THE BABYSITTER: My Summers With A Serial Killer by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan – A True Crime Memoir Unlike Any Other

Title: THE BABYSITTER

Subtitle: MY SUMMERS WITH A SERIAL KILLER

Authors: LIZA RODMAN and JENNIFER JORDAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Length: 352 PAGES

Publisher: ATRIA BOOKS – A DIVISION OF SIMON AND SCHUSTER CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781982129491 (eBook)

Price: $17.99 CDN (eBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A chilling true story—part memoir, part crime investigation—reminiscent of Ann Rule’s classic The Stranger Beside Me, about a little girl longing for love and how she found friendship with her charismatic babysitter—who was also a vicious serial killer.

Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. He bought them popsicles and together, they visited his “secret garden” in the Truro woods. To Liza, he was one of the few kind and understanding adults in her life. Everyone thought he was just a “great guy.”

But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysitter was a serial killer.

Some of his victims were buried—in pieces—right there, in his garden in the woods. Though Tony Costa’s gruesome case made screaming headlines in 1969 and beyond, Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later.

Haunted by nightmares and horrified by what she learned, Liza became obsessed with the case. Now, she and cowriter Jennifer Jordan reveal the chilling and unforgettable true story of a charming but brutal psychopath through the eyes of a young girl who once called him her friend.

TONY COSTA – Picture Obtained from Wikipedia

MY REVIEW:

Chilling. Horrifying. Almost Unbelievable. Terrifying.

I cannot imagine how the author must have felt when she learned that the man who babysat her and her sister when they were young was actually a notorious serial killer. YIKES!!!

Now, as an adult, Liza is obsessed with learning all the details she was unaware of as a child. It is little wonder she was plagued by nightmares for years.

The point of view makes this true crime tale unlike any other and readers will be unable to put the book down.

Not only does this book delve into the crimes and Liza’s tie to them – including a trip to what turned out later to be his personal secret graveyard, it also explores how a child neglected by her family needed someone to pay attention to her. It also highlights just how different life was in the 1960s and how innocent people were back then.

A five out of five star rating is well deserved. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Releasing on March 2nd, 2021 THE BABYSITTER can be pre-ordered now.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photograph by Joel Benjamin

ARTICLE ABOUT SERIAL KILLER TONY COSTA – Written by Kurt Vonnegut

SMITHY by Indie Author AMANDA DESIREE is a triumph. This exceptional book is one of the best “horror” titles I have read in years and is truly unique – DESTINED TO BE THE SLEEPER HIT OF 2021

Title: SMITHY

Author: AMANDA DESIREE 

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, MYSTERY, THRILLER

Length: 500 PAGES

Publisher: INKSHARES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 13, 2021

ISBN: 9781950301218 (Paperback)

Price: $18.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Photo By: Erik Müller

DESCRIPTION:

In 1972, renowned researcher Dr. Piers Preis-Herald brought together a group of collegiate researchers to study the inner lives of man’s closest relative—primates. His team would undertake their study by raising a young chimpanzee and teaching him American Sign Language.

The primate selected was born chimpanzee #710642 at the Kohlberg Center for Primate Research. He would eventually be known to the world as Smithy.

Photo By: Francesco Ungaro

Nearly fifty years after the Smithy Project ended in tragedy at Trevor Hall, the question remains: Was Smithy a hoax? A clever mimic? A Rorschach projection of humanity’s greatest hopes and fears? Or was he indeed what devotees of metaphysics have claimed for so long: a link between our world and the next?

Written in epistolary format, this novel powerfully evokes time and place, recalling not only the controversial psychology of the early ‘70s, carried out in projects like the CIA’s MKUltra and the Stanford Prison Experiment, but also the budding of the horror genre itself. Steeped in a decade that gave us Amityville and The Exorcist, Smithy blends the mundane and the supernatural to earn its place beside such classics.

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MY REVIEW:

One of the most unique and we’ll executed horror novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Set in the early to mid 1970s, the story follows a study in which a chimpanzee is taught sign language. The chimp is nicknamed “Smithy” based on the fact that he is a wordsmith.

