THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE by KRISTIN HARMEL is Historic Fiction at it’s very Best

Title: THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE

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Author: KRISTIN HARMEL
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Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

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Length: 400 PAGES

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Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER
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Received From: SIMON AND SCHUSTER

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Release Date: AUGUST 13, 2019

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ISBN: 978-1-9821-1229-5

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Price: $28.00 USD / $37.00 CDN

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

At the dawn of the Second World War, Inès is the young wife of Michel, owner of the House of Chauveau, a small champagne winery nestled among rolling vineyards near Reims, France. Marrying into a storied champagne empire was supposed to be a dream come true, but Inès feels increasingly isolated, purposely left out of the business by her husband; his chef de cave, Theo; and Theo’s wife, Sarah.

But these disappointments pale in comparison to the increasing danger from German forces pouring across the border. At first, it’s merely the Nazi weinführer coming to demand the choicest champagne for Hitler’s cronies, but soon, there are rumors of Jewish townspeople being rounded up and sent east to an unspeakable fate. The war is on their doorstep, and no one in Inès’s life is safe—least of all Sarah, whose father is Jewish, or Michel, who has recklessly begun hiding munitions for the Résistance in the champagne caves. Inès realizes she has to do something to help.

Sarah feels as lost as Inès does, but she doesn’t have much else in common with Michel’s young wife. Inès seems to have it made, not least of all because as a Catholic, she’s “safe.” Sarah, on the other hand, is terrified about the fate of her parents—and about her own future as the Germans begin to rid the Champagne region of Jews. When Sarah makes a dangerous decision to follow her heart in a desperate bid to find some meaning in the ruin, it endangers the lives of all those she cares about—and the champagne house they’ve all worked so hard to save.

In the present, Liv Kent has just lost her job—and her marriage. Her wealthy but aloof Grandma Edith, sensing that Liv needs a change of scenery before she hits rock bottom, insists that Liv accompany her on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and some difficult but important information to share with her granddaughter. As Liv begins to uncover long-buried family secrets, she finds herself slowly coming back to life. When past and present intertwine at last, she may finally find a way forward, along a difficult road that leads straight to the winding caves beneath the House of Chauveau.

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MY REVIEW:

THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE is a work of historical fiction. Set in Italy during World War II, the author has done extensive research into the history of World War II in the wine and champagne making regions.

Until receiving an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book, I had never thought about how WWII impacted the winemaking economies and how the greedy German army looted and pillaged from the great winemaking houses.

Although this book is fictitious, the historic facts are highly researched and based on true historic data.

The characters are relatable and the fear they experience in the story equals that of what was faced by those who lived through those terrible and terrifying years of war and deprivation.

This book is both a dramatic tale of life during war as well as a beautiful love story. There is romance, drama, action and adventure. In fact, there is something for every reader to enjoy while reading this tale.

For anyone who enjoys historic fiction, this book will be a welcome addition to their collection.

The story follows two timelines; one in the past and one in the present and how the lives of those in each timeline are inextricably linked together.

This is a fascinating read with in depth looks at how the past has influenced the present and how events and decisions made by one’s ancestors can (and does) have far-reaching consequences.

I rate THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photograph by Phil Art Studio,
Reims, France

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie and The Sweetness of Forgetting, and several other novels.

Her work has been featured in People, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets.

She lives in Orlando, Florida.

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

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TALES FROM BEHIND THE WINDOW by Author/Artist EDANUR KUNTMAN is a feast for the eyes and the Soul – AVAILABLE NOW!!!

Title: TALES FROM BEHIND THE WINDOW

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Author/Illustrator: EDANUR KUNTMAN
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Genre: BASED ON A TRUE STORY, GRAPHIC NOVEL, FICTION, WOMEN’S ISSUES, HISTORY

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Length: 168 PAGES

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Publisher: EUROPE COMICS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: AUGUST 14, 2019

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ISBN: 9791032809136

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Price: $10.99 USD (eBook)

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Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Tales from behind the Window” is based on memories of an Anatolian grandmother and women she knew who suffered from male dominance over their lives. Writer and illustrator Edanur Kuntman seeks a unique way to express and give voice to women in her grandmother’s memories and in our reality who were not able to reconcile their inner emotional depth with their rural worlds in Northern Turkey. One long and two short stories included in this book revolve around terrifying emotional burdens such as forced marriages, being betrayed by patriarchs, and lost love, which have haunted and still haunt many in rural Anatolia.

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MY REVIEW:

This graphic novel tells the true stories of three women from the author’s family. Although this book is categorized as fiction, it is based on interviews have the author’s grandmother.

