OCME – Life in America’s Top Forensic Medical Center by BRUCE GOLDFARB is Exquisitely readable and surprisingly relatable

Title: OCME 

Subtitle: Life in America’s Top Forensic Medical Center 

Author: BRUCE GOLDFARB 

Release Date: FEBRUARY 21, 2023

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, FORENSICS

Number Of Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: STEERFORTH PRESS 

Received From: NETGALLEY & EDELWEISS 

ISBN: 9781586423582 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Go behind the scenes inside the nation’s preeminent Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where good people fight the good fight amid the tragedies and absurdities of our age.

Perfect for fans of Michael Lewis and David Simon (Homicide, The Corner, The Wire, We Own This City)

Real life is different from what gets depicted on procedural crime dramas. 

Equipped with a journalist’s eye, a paramedic’s experience and a sardonic wit, Bruce Goldfarb spent ten years with Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where every sudden or unattended death in the state is scrutinized.

Touching on numerous scandals, including Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd and the tragic killing in police custody of Freddie Gray, Goldfarb pulls back the curtain on a pioneer institution in crisis.

Medical examiners and the investigators and technicians who support them play vital roles in the justice and public health systems of every American community. During Goldfarb’s time with the Maryland OCME, opioid-related deaths contributed to a significant increase in their workload. Faced with a chronic shortage of qualified experts and inadequate funding, their important and fascinating work has become more challenging than most people could ever imagine.

The public gets a skewed view of the relationship between police and medical examiners from procedural crime dramas, Bruce Goldfarb writes of his work inside one of America’s most storied forensic centers. We aren’t on the same team . . . We aren’t on any team. The medical examiner’s sole duty is to the deceased person. We speak for the dead.

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MY REVIEW

Exquisitely readable and surprisingly relatable, OCME Life in America’s Top Forensic Medical Center is a book I read in a single sitting. Despite needing sleep, I was unable to put this book down.

Author Bruce Goldfarb brings readers along with him for a detailed look at what life is really like in the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Think this book would be too macabre to read? You would be massively wrong. OCME does NOT rely on the glorification of blood and guts to sell books. It is so interesting that it simply doesn’t need to.

Full of eye-opening facts and fascinating details, OCME will open the eyes of its readers to the ridiculousness of red tape in any and every bureaucracy; even the bureaucracy of death itself.

Although this might not have been the author’s goal, he has nevertheless succeeded in bringing to light the horrific statistics surrounding many of the most concerning ways in which people have died over the past decade. Granted, the statistics used in this book only represent the state of Maryland, however, these are the same issues faced by most other states and cities in North America. For example, the author highlights the alarming number of people who have died due to the Opiod Epidemic. 

This book will open people’s eyes to the importance of having skilled and highly trained medical examiners. The result of this will hopefully be that both taxpayers and politicians will allocate more money in their budgets to the OCME in their respective jurisdictions.

Some of the most shocking, and frankly disturbing, information contained within the pages of this book are the following facts:

[  ]  “About half of the US population is under the jurisdiction of coroners and lacks access to qualified forensic pathologists…”

[  ] “In states including Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, New York, Idaho, Georgia, Colorado, and Nevada, elected coroners aren’t required to have ANY medical or legal training before they can certify the cause and manner of death.”

[  ] In Missouri, to serve as a coroner, the requirements are minimal. You only have to be 21 or older, and have to get more votes than anyone else. There is absolutely NO MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY. That is ridiculous. “If a person is elected coroner, they can crack open a beer and start signing death certificates.”

I rate OCME as 5 out of 5 Stars
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I recommend this book not only to fans of True Crime, but also to everyone who wants to be more informed about Public Health, Politics, and/or general nonfiction enthusiasts.

Reading this book and spreading the word about it could be the difference between a murderer being caught or going free. It just might be the reason a killer is caught and the lives of future potential victims are saved.

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo by Jennifer Bishop

Bruce Goldfarb was the executive assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Maryland, US, where the ‘Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death’ are housed.

He was the public information officer for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and trained as a forensic investigator.

Bruce began his career as a paramedic before becoming an award-winning journalist reporting on medicine, science and health. Through his work with the Nutshell Studies, Bruce earned the trust of Frances Glessner Lee’s family and caretakers of her estate, and was designated Lee’s official biographer.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://brucegoldfarb.com 

GOODREADS 

FACEBOOK   

INSTAGRAM   

TWITTER   

AMAZON   

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Since 1994, Steerforth Press has sought to publish books that are written well, intended to engage the full attention of the reader, and have something new or important to say. Our active backlist features timeless works of fiction and poetry, but our current program focuses exclusively on works of narrative nonfiction.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
http://www.steerforth.com   

FACEBOOK 
https://www.facebook.com/steerforthpress 

TWITTER 
http://twitter.com/SteerforthPress   

INSTAGRAM 
https://www.instagram.com/steerforthpress 

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https://www.c-span.org/video/?508985-2/nutshell-studies-unexplained-death

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JOKES TO OFFEND MEN – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW – Irreverent, Biting, Sarcastic, and Witty – I loved this audiobook

Title: JOKES TO OFFEND MEN

Authors: ALLISON KELLEY, DANIELLE KRAESE, KATE HERZLIN and YSABEL YATES

Illustrator: MILLIE von PLATEN

Release Date: OCTOBER 25, 2022

Genre: HUMOR, FEMINISM

Publisher: ANDREWS McMEEL AUDIO

Received From: NETGALLEY

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A modern, feminist take on the classic joke book to amuse and empower readers who are tired of being the punchline.

A man walks into a bar. It’s a low one, so he gets a promotion within his first six months on the job.

Four comedy writers transform classic joke setups into sharp commentary about the everyday and structural sexism that pervades all facets of life. 

Jokes to Offend Men arms readers with humorous quips to shut down workplace underminers, condescending uncles, and dismissive doctors, or to share with their exhausted friends at the end of a long day.

A cutting, cathartic spin on the old-fashioned joke book, Jokes to Offend Men is a refreshing reclamation of a tired form for anyone who’s ever been told to “lighten up, it’s just a joke!”

