LOSING IT AT 40 by Canadian East Coast Author SARAH BUTLAND is the perfect read for a snowy weekend.

Title: LOSING IT AT 40

Author: SARAH BUTLAND

Release Date: JULY 2021

Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION, ROMANCE

Number Of Pages: 282

Publisher: BOOKS TO GO

Received From: THE AUTHOR

ISBN: 979-8533839921

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Being alone, a virgin and comfortable in her own skin, Annie, like a lot of us, dreads turning forty. Turning forty tends to mean more challenges physically, in the bedroom and beyond. Losing It At Forty is Anne’s story and while she has, so far, lived a mundane life her world is about to change. Sitting at a bar, Annabelle comes to the decision to loosen up and lose her virginity. Starting with no longer using her nickname and wanting to be referred to as her full name, Annabelle.

Annabelle knows she doesn’t need a man but her desire for one is turned up after having a few drink and men flirting with her.

What she knew she wanted was sex and even at forty years old she worried about pregnancy so took time off work to check with a doctor about the pill. He thought it was redundant but prescribed it anyway.

With many humorous incidents, including a time at an esthetician’s parlor and almost being arrested, to buying cream and being caught looking at condoms as well as the dreaded video chat while getting undressed, Annabelle is enjoying life despite the comedic moments her romantic endeavors provide.

MY REVIEW:

Let me tell you all about the book I just finished reading. It is called  LOSING IT AT 40 by Sarah Butland. And yes, the “it” in “LOSING IT…” is the protagonist’s virginity.

I know, I know, in today’s society it is exceptionally rare that anyone makes it to age 40 with their virginity intact. But Annie has never been what you would call a ‘social butterfly.’

Written in the first person, Annie speaks directly to the reader which I thought was a terrific way to tell this specific story. Because of this, readers begin to feel like they are either a friend of Annie, or, they are voyeurs reading her innermost thoughts as written in her personal diary. Either way, readers will want to know more.

Annie’s story is at times hilarious, at others it is touching, and at all times fascinating.

“It was obvious to me that I wouldn’t be outstanding on my first go-around and I really didn’t know much about the act itself … Maybe there was a Netflix type service just for porn.”

When I read the above paragraph I burst out laughing and when asked why I read it to my husband who also chuckled.

Annie is a delightful mix of bold and sassy, yet shy and quiet. She is like every other woman – a mixture of many traits and contradictions.

Annie ends up meeting two very different men. She knows she has to choose just one, but will she choose Travis, or Mike? You need to buy a copy of LOSING IT AT 40 to find out.

Although Sarah is an amateur writer, you wouldn’t know it. She has an affinity for creating believable and realistic characters.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Butland was born in Ontario, the year was 1982. She was moved to New Brunswick for over 15 years and now resides at home in Nova Scotia, Canada. Butland has been married to her high school sweetheart and has a superstar son named William.

Butland started creating while still learning to walk and in years to follow was able to put a writing utensil to paper to document her creations before they were completely lost. Of course, her first manuscripts were in dire need of editing but she didn’t seem to mind nor did her readers.

The first “big break” for Butland came when she was still a teenager feeling like she was unlike every other teenager she knew. She heard from a poetry contest that her poem “Wrong Shell” would be published in their anthology; would she kindly send them thousands of dollars to continue on in the finals. Butland’s parents refused. So began the struggle of discovering which awards were actually earned not bought.

Limiting herself to contest submissions from then on, Sarah Butland realized her career of writing would be a difficult struggle no matter the talent she held inside or was forced out.