This type of book is important because if we remember the past and the many injustices faced by women, we give them a voice. Those voices remind us of how far society has come and how far we still have to go.

Using the medium of a graphic novel, the author is able to convey emotions much more powerfully than if she had only described them in words.

The use of darker colors and austere illustrations, readers easily see the difference between the vibrant colors of the female illustrations and the grim male based illustrations. This is brilliantly rendered.

I rate TALES FROM BEHIND THE WINDOW as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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***** THE AUTHOR ALSO CREATED an Animated TV Spot created for Down Turkey together with Koff Animation. The goal was to remind people that Down Syndrome is not a disease and people diagnosed with Down Syndrome are capable of working just like the rest of the society. In this project she worked as a character artist and animator.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Edanur Kuntman is an up-and-coming Turkish artist who has been working in animation, illustration, and game design, as well as taking on publishing projects, and has a degree in political science.

She is currently based in Brooklyn, New York, as a visual and game designer.

She is the author of the graphic novel Tales From Behind The Window (Akan Ajans/Marmara Cizgi; Europe Comics in English).

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

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LINKEDIN
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BĒHANCE
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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Europe Comics is a joint digital initiative run by 13 European comics industry players from 8 European countries. Its main purpose is the creation of a pan-European catalog of award-winning graphic novels from across the continent, published digitally in English and available through major retailers and library networks. Europe Comics also works towards the promotion of European authors and the creation of a European comics online directory, meant for both comics readers and professionals.

To find out more about Europe Comics, Visit the following links:

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More Illustrations By The Super-Talented Edanur Kuntman

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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OVERDRAWN by N.J. CROSSKEY is an exceptional work of Dystopian fiction that was released September 1st

Title: OVERDRAWN: Hard-hitting and heartfelt dystopian fiction

Author: N.J. CROSSKEY

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, DYSTOPIAN FICTION

Length: 288 PAGES

Publisher: LEGEND PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 1, 2019

ISBN: 9781789550214

Cover Design By: KARI BROWNLIE

Price: £4.99 (GBP)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Henry Morris is watching his wife slip away from him. In an ageist society, where euthanasia is encouraged as a patriotic act, dementia is no longer tolerated.

Kaitlyn, a young waitress, is desperate for the funds to keep her brother’s life support machine switched on.

When a chance encounter brings the two together, they embark on an unconventional business arrangement that will force them to confront their prejudices, as well as their deepest, darkest secrets.
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MY REVIEW:

Perhaps it is because I have a hidden disability or perhaps it is because I am 46 years old and looking forward to retirement within the next ten years, or, maybe it is just because I was raised with morals, but, the idea of an Ableist and/or Ageist society makes me sick to my stomach. Maybe it is because I see certain countries as already heading in this direction. Maybe my disgust with ableism is because I am #Canadian and have always been a firm believer that access to healthcare is a right that everyone should have. Access to quality healthcare should never be denied to anyone no matter their race, religion, age, color, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, gender, disabilities or for any other reason.

In OVERDRAWN, author N.J. Crosskey has created a dystopian society with ageism at its core. “… they’d been bombarded with it, for years. The need to do one’s duty. It was the responsibility of all patriotic citizens to think always of the future generations before themselves. It was good and noble, to end one’s life rather than take up more than your rightful share of the world’s resources. To make sure you played your part in a fairer, more sustainable, future.”

The author uses fiction to highlight some of what is wrong with today’s society. In humanity’s past, elders were revered for their wisdom and knowledge. Today’s society no longer thinks that way. Warehousing our senior citizens in old age homes and ignoring them has become commonplace. I see this as a huge problem and author N.J. Crosskey seems to agree with me.

“How many lies were out there, masquerading as the truth?”

OVERDRAWN is an eye-opening look at one possible future and should scare the heck out of everyone who reads it for the simple fact that it is so plausible.

With characters of depth and of varying ages and viewpoints, author NJ Crosskey has created a wonderful work of dystopian fiction that should be on the top of everyone’s reading list for September 2019. Not only is her world-building truly exceptional, her characters relatable, and the plot fast-paced, but this book is detailed enough to provide everything a truly discerning reader could hope for.

I rate OVERDRAWN as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who reads this review. Who knows – It just may change your world view.

QUOTES:

“Typical, the one person who seemed to understand her decision … was senile. What did that say about her own mental capacity?”

“The wooden cabin-style houses each had their own small square of grass, outside their front doors. Many had dug out most of it, choosing to grow vegetables instead of wasting their coveted outdoor land on pointless, inedible lawns. Their small but precious crops were protected by boxes made of razor wire.”