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MY REVIEW:

The four women who created this book, “… wrote this book because [they] were tired of watching countless men excuse their bad behavior by insisting that the real problem is [women’s] stunning inability to ‘take a joke’.”

As someone who has spent the last 25 years working in an automotive factory building cars, I have heard hundreds, if not thousands, of sexist jokes that the men I work with (and my area is almost exclusively men) seem to think are hilarious. It is for that reason I requested an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this audiobook.

The authors grew up in the same era that I did. During that time, the comedy circuit was mostly men and many of the jokes they told relied on “… making people with less power the butt of the joke.”

In the introduction, the comedians state that:

“We believe that comedy should empower rather than cause harm. And that there’s still a lot of ground to cover when it comes to why that chicken crossed the road.”

The book is divided into eleven sections with awesome titles. They are: 

1. Jokes to Offend Men at Work Who Don’t Actually Do Their Own Work

2. Jokes To Offend Men Who Won’t Contribute to Housework Because You’re ‘Sooo Much Better at It’

3. Jokes To Offend Men You’re Expected to Spend the Holidays With, Unfortunately:

4. Jokes To Offend Men Who Are Currently Explaining Quentin Tarantino to You

5. Jokes To Offend Men Who Disrespect Mother Nature 

6. Jokes To Offend Men You Definitely Didn’t Vote For 

7. Jokes To Offend Men Who Think the #MeToo Movement Has Gone Too Far 

8. Jokes To Offend Men Who Have A Medical Degree in Dismissing Your Pain 

9. Jokes To Offend Men Whose Grandfather Founded This School 

10. Jokes To Offend Men Who Refuse to Believe You’re Not Interested in The

11. Jokes To Offend Even More Men: You can keep these in your back pocket (unless it’s purely decorative).

I am in love with this book.

Snarky.

Sarcastic.

Irreverent

You could even say Bitchy, and I’m sure many men will say exactly that.

As far as I am concerned, this joke book is SHEER PERFECTION.

Every woman needs to either read this book, or listen to the audiobook. I am sure readers will be able to recognize some of the men they have had to deal with over the years. I know I definitely did.

I cannot recommend JOKES TO OFFEND MEN any higher than the highest available option.

I literally laughed out loud many times while listening to this audiobook, and I am sure you will too.

I rate this audiobook as 10 out of 10 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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

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About the Authors:

Allison Kelley is a Brooklyn-based humor writer and essayist with work featured in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Slate, McSweeney’s and more. Since childhood, she’s been using comedy to cope with the terror and wonder of being a woman in the world. An alleged grown-up, Allison writes frequently on the topics of ‘90s pop culture, teen angst and growing up in the suburbs.

Danielle Kraese is a writer, editor, and occasional performer based in the spidery suburbs of New York. Her humor writing has been published by The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Reductress, The Belladonna Comedy, and more. She’s an editor at BDG, where she writes and edits affiliate content across sites like Bustle, Elite Daily, Romper, Mic, and Inverse (she can tell you everything you never wanted to know about socks, sheets, and meat thermometers). 

Kate Herzlin is a New York-based screenwriter, playwright, and humor writer who overuses the rule of three. Her humor writing has been featured in McSweeney’s, Points in Case, The Belladonna Comedy, and more. Kate is a writer for the BoogieManja Sketch Comedy team, Evil Twin—though she promises she isn’t one. As a childhood cancer survivor, she learned to use comedy to cope; now that she’s all grown up, she hopes her jokes might help other people do the same.

Ysabel Yates is a comedy writer and freelance copywriter in New York City. You can find her work in publications including the New Yorker, the New York Times, McSweeney’s, and Reductress. 

JUST RELEASED – A Children’s Book called FINDING FREEDOM – A Ukrainian Tale of Home – Gorgeously illustrated with bucolic scenes of life in the Ukrainian countryside – A MUST BUY

Title: FINDING FREEDOM  

Subtitle: A Ukrainian Tale of Home 

Author: MARYNA KARIUK  

Illustrator: KSENIA MARKEVYCH  

Release Date: DECEMBER 1, 2022

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, UKRAINE, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST

Number Of Pages: 34 Pages

Publisher: KOHANA BOOKS 

Received From: NETGALLEY  

ISBN: 979-8-987015612 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Close your eyes, feel the breeze, and follow a young girl as she searches for Freedom through the beautiful landscapes and folklore of her native Ukraine.

Inspired by the resilience of the Ukrainian people to fight back against the invasion of their country, debut author and Ukrainian emigrant Maryna Kariuk brings lyrical rhymes to a powerful message that will kindle any heart.

Immerse yourself in charming illustrations by Ukrainian artist Ksenia Markevych and soar above the roaring rivers, feel the magic of the summer solstice and marvel at the boundless lands and at the spirit of those who call them home.

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MY REVIEW

Debut author Maryna Kariuk may live in California now, but her heart has never left her homeland of Ukraine. Born and raised there, she has crafted a beautiful children’s book highlighting scenes of a Ukrainian childhood.

When Vladimir Putin decided to launch an unprovoked attack on Ukraine, he probably thought his troops would quickly prevail. He could not have been more wrong.

The illustrations in FINDING FREEDOM are simply divine. Ksenia Markevych is a freelance illustrator based in Ukraine and her talent is considerable. She has woven the colors of the Ukrainian flag throughout the book, and the people in the story wear gorgeous and authentic traditional clothing.

The story itself highlights the beauty of the Ukrainian countryside as well as pride in their homes, families, and their country.

I am rating this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️  and I believe it would be a wonderful Christmas gift. It would also be a great book to use to show children that people are similar no matter where they live.

*** Thank you to the author, illustrator, the publisher, and to NetGalley for providing me with a free advance review copy of this gorgeous children’s book. ***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maryna Kariuk is a debut author, born and raised in Ukraine.

The childhood memories of her motherland, especially summers spent in the countryside with her Babusia, have always inspired her to write.