Many stories, attempts at novels and thousands of ideas later, Butland created BananaBoy and the Adventures of Sammy was born with Sending You Sammy, her first published children’s book.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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http://www.sarahbutland.com

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THE MOONSTONE GIRLS is destined to be One of the Best Books of 2022 – Pre-order Now to avoid missing out

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:

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#TheMoonstoneGirls #BrookeSkipstone #LGBTQ #DiverseBooks #1968 #Vietnam #DraftCards #Equity #Equality #LoveIsLove

THE TEACHING – A Thriller Based on the Author’s True Life Experience of Living In A Cult by T.O. PAINE is Coming Soon

Title: THE TEACHING

Author: T.O. PAINE

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, BASED ON THE AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE OF LIVING IN A CULT

Length: 381 PAGES

Publisher: DARK SWALLOW BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 3rd, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-9992183-2-7 (PAPERBACK)
ISBN: 978-0-9992183-3-4 (HARDCOVER)
ISBN: 978-0-9992183-4-1 (EBOOK)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Based on the author’s true-life experience living in a cult . . .

Raine Harkins believes everything the Teaching tells her—forgiveness is freedom, there are no dead, and there is no dying. She has lived her entire life in the Haven, a small religious community buried in the hills of northern Nevada, and it’s been a good life.

But when she discovers a frightened teenage girl hiding in the forest, everything changes. Raine offers to help the girl, but gunshots ring out, and the girl runs away, never to be seen again. A week later, Raine finds a letter pinned to her cabin door—God doesn’t want you here. Leave the Haven now, before he runs you down.

Raine can’t bear the thought of leaving the only life she’s ever known, but the threatening letters keep coming, and her search for the missing girl leads her down a twisted path, unraveling the truth behind the Teaching. It’s not a good life—there are dead, and people do die.

MY REVIEW:

Debut author T.O. Paine did exactly what authors are supposed to do: he wrote about what he knows. Since he has lived in a cult, he was able to create a community that is believable and is populated by inhabitants that are so realistic that I had to wonder if they were based on people he had known in his past.

If readers are approaching this story hoping to discover that all the people in Haven are evil, they will be disappointed. However, this is exactly what makes this book all the more believable; it’s acknowledgement that not everything in life is easily classified into simple categories.

The mystery that is the main plot will keep readers guessing and has multiple twists and turns. There are also several other sub-plots that the author seamlessly weaves together which will intrigue readers just as much as the main plot does.

There are five novels planned, of which THE TEACHING is only the first. I have added myself to the Author’s mailing list and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I rate THE TEACHING as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book can be pre-ordered now and the official release date is set for March 3rd of 2022.


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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

T.O. Paine is a suspense novelist whose authentic characters triumph over extreme situations in challenging, true-to-life settings. He enjoys delving into the emotional consequences of his character’s choices and taking his readers along for the ride. Though his novels are contemporary, things always get out of control. Cults are real, anger is a disorder, and everyone loses when a friendly competition becomes an obsession.

His first of five novels, THE TEACHING, is set for publication Spring of 2022.

T.O. holds a master’s degree in information systems, and when he is not writing, you can find him running or cycling through the mountains of Colorado, USA. He has run over thirty marathons, ridden over twenty 100-mile cycling events, and completed an IRONMAN.

T.O. resides with his wife, two children, and a Boston terrier who stares at himself in the mirror, questioning his existence.

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

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BATHTIME FUN – An adorable rhyming Children’s Book that will quickly become a favorite of both parents and kids alike by Award Winning Canadian Children’s Author KATHLEEN GAUER – Book Review and Sample Pages

Title: BATHTIME FUN

Author: KATHLEEN GAUER  

Illustrator: SARI RICHTER

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION

Length: 32 PAGES

Publisher: SKIPPING STONE PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: JULY 31, 2021

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Bathtime is FUN!!! Find out why in this bubbly, fun-to-read-aloud, tugboat adventure.

With bright, bold, and playful illustrations, diverse characters, and an engaging, rhythmic text, this delightful book is sure to spark the imagination of young readers everywhere.

When you combine adventure with getting clean, bath time is a fun time.

MY REVIEW:

BATHTIME FUN is a fun Children’s Book that both parents and young kids will adore.

The story is written in rhyme which allows the narrative to flow.

Children who may have been hesitant to have a bath or who start out afraid of the water, will see bath time as a time for fun during which they can allow their imagination to soar.