“What if they’d all been sold a lie?”

“Our lives are short, but our legacies long. Live responsibly, always with the future in mind.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

N.J. Crosskey is the author of Poster Boy (April 2019) and Overdrawn (September 2019).

A mother of two crazy children, N.J has worked in the care sector for almost twenty years and is now fulfilling her life-long dream of becoming a novelist.

Both titles were published in 2019 by Legend Press.

N. J. Crosskey is represented by Emily Sweet Associates

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

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#OverdrawnHardhittingPortraitOfAnAbleistDystopia #NetGalley #Reviewathon #Overdrawn #dystopia #dystopian #dystopianfiction #ableist #ableism #disabilities #disability #disabled #discrimination #couldcometrue #dementia #oldage
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THE MISSING ONES by Edwin Hill is a 5 Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Thriller where fact and fiction collide

Title: THE MISSING ONES
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Series: HESTER THURSBY MYSTERIES: BOOK TWO

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Author: EDWIN HILL
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Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

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Length: 304 PAGES

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Publisher: KENSINGTON BOOKS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: AUGUST 27, 2019

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ISBN: 9781496719331

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Price: $26.00 USD (HARDCOVER)

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Hester Thursby has given up using her research skills to trace people who don’t want to be found. A traumatic case a few months ago unearthed a string of violent crimes, and left Hester riddled with self-doubt and guilt.

Caring for a four-year-old is responsibility enough in a world filled with terrors Hester never could have imagined before.

Finisterre Island, off the coast of Maine, is ruggedly beautiful and remote—the kind of place tourists love to visit, though rarely for long. But not everyone who comes to the island is welcome. A dilapidated Victorian house has become home to a group of squatters and junkies, and strangers have a habit of bringing trouble with them. A young boy disappeared during the summer, and though he was found safely, the incident stirred suspicion among locals. Now another child is missing. Summoned to the island by a cryptic text, Hester discovers a community cleaning up from a devastating storm—and uncovers a murder.

Soon Hester begins to connect the crime and the missing children. And as she untangles the secrets at the center of the small community, she finds grudges and loyalties that run deep, poised to converge with a force that will once again shake her convictions about the very nature of right and wrong . . .

MY REVIEW:

Although this is the second book in the Hester Thursby Series and I haven’t read the first book, it did not hinder my enjoyment of this book in the slightest. In fact, THE MISSING ONES works well as a standalone novel.

Hester Thursby is not your typical heroine. She is neurotic, she is hugely overprotective of her four year old niece, Kate, who has been left in her care. In fact, even though she has a valid reason for being overprotective, it is still over-the-top. In summary, she is a realistic character. She isn’t perfect, not by a long shot, and that is why I like her.

This story is a timely one in that it addresses the Opiod Crisis that has infiltrated every aspect of life in North America. It showcases the fact that addiction crosses all socioeconomic boundaries and can (and does) happen to even the most law-abiding families.

There are multiple twists to this story and as soon as you think you know who the perpetrator is, you discover a new fact that makes you doubt your theory.

I rate THE MISSING ONES as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

(c) Thomas Bollinger

Edwin Hill is the author of the critically-acclaimed Hester Thursby mystery series.

His first novel, LITTLE COMFORT, was nominated for an Agatha Award for best debut.

The second in the series, THE MISSING ONES, will be available in September. He lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts with his partner Michael and his favorite reviewer, their lab Edith Ann, who likes his first drafts enough to eat them.

To hear an Interview with Edwin Hill on the WRITER’S BONE PODCAST click HERE.

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#Reviewathon

THE SHAMER’S DAUGHTER is the first book in the worldwide phenomenon that is The Shamer Chronicles and it is being released soon – this is a series that YOU CANNOT MISS.

Title: THE SHAMER’S DAUGHTER

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Series: THE SHAMER CHRONICLES – BOOK ONE

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Author: LEME KAABERBØL

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Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY

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Length: 240 PAGES

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Publisher: PUSHKIN CHILDREN’S PRESS

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Received From: NETGALLEY

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Release Date: SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

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ISBN: 978-1-78269-225-6

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

The first step into the thrilling middlegrade fantasy world of The Shamer Chronicles

Dina has unwillingly inherited her mother’s gift: the ability to elicit shamed confessions simply by looking into someone’s eyes. To Dina, however, these powers are not a gift but a curse. Surrounded by fear and hostility, she longs for simple friendship.

But when her mother is called to Dunark Castle to uncover the truth about a bloody triple murder, Dina must come to terms with her power – or let her mother fall prey to the vicious and revolting dragons of Dunark.