She resides in California with her husband and two children.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

GOOGLE BOOKS 
https://books.google.com/books/about/Finding_Freedom.html?id=BbtizwEACAAJ

AMAZON 
https://www.amazon.com/Maryna-Kariuk/e/B0BNT6H6T5

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Ksenia Markevych is a freelance illustrator based in Ukraine.

She draws both digitally and using traditional media (watercolor, colored pencils, MixMedia, graphics).

She cooperates with publishing houses, independent authors and magazines. She also creates illustrations for calendars, games and postcards.

Ksenia’s inspiration often comes from the beauty of nature, traveling, people-watching, and constantly learning something new.

Through her illustrations, she conveys lightness and movement, which adds dynamism and an inner childlike freedom to each story.

To learn more about this illustrator visit the following links:

BEHANCE     

GOOGLE BOOKS  

ETSY 

PINTEREST    

SHUTTERSTOCK     

INSTAGRAM    

AMAZON    

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Illustrator KSENIA MARKEVYCH

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MORE ILLUSTRATIONS BY KSENIA MARKEVYCH:

FLOWERS OF FIRE: The Inside Story of South Korea’s Feminist Movement and What It Means for Women’s Rights Worldwide by HAWON JUNG is a book that needs to be read and discussed and passed on to every woman in every country in the world

Title: FLOWERS OF FIRE

Subtitle: THE INSIDE STORY OF SOUTH KOREA’S FEMINIST MOVEMENT AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR WOMEN’ S RIGHTS WORLDWIDE 

Author: HAWON JUNG  

Release Date: MARCH 7, 2023

Genre: NON-FICTION, WOMEN’S ISSUES, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST

Number Of Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: BEN BELLA BOOKS

Received From: EDELWEISS

ISBN: 978-1637742419 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

An eye-opening firsthand account of the ongoing and trailblazing feminist movement in South Korea—one that the world should be watching.

Since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, tens of thousands of women and girls in South Korea have taken to the street, and many more brave individuals took a stand, to end a decades-long abortion ban and bring down powerful sexual abusers—including a popular presidential contender. South Korean feminists know that the revolution has been a long time coming, between battles against its own deeply patriarchal society as well as combating stereotypes of docile Asian women in the Western imagination.

Now, author Hawon Jung will show the rest of the world that these women are no delicate flowers—they are trailblazing flames. 

Flowers of Fire takes the reader into the trenches of this fight for equality, following along as South Korean activists march on the streets, navigate public and private spaces full of spycams, and share tips and tricks with each other as they learn how to protect themselves from criminals and authorities alike.

Jung, the former Seoul correspondent for the AFP, draws on her on-the-ground reporting and interviews with many women who became activists and leaders, from the elite prosecutor who ignited the country’s #MeToo movement to the young women who led the war against non-consensual photography and revenge porn. Their stories, though long overlooked in the West, mirror realities that women across the world are all too familiar with: threats of defamation lawsuits to silence victims of assault, tech-based sexual abuse of women and girls, and criminal justice systems where victims’ voices are often met with suspicion and predators’ downfalls are met with sympathy. These are the issues at the heart of their #MeToo movement, and South Korean women have fought against them vigorously—and with extraordinary success. In Flowers of Fire, Jung illuminates the strength and tenacity of these women, too often sidelined in global conversations about feminism and gender equality.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/1b45c0e7-1f51-4e36-ac5b-03b9decf32af

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MY REVIEW:

When I think of South Korea, the farthest thing from my mind is women’s rights. Women are treated as delicate flowers.

Maya Angelou said:

The women written about in FLOWERS OF FIRE embody this quote.

Maya Angelou once said: “Develop enough courage to stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.” The women whose stories are highlighted in this book are the living embodiments of that famous quote.

I don’t think any of us who were born in Canada and who have grown up with the knowledge that we are valuable and that we can be, and do anything, could possibly understand the world of misogyny that is the norm in South Korea. Yes, the patriarchy exists in North America, but not to the extent that it exists in Asian countries.

When the #MeToo movement swept through the United States and Canada, women felt empowered to stand up for themselves and to say “NO MORE.” But, what about women in other countries? What about women who, because of government censorship, had no idea what was happening around the world?

Who was brave enough to stand up and to be the very first woman to tell her story? And, what would happen to her after she came forward? The fear would have been crippling. There was a very real chance that those women would be shunned, shamed, and would be branded as sluts and liars.

I am in awe of the women in this book. They are BRAVE … truly brave in a way that transcends time. Their stories are IMPORTANT.

FLOWERS OF FIRE – The Inside Story of South Korea’s Feminist Movement And What It Means For Women’s Rights Worldwide is not only an enthralling read, but also an extremely important one.

If you think of yourself as a feminist, or even if you don’t, if you care about human rights at all, then you simply MUST Read this book.

FLOWERS OF FIRE  is being released on March 7th, 2023 and can be pre-ordered now. I have a feeling that this book will sell out quickly, so I suggest that you preorder it to avoid being disappointed.

I would love to hear back from people after they read this book to discuss the details. I did not want to include any spoilers in my review, but I am dying to discuss it.

5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 
5 out of 5 Flames     

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

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More than 200 female protesters gather in central Seoul on Feb. 27, calling for women’s representation in South Korea’s presidential election.
(Min Joo Kim/The Washington Post)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hawon Jung is a journalist and former Seoul correspondent for the AFP news agency with more than a decade of experience writing about the two Koreas.

She covered the 2011 death of then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-un, the junior Kim’s first summit with Donald Trump, South Korea’s historic presidential impeachment, and K-pop’s rise on the world stage.

Her coverage of South Korea’s #MeToo movement was shortlisted in the 2019 Awards for Editorial Excellence by the Society of Publishers in Asia.