The illustrations are bright and engaging. These illustrations bring the fun of the rhyming story to life.

I rate this exceptional Canadian children’s book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Toronto writer Kathleen Gauer’s published works include illustrated children’s books, High in the Sky, For No Reason, The Wish Carvers, and Bathtime Fun! as well as poetry, and magazine and newspaper articles.

Her books have been acquired in libraries across Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Kathleen worked as a contributing associate editor for a Toronto community focus magazine for 15 years, and as an arts columnist for the Etobicoke Guardian newspaper.

She retired as an Educational Assistant in Special Education after working with the Toronto District School Board for 29 years.

When not writing or reading, Kathleen enjoys hanging out with her family and friends, yoga, hiking, golf, knitting, world travel, and choral singing.

She also volunteers with IBBY Canada’s Readers and Refugees program in Toronto and does author visits and story time programs in local schools and libraries.

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

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Photograph by Nadia Guo

Sari Richter grew up in Ancaster, Ontario, and moved to Toronto where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and a Masters Certification from the Toronto Art Therapy Institute.

She works in a vast array of traditional and non-traditional drawing and painting media and looks forward to challenging commissions. Sari is also a published children’s book author (I’ll Know It When I See It!), illustrator, storyboard artist, and muralist. She has worked in the field of children’s mental health as an art therapist and loves challenging drawing and painting commissions.

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.sarimichellerichter.com

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MOVING FORWARD – A Novella of Life After Zombies by Uber-Talented Sci-Fi Author JAMIE LACKEY is Available Now. This is like no other zombie book you have ever read. It is a 5 Star Read ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Click on the book cover to find out more!

Title: MOVING FORWARD

Subtitle: A Novella of Life After Zombies

Author: JAMIE LACKEY

Genre: FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, ZOMBIE FICTION

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED BY THE AUTHOR

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-0-6926436-5-5

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Corinne survived the zombie apocalypse 30 years ago. After the dust settled, she got married, had kids, built a life.

All of that is gone in an instant when a zombie attacks a city park. Corinne manages to protect her family, but the zombie bites her before it is taken down.

She wakes up in one of the infected sanctuaries, where she’ll have to build her life over again, knowing that at any moment she, or anyone around her, could become a monster.

Thank you to #NetGalley and the #author for providing me with a free copy of this #novella

MY REVIEW:

It is fascinating to me how a skilled author is able to pack in as much story as a full-length novel into a novella. This ability only occurs in truly talented authors … of which, Jamie Lackey is one.

This tale is an original take on the zombie fiction theme. It takes place thirty years after the zombie apocalypse. Zombies are still around but security is such that they rarely pose a problem for the general public.

One day, Corinne is enjoying a lazy picnic in the park with her daughter and infant granddaughter when she spots a single zombie coming into the park. Most of the residents of the city were born after the zombie war and have had the privilege of growing up in relative safety. Because of this they are not alert and none of the other families enjoying the sunshine notice the impending attack.

Corinne doesn’t think. She acts purely on instinct. That instinct propels her toward the zombie while warning everyone else to escape to safety. Unfortunately, Corinne ends up bitten before the security forces are able to nullify the threat.

Corinne sees none of this and the next thing she is aware of is waking up in one of the many infected sanctuaries. This is where people who are zombie-bitten but who did not immediately become a zombie themselves.

It is this idea of infected sanctuaries that is such a unique take on the zombie genre. I bought in completely and I was 100% absorbed in the story.

The lead character – Corinne – is not the typical heroine. Firstly, she is older than the characters that usually populate zombie fiction. Plus, not only is she a mother, she is also a grandmother. She is not perfect and doesn’t pretend to be. I thoroughly identified with her plight. All she wants is to live and love, it was not her fault she was bitten. She was trying to do something good and ended up paying for it with her freedom.

I also loved the idea of shelters for the Infected. What a fascinating place Author Jamie Lackey has brought to life in vivid prose.