The setting is an aging mansion in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Gatehouse

The author tells the story through excerpts of letters, diary entries and descriptions of research video clips. This format was the perfect choice for this tale and readers will be pulled into the story.

Photo By: @felipepelaquim

At 500 pages, this is a lengthy book, but the action is so consistent and the story so engrossing that readers will feel it is all too short and will yearn for more.

This is an Indie Author who has an extremely bright future ahead of her. I will be adding her to my list of favorite authors.

Although this book is considered “horror” I feel that it is important to let potential readers know that it is NOT a blood and gore slasher book, nor is it anything like other horror titles. In my opinion, “SMITHY” could just as easily fit into the Mystery, or Thriller genres. If you are not usually a fan of horror, you should give this book a chance. It would be a terrible shame to overlook this incredibly fascinating story just based on its supposed genre.

I believe this book is going to be the sleeper hit of 2021.

SMITHY would make an incredible movie and would likely be a Blockbuster Hit.

I rate SMITHY as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be spreading the word about this book as far and wide as possible because I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and was loathe to stop reading it, even to go to sleep.

In short, READ THIS BOOK. You will not be disappointed.

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

Another one of the magnificent mansions in Newport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amanda has had a lifelong fascination for real ghost stories and once aspired to be a parapsychologist but settled for being a psychology major in college.

She currently lives in the Los Angeles area.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

GOOGLE BOOKS 

BOOKSHOP.ORG 

FANTASTIC FICTION

AMAZON   

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Recently called “the future of publishing” by The Wall Street Journal, Inkshares is a book publisher that uses reader engagement instead of agents and acquisitions editors to decide what to publish.

Their community of readers can read sample chapters, share, and pre-order a book project on Inkshares.com to help determine what gets published, Inkshares brings the book to life by providing editorial services, design, production, national distribution, and marketing.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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FACEBOOK  

TUMBLR

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

Newport, Rhode Island

RAYMOND THE BUFFALO – A Fabulous Children’s Book by Lou Beauchesne and Illustrated by Kate Chappell is as unexpected as it is wonderful. 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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.

Although this book is not being released until May 11, 2021 it is available for pre-order now and 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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Coming February 2nd – THE FOUR WINDS by Bestselling Author KRISTIN HANNAH – Her Best Book Yet plus a sneak peek at the the new Netflix series based on one of her books

Title: THE FOUR WINDS   

Author: KRISTIN HANNAH

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 464 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEB. 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781250178602

Price: $28.99 USD 37.00 CDN

Rating: 10 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

One of “27 of 2021’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away” Oprah Magazine

One of “The 57 Most Anticipated Books Of 2021” – Elle

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“Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind.” — Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library/National Records and Archives Administration
The dust storms filled the air, making it hard to breathe, and destroyed what few crops existed. These dust storms turned the area into a “Dust Bowl.” Picture from the FDR Library, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

MY REVIEW:

Kristin Hannah’s books have all been fantastic and they regularly top Best Seller lists around the world. Her new book THE FOUR WINDS is her best book yet. It is being released in only a few days (on Feb. 3rd) and if it is pre-ordered on Chapters, you get it for 30% off. (I do not get a commission, I just wanted to share the savings I discovered.)

Set during the Great Depression, this book will transport you to that time and to the Dust Bowl of the farmlands hit by the multi-year drought.

The protagonist, Elsa is a woman who just wants to survive and to perhaps have a small slice of happiness along the way. Despite not believing there is anything special about her, readers will not be able to stop from investing
themselves in her life and hoping that something good will happen for her.

This may be a fictional tale, but Elsa and many real women like her did experience the very same events during the Great Depression. She represents all those bold and courageous women who did anything and everything they could to ensure the survival of their children.

There was a great deal of research done to ensure the events and occurences Elsa and her family go through are based in historical fact.

Kristin Hannah is an artist, her medium is not paint, but words. She has the ability to manipulate her reader’s emotions and to build a relationship between characters and readers. It is exceptionally rare that a book will make me cry, yet THE FOUR WINDS does exactly that.

If you are only going to read one book this year, I cannot stress enough that you must read this book.

At 464 pages, you might assume that there would be times where the narrative became dull, but this is just not so. Every page holds the reader rapt with attention. THE FOUR WINDS is UN-PUT-DOWNABLE.