Born and raised in South Korea, she currently lives in Germany with family.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

GOODREADS

TWITTER    

INSTAGRAM  

LINKEDIN

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

THE NATION

AMAZON  

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Kim Ju-hee protests in August 2021 in front of the National Assembly in Seoul with a sign that reads “Democracy without woman is not a democracy.” ( Min Joo Kim/The Washington Post)

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

BenBella is a marketing-focused, author-friendly publishing house whose success is based on a few simple principles. We select our titles with care. We provide authors with first-class service and genuine partnership. And we provide aggressive, creative marketing for each title we publish.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE   

BLOG

PODCAST

FACEBOOK  

TWITTER  

INSTAGRAM  

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Leader of South Korea, which has one of the world’s worst gender gaps, argues that eliminating the ministry set up to protect women would actually help them <a href=”https://t.co/VGNGi9zeOt”>https://t.co/VGNGi9zeOt</a></p>&mdash; Bloomberg (@business) <a href=”https://twitter.com/business/status/1578269652618199041?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 7, 2022</a></blockquote> https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

AMIE’S PARTY – A children’s book that addresses loneliness, change, and other mental health issues and introduces kids to the Mood Bears – Definitely worth reading – Check it out below…

Title: AMIE’S PARTY
https://www.moodbears.co.uk/Mainshop

Series: THE MOOD BEARS
http://www.moodbears.co.uk  

Author: IAIN LAUCHLAN   

Illustrator: NIK AFIA  
http://www.nikafia.com
  

Release Date: AUGUST 4, 2022

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION

Number Of Pages: 32

Publisher: CHERISH EDITIONS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

It’s another peaceful day in the village for the Mood Bears – until Happy Bear spots a yellow cloud on the horizon and knows someone needs her help.

The cloud takes Happy Bear to Amie, who feels lonely and sad after moving to a new flat far away from her friends. She has no one to celebrate her birthday with her, either.

So, Happy Bear throws a party for Amie’s big day and invites some very special guests to remind her that she is never alone.

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MY REVIEW:

If you look at my first name and the way it is spelled, you will realize why I chose this children’s book to #ReadAndReview It is exceptionally rare to find a book (or anything else) with my name (Amie) spelled correctly. 

Upon first reading of the book, I was introduced to the Mood Bears. They seem to be a UK updated version of the Care Bears that were popular here in Canada for many years and in fact seem to still be going strong. The major difference seems to be that the Mood Bears books and stuffed animals are sold as a way to make money for children’s charity whereas the Care Bears are strictly for making profit.

Amie’s Party is not just an entertaining story, although it very much is entertaining. The story talks about some very serious issues that children often need to face. One of those issues is the fact that Amie’s parents have split up and because of that, Amie and her mother move from their house into an apartment which is a very big change to Amie’s life. Children who, like Amie, experience the divorce of their parents, and/or a housing change, often suffer in silence. This book validates their experience and helps them to feel less alone.

“According to ONS figures from 2018, 1 in 10 children “often” feel lonely in the UK.”

Because of their move, Amie has moved away from all her friends and because of their financial changes Amie understands that there just isn’t any money for a fancy birthday party. She doesn’t know anyone in her new neighborhood, so who would she invite anyway?

This is when the Mood Bears come in and ensure that Amie has a great birthday party. They even invite a few of the children around her age who live in her apartment building, thus introducing Amie to a bunch of potential new friends. 

This book is beautifully illustrated and written with sensitivity towards children’s mental health. This is a subject that most children’s books avoid.

In addition, the Mood Bears have a website where stuffed Mood Bears are available to buy.

What I love the most about this book and about the plush bears is that a portion of the proceeds go to the mental health charity SHAWMIND

I rate AMIE’S PARTY 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:

 ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

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ABOUT THE MOOD BEARS:

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

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TWITTER
@Shawmind_
@cherisheditions
@MoodBears
@literallypr
@Nik_Afia
@triggerhub_  

INSTAGRAM
@themoodbears
@cherisheditions
@shawmind_
@literallypr
@nik_afia01
@triggerhub_

FACEBOOK
http://www.facebook.com/cherisheditions

http://www.facebook.com/shawmindUK

http://www.facebook.com/moodbears.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Literally-PR/342794935782744

https://m.facebook.com/100063590700523

https://www.facebook.com/nikafiaillustration

https://www.facebook.com/triggerhub.org

CITIES OF THE DEAD – The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries by YOLANDA ZAPPATERRA is due for Release on September 26th – Check out some of the amazing photographs HERE

Title: CITIES OF THE DEAD

Subtitle: The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries 

Author: YOLANDA ZAPPATERRA

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 26, 2022

Genre: NON-FICTION, PHOTOGRAPHY, CEMETERIES, HISTORY, TRAVEL

Number Of Pages: 240

Received From: NETGALLEY

ISBN: 978-0-711265783 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Discover the fascinating stories of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries, featuring spectacular photography, unique histories and famous residents.

Cities of the Dead takes us on a tour of memorial sites, ranging from monastic settlements to grand cathedralsShinto shrines to Gothic chapelstombs and crypts. Enjoy tales of myths and monsters, grave-robbers, pilgrimages, spiritual retreats, remembrance and community. Marvel in cemeteries with a hundred thousand to a handful of graves which feature famous headstones, weeping angels, ocean views, woodlands, thousands of glowing lanterns and a tomb of poets.

From London’s famous Highgate Cemetery, which houses famous names from Karl Marx to Malcolm McLaren, George Eliot to Christina Rosetti, to Hawaii’s breathtaking Valley of the Temples, this book spans the globe to bring you the most fascinating, intriguing and evocative cemeteries across cultures and continents.

Together with evocative images, the stories behind these notable burial sites bring these sanctuaries to life, detailing the features that make them special, highlighting both similarities and differences between time periods, religions and cultures, and showing how cemeteries are about and for the living as much as the dead.

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MY REVIEW:

This stunningly gorgeous book is now available and I can’t wait to receive a hardcopy of it. I received an advance ebook of CITIES OF THE DEAD to read and review. The result? Well, I have now added many of the graveyards shown in this book to my Bucket List of places I want to visit before I join the Cities of the Dead permanently.

The photographs are beautiful and perfectly described so that readers cannot fail to see the radiance and magnificence of the various monuments to the dead.

CITIES OF THE DEAD: The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries by YOLANDA ZAPPATERRA illustrates the fact that beauty and even tranquility can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Readers of this book will quickly realize that burial monuments exist for the living as much, if not more than as a way to honor the dead.