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MY REVIEW:

“Birches is not a big Town, but we do have a smithy, an inn, and the mill … not to mention eleven different houses and farms of varying sizes… In almost all the houses were families, and almost all of the families had children, some as many as eight or ten. You would think, with so many to choose from, that it would be possible for me to find a friend or two, or at least some playmates. But no. Not me. Not the Shamer’s daughter. Two years ago I could still sometimes play with Sasia from the inn. But then it became more and more difficult for her to look me in the eyes, and after that, things became kind of difficult. Now she avoided me completely, just like everyone else.”

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Dina wants to be like everyone else. However, try as she might, it is impossible for people to treat her normally. She has Shamer’s Eyes.

Dina’s mother is a Shamer and Dina is already showing traits of the Shamer she will become.

” I knew that it would be so much easier for them if I simply stayed away. But I hadn’t asked for the damned Shamer’s eyes; I couldn’t help being my mother’s daughter… Didn’t I have a right to be here? Someone to talk to, someone to be with…”

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Author Lene Kaaberbøl has created a brand new world peopled with both good and evil characters and has brought to life the idea of a Shamer – a person who can read your mind and detect any and all actions you are ashamed of. That power brings people face to face with the shame they feel and can (and often does) bring grown men to their knees. A Shamer can also tell truth from lies and her services are often called upon to determine a person’s guilt or innocence in criminal matters.

That talent and the repercussions of seeing inside someone’s heart and mind are what gets Dina and her mother involved in matters of which they would rather have stayed out of.

The concept of a Shamer is unique and after reading THE SHAMER’S DAUGHTER, I completely understand why this book series has garnered Lene Kaaberbøl fans around the world, of which I now count myself among their number.

The target audience for this book series is middle grade to young adults, but I am forty six years old and I enjoyed reading this tale immensely, and as such, I am labelling THE SHAMER’S DAUGHTER as good for all ages.

With characters readers will be invested in and a fast paced plot full of continuous action and the entire tale being essentially a story of good versus evil, 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:

An award-winning and highly acclaimed writer of Fantasy, Lene Kaaberbøl was born in 1960, grew up in the Danish countryside and had her first book published at the age of 15. Since then she has written more than 30 books for children and young adults.

Lene’s huge Internationally breakthrough came with ‘The Shamer Chronicles,’ which have been published in more than 25 countries selling over a million copies worldwide.

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SPOKEN by Melanie Weiss (Free on Kindle Unlimited) BOOK BLITZ and GIVEAWAY TO WIN SIGNED PAPERBACKS

SPOKEN

by Melanie Weiss

Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Genres: Adult, Young Adult, Coming of Age

AVAILABLE NOW! (#Free with #KindleUnlimited)

SYNOPSIS

High school freshman Roman Santi has everything — good looks, great friends, a mansion with an infinity swimming pool — except the one thing he really wants. A relationship with his father.

When Roman’s life gets turned upside down, (thanks, Mom!?), he is forced to leave his pampered Hollywood lifestyle and move into his grandparents’ Midwestern home. Sleeping on a lumpy pullout sofa and starting at a new high school is the worst, but Roman’s life starts to look up when his pink-haired friend, Zuzu, and his crush, a classmate named Claire, introduce him to performance poetry through the high school’s Spoken Word Club. While his mom is flying back and forth to L.A., trying to return them to the life they had, Roman becomes part of a diverse group of characters who challenge his rather privileged view of the world. Through Spoken Word, Roman recognizes the hole in his own life he needs to fill and discovers his voice. Spoken Word leads Roman on a journey of new friendships, first love, and finding the dad he never knew.

“Spoken” is an uplifting, funny, and heartfelt coming-of-age story that captures how the honesty of performance poetry binds together students from all different walks of life and forever changes Roman’s life.

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ABOUT MELANIE WEISS

Melanie Weiss is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and worked as a journalist for newspapers and magazines for 20 years. She began writing her novel, Spoken, shortly after her younger child left for college in 2015 and she became an “empty nester.” She currently manages a scholarship foundation at her local high school that provides scholarship support to more than 60 graduating high school seniors each year. Spoken is her first novel but it won’t be her last.To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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

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

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Length: 232 PAGES

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

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ISBN: 9781459744226

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Price: $19.99 USD

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Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

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

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

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

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MY REVIEW:

*** WARNING – TRIGGER WARNING***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about Joanne Vannicola visit the following links:

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

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TWITTER
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DUNDURN PRESS TWITTER

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IMDb

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

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SIGN UP FOR FREE TO ATTEND HER OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH HERE

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