The normal book review rating scale is based on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the very best. Well, a 1 to 5 scale is just not sufficient for Kristin Hannah’s new book. I am choosing to rate “The Four Winds” as 10 out of 5 Stars which I have never done before. That is how highly I recommend this book. People will be talking about this book for a very long time.

There are lessons to be learned from this book. Lessons that can easily be related to the current pandemic facing North Americans today.

In closing, I say: BUY THIS BOOK.

TO attend Kristin Hannah’s Virtual Book Launch Tour by clicking HERE to find dates, locations and times.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: Kevin Lynch

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, Winter Garden, Night Road, and Firefly Lane.

Her novel, The Nightingale, has been published in 43 languages and is currently in movie production at TriStar Pictures, which also optioned her novel, The Great Alone. Her novel, Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to direct.

Kristin is a former-lawyer-turned writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone novel that brought women together, and The Nightingale, in 2015 was voted a best book of the year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, The Wall Street Journal and The Week.  Additionally, the novel won the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards. The audiobook of The Nightingale won the Audiobook of the Year Award in the fiction category.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://kristinhannah.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

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Creative Crochet Projects – 12 Playful Projects for Beginners and Beyond by World Famous Crochet Queen Stephanie Pokorny is a feast for the eyes

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”

PEACE – A Children’s Book by Baptiste Paul & Miranda Paul and illustrated by the fantastic Estelí Meza is available for pre-order now

Title: PEACE

Authors: MIRANDA PAUL and BAPTISTE PAUL

Illustrator: ESTELÍ MEZA

Genre: CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Length: 40 PAGES

Publisher: NORTH SOUTH BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 2, 2021

ISBN: 9780735844490

Price: $18.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Peace is on purpose. Peace is a choice. Peace lets the smallest of us have a voice.

From a hello and pronouncing your friend’s name correctly to giving more than you take and saying I’m sorry, this simple concept book explores definitions of peace and actions small and big that foster it.

Award-winning authors, Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul, have teamed up with illustrator Estelí Meza—winner of the ‘A la Orilla del Viento’ the premier Picture Book Contest Award in Mexico—to create an inspiring look at things we can all do to bring peace into our lives and world.

MY REVIEW:

PEACE – The title says it all.

This wonderfully illustrated children’s book is written by the husband and wife social justice team of Baptiste and Miranda Paul.

Baptiste and Miranda Paul

Peace is defined in simple terms that any child will be able to apply to their own lives.

The authors encourage children to demonstrate and seek peace through their own actions. For instance: kids are prompted to be polite and respectful. They are told that peace is giving more than they take which is a mantra that adults and children alike should strive to achieve.

The whimsical illustrations are beautiful and exquisite. Bold colors are liberally used to draw the eye across the pages. Each two-page spread is so fantastic they are worthy of being framed and hung in a child’s bedroom or playroom.

I am rating PEACE as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I hope to see copies of this book in houses, libraries and schools around the world.

German version
Spanish version

At the same time as the English language version is being published, so to are the Spanish and German versions.

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

The Authors

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

ABOUT BAPTISTE PAUL:

Baptiste Paul

Baptiste Paul grew up in St. Lucia, where at age seven he propagated a root cutting that still produces breadfruit for his family.

He holds an Environmental Science degree and is the author of The Field, which received multiple starred reviews. He is also the co-author of, I Am Farmer, with Miranda Paul.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://baptistepaul.net

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK  

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT AUTHOR MIRANDA PAUL:

Miranda Paul is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books for children, including Little Libraries, Big Heroes, illustrated by John Parra. She is a founding member of the organization We Need Diverse Books, and lives with her family in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.mirandapaul.com 

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

YOUTUBE

AMAZON  

PINTEREST

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Estelí Meza is the Mexican illustrator of Peace, a new book that will be published by NorthSouth Books in March 2021.

In Mexico she has received several awards for her work and is now making her international debut.

To read a fabulous interview with the Illustrator, click HERE.