One of the things that struck me were the similarities between cemeteries all over the world, a fact that demonstrates that people everywhere have much more in common with residents of other countries than they might have originally thought. 

This magnificent book deserves a rating of 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Although the digital version of this book is lovely, I highly recommend pre-ordering it’s print version. I have already pre-ordered my copy and I am excited to be able to hold this exquisite book in my hands.

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

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PREVIEW AVAILABLE BY CLICKING HERE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

To learn about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
http://t.co/PYzHFoxT

GOODREADS
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/685575.Yolanda_Zappaterra

TRAVEL WEEKLY
http://travelweekly.co.uk/articles/author/216  

LINKEDIN
https://www.linkedin.com/in/yolanda-zappaterra-41082027

TWITTER 
https://mobile.twitter.com/yzappaterra

QUARTO KNOWS
https://www2.quartoknows.com/authors/2867/Yolanda-Zappaterra

THE INDEPENDENT
https://www.independent.co.uk/author/yolanda-zappaterra

INSTAGRAM 
https://www.instagram.com/yolzappa

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

The Leading Global Illustrated Book Publisher

The Quarto Group creates a wide variety of books and intellectual property products, with a mission to inspire life’s experiences. Produced in many formats for adults, children, and the whole family, our products are visually appealing, information rich, and stimulating.

The Group encompasses a diverse portfolio of imprints and businesses that are creatively independent and expert in developing long-lasting content across specific niches of interest.

Quarto sells and distributes its products globally in over 50 countries and 40 languages, through a variety of sales channels, partnerships, and routes to market.

Quarto employs c. 300 talented people in the US and the UK. The Group was founded in London in 1976. It is domiciled in the US and listed on the London Stock Exchange (QRT).

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
http://www.quartoknows.com/

FACEBOOK 
https://www.facebook.com/QuartoKnows

TWITTER 
https://twitter.com/quartoknows

YOUTUBE
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg6_9Q3TbEXRPspas_bqPHw

INSTAGRAM   
https://www.instagram.com/quarto.knows

PINTEREST
https://www.pinterest.com/quartoknows

TIK TOK
https://www.tiktok.com/@quartobooks  

INSTAGRAM  – UK
https://www.instagram.com/quartobooksuk

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Celebrate PRIDE Month by entering a GIVEAWAY to WIN a copy of the memoir – ANY KIND OF LUCK AT ALL by LGBTQ Canadian Author Mary Fairhurst Breen

Title: ANY KIND OF LUCK AT ALL

Author: MARY FAIRHURST BREEN
https://maryfairhurstbreen.ca/

Release Date: OCTOBER 12, 2021

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, DIVERSE BOOKS, LGBTQ

Number Of Pages: 193

Publisher: SECOND STORY PRESS
http://www.secondstorypress.ca

Received From: THE AUTHOR

ISBN: 978-1-77260-201-2

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

What was it like growing up as a smart girl in a world of 1970s suburban conformity?

What family secrets were hidden behind the vertical blinds and sliding glass doors, or swept under the orange shag carpets?

Is it possible to move from married mother-of-two to lesbian feminist activist without passing heartache?

In her bittersweet memoir, Mary Fairhurst Breen sketches scenes from a life darkened by four generations of mental illness and addiction.

Despite the odds, Mary’s sense of humor and willingness to practice “radical acceptance” see her through the chaos to a life full of friends, art, and the joys of being a grandmother.

Ultimately, she must face her greatest challenge of all when her daughter becomes one of the tens of thousands of people every year to die of an opioid overdose.

This is a journey of awakening and activism, and a portrait of a life to be celebrated in all its complexity.

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Watch Mary Fairhurst Breen on
The Social:

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MY REVIEW:

ary Fairhurst Breen may be a translator by trade, but she missed out on her true calling … until now. 

I believe she was always destined to be a writer, and not just any ordinary, run-of-the-mill kind of writer. Her writing has the potential to change lives for the better.

Mary’s life experiences are vast and varied. The lessons she has learned throughout her unconventional life contain wisdom that can be applied to every one of us.

The title of this memoir offers readers a clue as to exactly what kind of luck the author has had in her life. The title of her memoir is based on the saying:

If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any kind of luck at all.

What could easily have been a book filled solely with times in Mary’s life when she experienced grief and pain, is instead, filled with poignant moments and life events.

Some moments are sad, some happy, and some downright hilarious. Somehow author Mary Fairhurst Breen has hit on the perfect formula to appeal to a wide variety of readers. 

Mental illness and addiction have gripped members of Mary’s family for generations. Her most devastating loss to date is the death of her beautiful, creative, and special adult daughter Sophie to opioid poisoning.

We all like to think our generation will be the one to set old family patterns ablaze, to toss the whole damned drafting table onto the bonfire and dance around the ashes completely cleansed. But we instinctively gravitate toward the familiar, for better or worse. New research into intergenerational trauma, and the Indigenous understanding that our decisions affect the next seven generations, can at least shed light onto what’s going on in the present. We can’t eliminate the pain we are bequeathed; we can only deal with it better as time passes.”

The author could easily be forgiven for curling up into a ball of depression and spending her days in bed; but she doesn’t do any such thing. Instead, her determination and will to survive the many traumas she has endured allows her to continue living her life with “radical acceptance.” She has channeled her grief into a call for action.

Author Mary Fairhurst Breen has written a beautifully written and exquisitely honest memoir of a life that has been anything but easy. She documents her life and the moment she chose to admit what had always been inside her.

I rate ANY KIND OF LIFE AT ALL as a solid 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The fact that June is Pride Month means this is the perfect time to pick up a copy of this book. Also, don’t forget to enter to win a paperback copy on my blog and social media sites.

HOW TO ENTER TO WIN:

1. Leave a comment below to earn one entry into the giveaway.

2. Visit my Instagram page and click FOLLOW to gain a second entry.

3. Earn an additional entry by commenting on the giveaway post on my Instagram page.

Giveaway starts today

Ends on June 30th, 2022

QUOTES I LOVE:

“… I see not a wrinkly, plump, postmenopausal woman in the mirror, but rather someone fortyish, of average build. I have conceded that my breasts no longer point straight ahead, but instead indicate a spot on the floor a couple of metres in front of me, where I have perhaps dropped something important.”

