

    3, 4 and 5.

    I met these three very gracious and amazing women at the FOLD Brampton Book Bash. 

    About the multitalented Catherine Graham – Not only has she written the fiction novel QUARRY but she is also only days away from the launch off her new poetry collection THE CELERY FOREST which is being published by Wolsak and Wynn

    Author and Poet – CATHERINE GRAHAM

    QUARRY is a fictional story set in Southern Ontario during the 1980s. Only child Caitlin Maharg lives with her parents beside a water-filled limestone quarry, but her idyllic upbringing collapses when she learns her mother is dying. After a series of family secrets emerge, Caitlin must confront the past and face her uncertain future. 

    THE CELERY FOREST      

    Like Wonderland or Oz, Neverland or Narnia, The Celery Forest is an extraordinary world filled with strange creatures and disorienting sights. But the doorway to the Celery Forest is not a rabbit hole or an old wardrobe. The doorway is an MRI. For poet and novelist Catherine Graham, this is the topsy-turvy world she found herself in after learning she had breast cancer.

         More than a survivor’s tale, these poems are a map through unknowable terrain, infused with awareness and forgetting, written by a poet with the visionary ability to distill our sense of wonder into something we can hold.
    TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CATHERINE GRAHAM, VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS: 

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

    GOODREADS 

    TWITTER   

    FACEBOOK    

    INSTAGRAM      

    AMAZON       


    CHAPTERS         

         
    #4.  

    Publisher & Author Alexander Leggett  

    CEO and Founder of Two Wolves Press, Alexandra Leggat is the author of the novel The Incomparables as well as several other published works. 

    Alexandra started Two Wolves  Press as a way to nurture talent without compromise  – to work closely with Two Wolves writers to follow and trust their intuition and publish “instinctual fiction”. 

    Two Wolves Press publishes Catherine Graham’s novel QUARRY and
    Aileen Santos’ SOMEONE LIKE YOU.

    To learn more about this Publisher and author, visit the following links:
     
    OFFICIAL WEBSITE   


    GOODREADS     

    TWITTER   

    FACEBOOK        

    INSTAGRAM      

    AMAZON     

    CHAPTERS       

    MORE INFO COMING IN MY NEXT BLOG POST. 


    COMING EVENT – Attend the Toronto Book Launch of THE TORONTO BOOK OF THE DEAD on Friday, September 15th at 7.30pm – FREE ADMISSION 

    Friday, September 15, 2017 – 7:30 PM

    Book Launch: Toronto Lit Up

    Spacing Store

    401 Richmond Street West
    Toronto M5V 3A8

    Cost: FREE

    IFOA and Dundurn Press invite you to the release of The Toronto Book of The Dead by Adam Bunch as part of the Toronto Lit Up book launch series.

    bunch-adam-the-toronto-book-of-the-dead-2

    “Toronto has witnessed countless lives lived and lost as it grew from a muddy little frontier town into a booming metropolis of concrete and glass. The Toronto Book of the Dead tells the tale of the ever-changing city through the lives and deaths of those who made it their final resting place.”

    15-dundurn

     

     


    Toronto Lit Up is a three year initiative, spearheaded by the Toronto Arts Council and IFOA, designed to spotlight Toronto’s writers and empower local artists with career-building opportunities.

    toronto-lit-up-logo-magenta-2Toronto Arts CouncilPrint


    Participants

    • Adam Bunch

      Adam Bunch

      Adam Bunch is the creator of The Toronto Dreams Project, and has written about the history of the city for Spacing Magazine, Torontoist and the Huffington Post. In 2012, he earned an honourable mention for a Governor General’s History Award. Adam lives in Toronto.

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

    Title: THE LAST NEANDERTHAL

    Author: CLAIRE CAMERON    

    Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

    Length: 272 PAGES     

    Publisher: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE 

    Type of Book: AUTOGRAPHED HARDCOVER

    Book Jacket Designer: GREGG KULICK

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

    ISBN: 978-0-385-68678-5    

    Price: $29.95 CDN (HARDCOVER)

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    FAVORITE QUOTE:

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

    ABOUT THE BOOK JACKET DESIGNER:

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

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

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Photo by David Kerr

    (COPIED FROM THE AUTHOR’S WEBSITE)

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

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

    But we think of ourselves as the ones who drove the Neanderthals to extinction, rather than having sex with them. So how did modern humans and Neanderthals make contact? We can’t know the answer, but a novelist should take on the risk involved in imagining one.

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

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

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

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

    GOODREADS     

    TWITTER     

    FACEBOOK     

    INSTAGRAM        

    AMAZON       

    CHAPTERS     

    Read The New York Times Book Review HERE.

    HASHTAGS:

    @penguinrandom @PenguinBooks @PenguinCanada @randomhouse @RandomHouseCA ⠀
    @doubledaybooks @littlebrown

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