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://estelimeza.com

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE


IN THE GARDEN OF SPITE – A Novel of THE BLACK WIDOW OF LA PORTE by Norwegian Author CAMILLA BRUCE sheds light on one of the most prolific female serial killers … Are you up for the task of finding out about this macabre and sinister woman? If so, read on…

Title: IN THE GARDEN OF SPITE

Subtitle: A NOVEL OF THE BLACK WIDOW OF La PORTE

Author: CAMILLA BRUCE 
https://camillabruce.com

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, BASED ON A TRUE STORY

Length: 480 PAGES

Publisher: BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-5931-0256-5

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

An audacious novel of feminine rage about one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history–and the men who drove her to it.

They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams–their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte.

The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she’d given up, what was taken from her, how she’d suffered, surely they’d understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That’s all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.

MY REVIEW:

This book will grab you and although the tension builds slowly, you will be unable to put this book down.

Currently, true crime is big business. Serial killers have fascinated people before there was even a term to describe this type of heinous multiple murderer/murderess.

Based on a terrifying true story, Camilla Bruce has crafted a superb tale of one woman who set her sites on potential suitors (and others) and methodically slaughtered them.

With quotes such as the following one, readers cannot help but be hooked by the antics of the “Black Widow of LaPorte.”

“Halfway through the meal, Moira had to excuse herself, as she was feeling ill. I wished her a speedy recovery as she made her way upstairs. Soon after, I cut her throat and let her bleed out in a bucket.”

IN THE GARDEN OF SPITE is not for the faint of heart. This is however the perfect book for anyone who likes a bit of history alongside their true crime fix.

Belle proves that women can be just as deadly as men. The saying ‘the fairer sex’ does not apply to Belle Gunness. She had a heart as black as night and took what she wanted.

I am a fan of the true crime genre, yet until reading this book, I was unaware of the existence of this serial killer. Author Camilla Bruce grew up hearing the story. I am glad that she chose to bring Belle’s story to the attention of readers everywhere.

I enjoyed this book and at a length of 480 pages, readers get their money’s worth. This is well worth buying and would be a fabulous selection for your local book club. There is much to discuss and debate.

I rate IN THE GARDEN OF SPITE as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and highly recommend purchasing a copy or two.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Camilla Bruce is a Norwegian writer of dark speculative and historical fiction.

Her debut novel, You Let Me In, is out now from Bantam Press (UK) and Tor (US).

Her dark historical, In the Garden of Spite, will be published by Berkley (US) and Michael Joseph (UK) in January 2021.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://camillabruce.com

GOODREADS   

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AUDIBLE  

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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To learn more about real-life serial killer visit the following links:

BIOGRAPHY.COM

MURDERPEDIA


Belle Gunness lured lonely men to her murder farm
Female serial killer Belle Gunness placed newspaper ads in Midwestern newspapers seeking male suitors.

Some say there were as many as 40 victims of her crimes.

https://uw-media.barnstablepatriot.com/embed/video/81108372?placement=snow-embed

TURNING POINT by Jeffrey Deaver releases one week from today. Find out more here.

Title: TURNING POINT

Author:  JEFFREY DEAVER 

Genre: FICTION, THRILLER

Length: 66 PAGES

Publisher: AMAZON ORIGINAL STORIES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 19, 2021

ISBN: 9781542021739

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

International bestselling author Jeffery Deaver delivers surprise after alarming surprise in an ingenious story about a serial killer, a detective, and a twisting duel of wits.

A serial killer is trolling a midwestern suburb. His tools: a hammer, a screwdriver, floral wire, a kitchen knife and, to complete his errand, a Russian nesting doll left behind as a calling card. From one grisly crime scene to the next, Detective Ernest Neville and his Russian Doll Killer task force follow. With few leads and his career on the line, Neville is driven to desperate measures to get to the core of this diabolical puzzle. Layer by layer, he’s getting closer to the final piece. Yet the only thing that’s certain in this game is the unexpected, and as citizens are targeted by one of the most reprehensible characters the idyllic town has ever seen, Neville can only wonder if his efforts will end in disaster—for himself, for his family and for the people he’s sworn to protect.

MY REVIEW:

RDK – The Russian Doll Killer has struck for the fourth time. It’s confirmed, a serial killer is loose on the streets of Handleman County for their first ever. With this latest murder occurring only two weeks after the last one, it is clear that the killer is escalating.