“[Mary and her mother] never talked about orgasms, whereas my daughters were quite unselfconscious about discussing theirs with me. I remember my daughter Sophie cheerfully bringing up the topic of female ejaculation at breakfast one morning. She asked, ‘Which hole does the stuff come out of?’ I helpfully spurted coffee from my nose.”

“There are so many things one has to let go of past fifty, but an equal number of things one gets to let go of at the half-century mark. It is fantastically liberating to cease giving a fuck as one ages. I’ve been giving ever fewer fucks since my early forties, but why must it take so long to get to this place?”

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo by: Maggie Knaus

A translator by training, I spent thirty years in the not-for-profit sector, managing small organizations with big social change mandates. During those decades, I wrote innumerable newsletters, policy documents and outreach materials, and more grant proposals than I would care to count. After multiple lay-offs due to funding cuts, I launched my own arts business, indulging my passion for hand-making. It was a colossally enjoyable and unprofitable venture. While running the business, I supported myself with extra writing and editing jobs. Its demise gave me the time and impetus to really focus on my own artistic practice. I began with the goal of sharing my family history with my daughters, went on to publish some autobiographical stories, and wound up with my first book, Any Kind of Luck at All.

I had a father incapacitated by bipolar disorder and OCD, and a strong, smart, loving mother who died too young. I had to develop my own strategies to cope with my father’s needs, an alcoholic husband, two traumatized children, ever-worsening financial insecurity, and my shifting sexual identity. I supported my younger daughter through the debilitating mental illness that ultimately led to her death by fentanyl poisoning in 2020. Now a (young) grandmother, I want to pursue art for so many reasons: to support myself, to maintain my mental health, to help others with similar challenges, and to honour those I have lost and those I hold dear.

I am currently working on an oral history-based series of books for middle-grade readers.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://maryfairhurstbreen.ca

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK 

GOOGLE BOOKS  

INSTAGRAM 

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Second Story Press is dedicated to publishing feminist-inspired books for adults and young readers.

Second Story Press is proud to have been publishing award-winning books that entertain, educate, and empower for over 30 years. 

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://secondstorypress.ca s

FACEBOOK 
https://www.facebook.com/SecondStoryPress/

TWITTER 
https://twitter.com/_secondstory

INSTAGRAM 
https://www.instagram.com/_secondstory

LINKEDIN
https://www.linkedin.com/company/second-story-feminist-press

PINTEREST 
https://www.pinterest.com/secondstorypres

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Poem written for the launch of
Any Kind of Luck At All
by Everyday People Typewriter Poems

More Writing by Mary Fairhurst Breen can be found at the links below:

Mary’s article Gigging Toward My Golden Years appeared in the summer 2021 issue of This Magazine, accompanied by this wonderful illustration by Matthew Daley (shinypliers). 
https://this.org/2021/07/12/gigging-toward-my-golden-years/

My First Person essay, A Helping Hand, appeared in the Globe and Mail February 16, 2021. 
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/first-person/article-i-can-live-in-the-moment-when-my-granddaughter-takes-my-hand/

A personal radio essay called Grievous Injuries was published and aired on CBC’s The Sunday Edition on May 3, 2020.  

Mary’s autobiographical essay called Graywood Drive won an emerging writer award through Open Book, Arts Etobicoke and the Toronto Arts Council in 2018 and was published in an anthology as part of the project. 


http://open-book.ca/News/What-s-Your-Story-Read-the-Winning-Texts-of-the-2018-OBPO-Writing-Contest-Winners!-Part-One-Etobicoke

My essay called Why #IBelieveHer was published on the Ms Magazine blog in 2016. 
https://msmagazine.com/2016/04/18/why-ibelieveher

YOU STILL LOOK THE SAME by Multiple Award Winning Canadian Author FARZANA DOCTOR and Narrated by the Incomparable ULKA SIMONE MOHANTY has Finally Been Released – Sample Included With This Post

Title: YOU STILL LOOK THE SAME (Audiobook)

Title: YOU STILL LOOK THE SAME (Audiobook)

Author: FARZANA DOCTOR

Narrators: FARZANA DOCTOR and ULKA SIMONE MOHANTY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2022

Genre: POETRY, DIVERSE BOOKS, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST, CANADIAN

Length: 1 Hour and 21 Minutes

Publisher: ECW PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A moving collection of poetry about navigating mid-life, full of humour and wit, from acclaimed novelist Farzana Doctor.

This debut poetry collection from acclaimed novelist Farzana Doctor is both an intimate deep dive and a humorous glance at the tumultuous decade of her forties.

Through crisp and vivid language, Doctor explores mid-life breakups and dating, female genital cutting, imprints of racism and misogyny, and the oddness of sex and love, and urges us to take a second look at the ways in which human relationships are never what we expect them to be.

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MY REVIEW:

FARZANA DOCTOR is a Canadian author and now poet who has won many, many literary awards. Each one was well deserved. 

I admit I am not usually a big fan of poetry. I find much of it to be pretentious, sometimes even condescending to the reader. Thus is 100% NOT the case with “You Still Look The Same.”  In fact I enjoyed listening to Farzana’s debut poetry collection immensely. 

I love the fact that Farzana chose to narrate part of her collection and choosing Ulka Simone Mohantyto narrate the rest of the poems was the perfect choice. Both narrators were easy to understand, as well as speaking clearly and concisely. This allowed the words of the poems to be the listener’s focus … as it should be.

Each haiku and other poems showcased the author’s talent for description. I believe this is because Farzana Doctor wrote fiction books first, before trying her hand at poetry.

In my opinion, one of Farzana’s greatest gifts is her ability to connect with her audience. I found this to be true with her novels, and it is even more evident in her poetry.

It is my belief that audiobook listeners, especially women, will find that Farzana’s experiences will resonate with them.

I was already a fan of Farzana Doctor’s books. With YOU STILL LOOK THE SAME I am now an even bigger fan.

If you have not yet read any of her work, you are doing yourself a disservice. I suggest you run, not walk, to your nearest Indie bookstore to pick up your copy of this collection. While you are there, do yourself a favor and pick up copies of her other books as well. You just might find that you have a new favourite author. 

I rate “You Still Look The Same” as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

*** Thank you to #FarzanaDoctor for choosing me as one of the winners of this audiobook through a #giveaway on her Instagram account. ***

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To read my review of Farzana’s book ALL INCLUSIVE. Click HERE.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

FARZANA DOCTOR was the WINNER of the NOW Magazine Best Author of 2015.

Farzana Doctor is the author of Stealing Nasreen and Six Metres of Pavement, which won the 2012 Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award.Farzana is one of CBC BooksTen Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now and the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Grant.

To learn more about this author visit the links below:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK 

TWITTER 

INSTAGRAM 

LIBRO FM

AUDIBLE CANADA

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https://player.vimeo.com/video/675983527?h=96df725851

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Photographer: Teren Oddo

Ulka Simone Mohanty is an actor, voice actor, dancer, choreographer and occasional professional chef.

This multi-hyphenated artist is known for her voice work on Pixar‘s Oscar and Golden Globe winner Soul, Warner Bros’ Jellystone and NBC Universal‘s Nina’s World; her film and TV work on FOX‘s The Moodys, and a supporting role in the sci-fi movie, Needle in a Timestack; and her choreography work on Disney‘s Rivers of Light,  The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic, and Disney-Pixar collaboration  Up! A Great Bird Adventure.

She has also appeared as a chef on The Food Network‘s Cutthroat Kitchen and has voiced numerous video games and audiobooks.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://ulkamohanty.com

GOODREADS

TWITTER 

INSTAGRAM  

IMDb

VIMEO

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL
ARTICLE AND INTERVIEW

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ONE FOOT OVER THE EDGE by Shane Mutlow is A Canadian Soldier’s Personal Account of Rwandan Genocide and its aftermath. Gritty and raw … This book doesn’t pull any punches and is not for the faint-of-heart.

Title: ONE FOOT OVER THE EDGE
https://shanemutlowauthor.com

Subtitle: A CANADIAN SOLDIER’S PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF THE RWANDAN GENOCIDE

Author: SHANE MUTLOW

Release Date: AUGUST 5, 2021

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

Number Of Pages: 133

Publisher: TELLWELL PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

ISBN: 978-0-2288-5987-1

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

The scars we show become lighthouses for those about to hit the same rock.”
– ANONYMOUS.

The above is a quote from the screenplay written by Katelyn Wells, adapted from the book ONE FOOT OVER THE EDGE.

A true story of a young Canadian Soldier returning home from a war-torn Rwanda, after witnessing the most horrific genocide since WWII.

Corporal Shane Mutlow was held at gunpoint for two days by local forces, not knowing whether or not he would live to see another day. Labelled “whereabouts unknown” twice and held against his will while on a major operation by Rwandan government officials, Corporal Mutlow was sent off-road every day into unknown territories deep within the Rwandan jungle.

The genocide in Rwanda left Canadian troops completely unprepared for the tragedies they would be subjected to, from the suicide of a brother-in-arms on Christmas Day to returning home from his deployment to a wife and children who would never know the horrors he had endured.

Just six months spent in the midst of the Rwanda genocide would change this young soldier’s life forever.

Shane Mutlow bore witness to what the world wanted to ignore.

This is his story.

Portions of each sale of this book will be donated to Fortitude Farms, a facility which provides equine therapy for those who suffer with mental illness.

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MY REVIEW:

With the Russian invasion into the Ukraine, people are talking about war for the first time in a long time.

As such, it is perhaps the perfect time for people to read Shane Mutlow’s memoir titled; “ONE FOOT OVER THE EDGE – A CANADIAN SOLDIER’S PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF THE RWANDAN GENOCIDE.”

I believe that most Canadians take our military for granted or are unaware of the extent of their involvement in armed conflicts around the world.

One of the worst atrocities in world history was the Genocide in Rwanda. 

Canadian soldiers were sent to assist the United Nations Assistance Mission In Rwanda (UNAMIR), author Shane Mutlow was one of those soldiers.

While most of the Canadian soldiers who were sent to Rwanda spent their time in a single area of the capital city and saw little action, this was not the case for Shane Mutlow.

Unfortunately, Shane saw first hand the brutality and horror that has come to be synonymous with the Rwandan “Civil War.”

Written by a member of the military, this book offers civilians a glimpse into the fact that Canadian soldiers put not only their physical well-being on the line, they put their mental health on the line as well.

Historically, members of the military who admit weakness of any kind have been viewed as weak. This type of thinking needs to change.

It is much easier to pretend that their experiences had little or no effect than to admit to needing help. It is for this reason that it is essential that veterans write and speak honestly about their experiences. ONE FOOT OVER THE EDGE does exactly that.

The author has included several photographs which allow the reader to feel more connected to his story.

As a self-published book, it would benefit from a professional editor and proofreader, but these flaws do not take away from the impact of the story. Normally these typographical errors would be enough to drop a couple stars off of the rating I give to a book, but in this case they just add to its authenticity. It is for this reason that I chose to rate “ONE FOOT OVER THE EDGE” as 4 out of 5 Stars.      ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

**** Thank you to the author for providing me with a complimentary copy or book. ****

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Mutlow is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, where he spent time at 1 CDHSR as a radio operator, and at 3 RCR, where he served with a parachute company.

Shane has been to many different countries while serving in the military.

He was deployed on an UN tour, UNAMIR, in Rwanda, Africa, from 1994–1995, and witnessed the aftermath of the genocide caused by the civil war between the Hutu and Tutsi clans.

He has had a successful career working at an engineering firm prior to his retirement in 2014.

His story is twenty years in the making and is one that needs to be told.  

This is Shane’s first book, but it will surely give the readers an insight into the horrors and setbacks that our Canadian soldiers and veterans struggle with when they arrive home after being in a theatre of operation.

Shane continues to reside in Pembroke, ON, with his wife Justine and daughter Madison.