RDK received his moniker based on the fact that a set of Russian Nesting Dolls were found at the scene of each of the murders.

Hunting RDK is Detective Ernest Neville who is determined to catch the killer and put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

When RDK strikes a little too close to home, Neville takes it personally. This solidifies the detective’s determination to stop the killer once and for all. But, just who will outsmart who is anything but a foregone conclusion.

I loved the scene at the beginning of the book where reporters are asking the detective questions. When one reporter asks if the police had considered the possibility of the killer being Russian because of the dolls he leaves behind. This is the Detective’s response to the question: “He ignored that , though the answer, had it been given by his six-year-old daughter, would be: ‘Duh.'”

Although this is a work of short fiction, it is action packed and contains it a twist that readers will not see coming.

TURNING POINT is fast paced and due to it’s length, can be read in a single weekend. I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A former journalist, folksinger and attorney, Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author.

His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, the Times of London, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Los Angeles Times.

His books are sold in 150 countries and have been translated into over twenty-five languages. He has sold 50 million books worldwide.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

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To learn more about these fascinating dolls, go to:
https://nestingdolls.co/blogs/posts/meaning-symbolism-nesting-dolls

Check out beautiful Mi’Kmaw art in this stunning board book. Coming Soon to a bookstore near you…

Title: MI’KMAW DAILY DRUM

Subtitle: MI’KMAW CULTURE FOR EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK

Author/Artist: ALAN SYLIBOY

Genre: CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION, BOARD BOOK, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, MULTICULTURAL, CANADIAN NON-FICTION

Ages: 0 – 3 years

Length: 12 PAGES

Publisher: NIMBUS PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 30, 2021

ISBN: 9781771088893

Price: $12.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦

DESCRIPTION:

In the style of the wildly popular Mi’kmaw Animals baby board book, shortlisted for the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration, comes Mi’kmaw Daily Drum.

From celebrated artist Alan Syliboy, this vital book for the youngest readers showcases seven of Syliboy’s popular Daily Drum artworks, each paired with a different day of the week.

From Spirit Woman to Caribou to Round Dance, Mi’kmaw culture and teachings are offered up to newborns and toddlers in a vibrant and accessible book.

MY REVIEW:

This is a 7 inch square board book aimed at babies and toddlers. However, with the exquisite artwork and the phonetic spelling of the Mi’Kmaw words, this is a fabulous introduction to Indigenous culture for people of any age.

ALAN SYLIBOY is a well-known Mi’Kmaw artist and musician as well as being an author. His artwork is utterly beautiful and his love for his heritage and culture shines through everything he creates.

It is that love and beauty that will draw both parents and their children to this stunning work of art.

Including this book in home libraries is a terrific way to start children along the path to reconciliation at a very young age.

I rate this book as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alan Syliboy is an established Mi’kmaq artist. His work is influenced by the indigenous Mi’kmaq rock drawing and quill weaving traditions.

Working in acrylic and mixed media, Alan creates vibrantly coloured images exploring the themes of family, searching, spirituality, struggle, and strength.

The use of layering symbols and mark making creates depth and texture in Alan’s work.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://alansyliboy.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

THE ARTIST’S GALLERY:

Click on the links below to view some galleries of Alan’s work:

Drum Series

People of the Dawn

Petroglyph Humans

Abstract

Ingrid Mueller Gallery

Available Work

https://publish.twitter.com/AlanSyliboy

THE SAVAGE INSTINCT by M.M. DeLUCA is Historical Fiction at it’s Best. See why here…

Title: THE SAVAGE INSTINCT  

Author: MARJORIE DeLUCA

Genre: FICTIONAL, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, CANADIAN AUTHOR

Length: 300 PAGES

Publisher: INKSHARES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 16, 2021

ISBN: 9781947848672

Price: $18.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Learn more about Mary Ann Cotton on the Murderpedia site.

DESCRIPTION:

In the lineage of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, The Savage Instinct is the chilling story of one woman’s struggle for her sanity, set against the backdrop of the arrest and trial of Mary Ann Cotton, England’s first female serial killer.

England, 1873.

Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never—ever—return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton—England’s first female serial killer—accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.

Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor—and perhaps accomplice—in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.

MY REVIEW:

“I became acquainted with madness at the age of twenty-six. During that same year, I met the accused murderer Mary Ann Cotton and learned that the evil ones amongst us are not confined to the filthy alleyways of the poor. They mingle freely in the polished parlours of the middle classes and the gilded ballrooms of the wealthy.”

If that first paragraph did not grab your attention, well, maybe you are just a bit mad yourself. 

Set in England in the year 1873, readers learn that Clara Blackstone has spent the past year in one of the many insane asylums that operated in England during those years.

My baby was limp. I’d strained to pull myself up from the fog of ether to hear its cry above the doctor’s mumbling. Silence… They told me it was a stillbirth, but I barely heard them beneath the sound of my own screams.”

Clara’s mental illness? Well, today we know it as postpartum depression exacerbated by the fact that her baby was stillborn, but in 1873, she was simply labeled as “insane.” 

During her year of torturous treatment in the asylum, her husband moved them from London to the city of Durham. It was on her way from the asylum to their new home that their carriage was caught up in a crowd.

The crowd was trying to lay eyes on a woman being led from the courthouse to her transport to the jail. A chant arose:

Mary Ann Cotton, Mary Ann Cotton.
The rope will break yer neck.
And yer’ll be dead and buried and   rotten.”

Clara and her husband eventually arrive at their new home and Clara vows to herself that she will never do anything that could result in her being returned to the hell of the asylum.

That day should have been the start of a new life for Clara, but as readers learn, there are things about her husband that arouse Clara’s suspicions.

When Clara begins doing charity work at the woman’s prison, she is set on a trajectory she could never have seen coming. Readers will not want to put this book down and will find themselves rooting for Clara and possibly even beginning to view multiple murderess Mary Ann Cotton with a dose of sympathy and maybe even a hint of respect.

Along with this wonderful work of historical fiction is a look at the barbaric treatment of “patients” in asylums during that period in history. The author has clearly done her research and exposes many of the horrific “treatments” women were forced to endure. She also includes the fact that many women were shipped off to insane asylums based solely on the testimony of their husbands. So, if a man wanted to take up with a younger woman, all he had to do was say that his wife was hysterical and off the wife went to a life filled with torture and despair. Unfortunately, it is now well known that this happened far too frequently. 

THE SAVAGE INSTINCT is a superb work of historical fiction intertwined with historic facts. Author, Marjorie DeLuca seamlessly weaves her story around the enigmatic figure of the all too real, female serial killer Mary Ann Cotton. I thoroughly enjoyed her take on this historic figure.

Also, the story’s protagonist is 100% believable. Clara Blackstone could easily have been a real person. Her imprisonment in two separate insane asylums proved lifealtering (and not in a positive way.) How her husband treats her once she is released shows the attitudes of the time. Mental illness was seen as a personal failing and not an “illness” at all. Unfortunately, many people still view mental health issues that way today.

At a couple places in the story, I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen next. Both times I discovered (to my delight) that I was wrong. I love it when a plot does not become predictable.

I rate THE SAVAGE INSTINCT as a solid 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be keeping an eye on this author’s future endeavors.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of #TheSavageInstinct ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marjorie DeLuca spent her childhood in the ancient cathedral city of Durham in North-Eastern England.

She attended the University of London, became a teacher, and then immigrated to Canada where she lives with her husband, two children and a crazy dog named Bella. There she also studied writing under her mentor, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Carol Shields.

Though she loves writing sci-fi for teens, she’s also just completed two historical novels due out in the next few months.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

BLOG

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Recently called “the future of publishing” by The Wall Street Journal, Inkshares is a book publisher that uses a crowdfunding model instead of agents and acquisitions editors to decide what to publish.

Their community of readers can pre-order a book project on Inkshares.com, and if the project hits its funding limit, Inkshares brings the book to life by providing editorial services, design, production, national distribution, and marketing.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.inkshares.com

GOODREADS

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

TUMBLR

INSTAGRAM

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MORE BOOKS BY M.M. DeLUCA:

MARY ANN COTTON
Another newspaper photo of Serial Poisoner Mary Ann Cotton