His two boys, Nicolas and  his daughter Addison, Zachary and his fiancée Avery live out west and frequently come to Pembroke for visits.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK 

INSTAGRAM

TELLWELL PUBLISHING BLOG

GOOGLE BOOKS

LOOKOUT NAVY NEWS ARTICLE

SMASHWORDS

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Why Self-Publish with Tellwell?

• A full-service team approach: experienced editors, designers and other experts to ensure great quality

• The highest royalties and smartest distribution model in the industry

• Step-by-step guidance so you don’t get confused or stuck

• International reach, with distribution in North America, Europe and beyond

• A caring, small company feel in contrast to a large “factory approach” to publishing

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

FACEBOOK 

TWITTER 

INSTAGRAM 

YOUTUBE

LINKEDIN

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For more information about Canadian veterans and PTSD go to the following websites.

RWANDA VETERANS OF CANADA
https://www.facebook.com/RwandaVeteranCanada

THE MOONSTONE GIRLS is destined to be One of the Best Books of 2022 – RELEASES TODAY – Get Your Copy Today – You’ll be glad you did

Title: THE MOONSTONE GIRLS

Author: BROOKE SKIPSTONE

Release Date: FEBRUARY 14, 2022

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, LGBTQ

Number Of Pages: 397

Publisher: SKIPSTONE PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

ISBN: 978-1-73700643-5

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Mount McKinley in Alaska – the name was changed and it is now called Mount Denali – Notice the digging bear on the left side of the photo Photographer Daniel Leifheit

DESCRIPTION:

1968, a seventeen-year-old queer girl traveled to Alaska disguised as a boy.

Tracy should have been a boy. Even her older brother Spencer says so, though he wouldn’t finish the thought with, “And I should have been a girl.”

Though both feel awkward in their own skin, they have to face who they are—queers in the late 60s.

When both are caught with gay partners, their lives and futures are endangered by their homophobic father as their mother struggles to defend them.

While the Vietnam War threatens to take Spencer away, Tracy and her father wage a war of their own, each trying to save the sweet, talented pianist.

At seventeen, Tracy dresses as a boy and leaves her parents in turmoil, with only the slimmest hope of finding peace within herself. She journeys to a girl with a guitar, calling to her from a photo, “Come to Alaska. We’d be great friends.”

Maybe even The MoonStone Girls.

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MY REVIEW:

My first thought after reading THE MOONSTONE GIRLS is that it must be somewhat autobiographical. Author Brooke Skipstone has written with such depth of emotion that it is difficult to believe the story is fictional.

Before I get too far into my review I wanted to be sure to mention just how gorgeous the cover of this book is. It is the perfect blend of colors to bring the 1960s to mind. And, the choice to just use silhouettes is 100% inspired. 5 Stars for the cover. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I love that this #book is set in the late #1960s – an era much different than today’s world. So much was different at that time for anyone who was gay, and as hard as it is to fathom, being gay was considered to be against the laws of both God and men. This just highlights how far LBGTQ rights have come (even though society still has a ways to go.)

I cannot fathom the fear and pain experienced by LGBTQ youth at that time in history, especially for men whose arousal is much harder to hide. In the book, both Tracy and her brother Spencer are queer. The good thing is that they have each other to lean on and they have a mother who loves them just the way they are. This is much more than most #queer #youth had in their lives during that period in #history

This book delves into not just LGBTQ history, but also into the #draft and the #VietnamWar #WomensRights #RockAndRoll and the #SexualRevolution

There are some extremely #emotional scenes in The Moonstone Girls and at one point during reading I was literally in tears. It takes a truly talented #writer to be able to evoke so much #empathy and #emotion in their readers. Kudos to Brooke Skipstone for writing such an important and believable book.

Ultimately, this is a tale about hope and about having the courage to fight back in the best way you can against those who would try to stop you from living life on your own terms. It will encourage readers to never settle for second best and to keep trying until they find a place where they belong and where they can live a life of hope and honesty. It also reminds us that there is a person out there for everyone and that everyone has the right to live a happy life on their own terms.

Tracy is a fiery, take-no-prisoners type of young woman. This is the face she shows to the world, but inside, she is suffering and full of shame. This reminds readers that the persona people present to the world is not always accurate and that everyone has an inner world that is invisible. Never judge a book by its cover is a great lesson and one that we often forget.

Although not specifically stated, I get the feeling that the author also wants readers to think about mental health and to realize the depths of despair that people can feel when forced to live a lie just to be “normal.”

All in all I have to say that this book should be on everyone’s Must Read list for 2022 and although it is labeled as Young Adult fiction, this book will appeal to readers of all ages.

I am rating THE MOONSTONE GIRLS by Brooke Skipstone as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ and I highly recommend this book … just make sure you have a box of tissues nearby when you read it.

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

BELOW IS THE MOONSTONE GIRLS PLAYLIST

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify%3Aplaylist%3A3FHQ6I55MRmqkIuFhA2mvD

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brooke Skipstone lives in Alaska, where she watches the mountains change colors with the seasons from her balcony.

Where she feels the constant rush toward winter as the sunlight wanes for six months of the year, seven minutes each day, bringing crushing cold that lingers even as the sun climbs again.

Where the burst of life during summer is urgent under twenty-four-hour daylight, lush and decadent. Where fish swim hundreds of miles up rivers past bear claws and nets and wheels and lines of rubber-clad combat fishers, arriving humped and ragged, dying as they spawn.

Where danger from the land and its animals exhilarates the senses, forcing her to appreciate the difference between life and death. Where the edge between is sometimes too alluring.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

GOODREADS

AMAZON  

#NetGalley #AmiesBookReviews #BookReview #tbr #BookReviewer  #ReadAndReview #bibliophile #bookstagram #bookstagrammers #AuthorsOfInstagram #author #NewBook #MustRead #BookNerd #book #books #reading #yalit #ya #instagramhub #YoungAdultFiction
#TheMoonstoneGirls #BrookeSkipstone #LGBTQ #DiverseBooks #1968 #Vietnam #DraftCards #Equity #Equality #LoveIsLove