In fact, I enjoyed this novella so much that I am hoping to discover the Author has decided to turn this novella into the first book in a series. If she does continue this tale in additional volumes, I will be the first to purchase a copy.

The setting is familiar and yet not, the characters are compelling and utterly believable. I can’t imagine enjoying a story anymore than I enjoyed MOVING FORWARD. I have added all the other titles written by Jamie Lackey to my TBR (To Be Read) list.

I rate MOVING FORWARD as a solid 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to #NetGalley and the #author for providing me with a free copy of this #novella

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cats. She has over 160 short fiction credits, and has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Escape Pod. She has a novella and two short story collections available from Air and Nothingness Press. In addition to writing, she spends her time reading, playing tabletop RPGs, baking, and hiking.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
www.jamielackey.com

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MORE BOOKS BY JAMIE LACKEY:

SLEWFOOT Audiobook by BROM – One of the Best Historical Horror Books I Have Ever Had the Pleasure of Reading – Creepy and Terrifying, SLEWFOOT will stay with you forever. 5+ Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: SLEWFOOT

Author:  BROM

Narrator: BARRIE KREINIK

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, HORROR

Length: 14 HOURS and 15 MINUTES

Publisher: TOR NIGHTFIRE / MACMILLAN AUDIO

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 14, 2021

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Connecticut, 1666.

An ancient spirit awakens in a dark wood. The wildfolk call him Father, slayer, protector.

The colonists call him Slewfoot, demon, devil.

To Abitha, a recently widowed outcast, alone and vulnerable in her pious village, he is the only one she can turn to for help.

Together, they ignite a battle between pagan and Puritan – one that threatens to destroy the entire village, leaving nothing but ashes and bloodshed in their wake.

“If it is a devil you seek, then it is a devil you shall have!”

A Macmillan Audio production from TOR NIGHTFIRE

MY REVIEW:

World building at its finest. Characters so fully developed that it is impossible to not be invested in their lives. A build up in intensity that quite literally will have readers on the edge of their seats.

I was lucky to receive an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of the SLEWFOOT Audiobook from the Publisher through NetGalley. I am thrilled to say  listening to the story enhanced my experience.

Until I looked her up (yes, Barrie is female) after listening to her fabulous voice for hours on end, I had no idea that she wasn’t British by birth. Her website mentions her proficiency with accents, but actually hearing her performance, I realized she is not merely proficient, she sounds 100% as if she is a native Brit. Barrie is a masterful voice actor with an exquisite sense of timing. The way her voice rises and falls during particularly suspensful moments had me hooked. I will 100% be looking for more audiobooks featuring the skills of Barrie Kreinik in the future.

As for the story itself, the following offers a clue as to what I thought of SLEWFOOT…

From this day forward I will always think of Brom when anyone mentions historical horror fiction with fantasy elements. In fact, I don’t believe that any other author alive today even comes close to his skill level.

Because I do not want to give away any spoilers, I am not going to discuss the plot any further. Suffice it to say that this book is not just a story, it is an experience.

I rate SLEWFOOT as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the Publisher and to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this spectacular audiobook.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

BROM

Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.

THE ART OF BROM – HARDCOVER

At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Three years later he entered the field of fantastic art he’d loved his whole life, making his mark developing and illustrating for TSR’s best selling role-playing worlds.

He has since gone on to lend his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games, to comics and film. Most recently he’s created a series of award winning horror novels that he both writes and illustrates: “The Plucker”, an adult children’s book, “The Devil’s Rose”, a modern western set in Hell, “The Child Thief”, a gritty, nightmarish retelling of the Peter Pan myth, “Krampus, the Yule Lord“, a tale of revenge between Krampus and Santa set in rural West Virginia, and his latest concoction, “Lost Gods” one man’s determined trek through the brutal landscape of purgatory, “Slewfoot” a historical horror novel of witchery and vengeance, set in colonial America.

Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere in the drizzly Northwest. There he subsists on poison spiders, centipedes, and bad kung-fu flicks. When not eating bugs, he is ever writing, painting, and trying to reach a happy sing-a-long with the many demons dancing about in his head.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.bromart.com/

AUDIBLE

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR:
[headshots by David Perlman]

Barrie Kreinik is an award-winning audiobook narrator with titles produced by

Macmillan, Hachette, Penguin Random House, Harper, Podium, Tantor, Audible, and AudioGO.

She specializes in accents and dialects, particularly those of the British Isles. And she does it perfectly.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.barriekreinik.com/

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THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT by Heather B. Moore RELEASES TODAY!!! Check out the special offer for book buyers and invite the author to virtually attend your book club – BASED ON A TRUE STORY

Title: THE SLOW MARCH OF LIGHT

Author: HEATHER B. MOORE

Publication Date: 9/7/21

ISBN: 9781629729282

Retail Price: $26.99 (Hardcover)

Page Count: 368

Genre: Historical Fiction

Cover: Image by
BrianScantlebury/Shutterstock

Endsheet Image by: Naeblys/Shutterstock

Book Design: © Shadow Mountain

Design: Sheryl Dickert Smith

Art Direction: Richard Erickson

SYNOPSIS:

Sometimes all you have is hope.

In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing
Berlin. Aware of the many whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking
her life to help East Germans escape across the Berlin Wall and into the West.

Bob Inama, a soldier in the US Army, is stationed in West Germany. He’s glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he doesn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob’s special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany, identifying
possible targets for the US military. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and the danger of being caught and sent to a brutal East German prison lurks on every corner.

Best-selling author HEATHER B. MOORE masterfully alternates the stories of Bob and Luisa, capturing the
human drama unique to Cold War Germany was well as the courage and the resilience of the human
spirit.

http://www.shadowmountain.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Heather B. Moore is a USA Today best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy publications. She has lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States, including Hawaii, and attended school abroad including the Cairo American College in Egypt, and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about history and is passionate about historical research.

Help Heather B. Moore get her latest novel, The Slow March of Light, to hit the New York Times best-seller list by purchasing a copy between September 6-11.

Everyone who submits a copy of their receipt and fills out this form during the week of September 6-11 will receive The Slow March of Light – Swag Bundle*.

*While supplies last. Click here for terms and conditions.

Available From The Above Resellers

MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM:

Title: MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM 

Subtitle: TWENTY-FIVE TALES OF TRUE CRIME AND DARK HISTORY

Author: MIKE BROWNE

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Length: 337 PAGES

Publisher: HARPER COLLINS CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781443461597

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

https://omny.fm/shows/dark-poutine-true-crime-and-dark-history/did-they-get-it-right-the-rafay-family-murders/embed

DESCRIPTION:

Mike Browne, host of the popular Canadian podcast Dark Poutine, chronicles some of his all-time favourite stories of true crime and dark history from Canada and around the world.

Divided into four sections —Murders with a Twist, Perpetual Puzzles, The Madness of Crowds and Notable Disasters — all the stories in this collection (except two) are brand new and haven’t been covered by the podcast.

In Murders with a Twist, Browne recounts seven true crime stories with atypical elements, including weird motives, unusual perpetrators and bizarre murder weapons. In one case, we meet a man who is willing to kill to possess a human voice. In another, two women play a deadly game to prove their love to each other.

Perpetual Puzzles covers six stories that remain unresolved and will leave you with more questions than answers. They include the archaeological find of the century, which turns out to be something far more sinister, as well as the discovery of a dead man on the beach with a mysterious clue in his pocket.

The Madness of Crowds reveals that murder and mayhem are sometimes a group effort. We meet two young Canadians who leave home one summer to find work and instead end up on a murder spree, and a bizarre California cult that asks its members to topple the Mormon church.

The book concludes with Notable Disasters, which describes some of the most tragic and deadly events in history, including the deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, as well as the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017.

The book includes a foreword by Alan R. Warren, bestselling true crime author and host of the House of Mystery Radio Show.

MY REVIEW:

I am a True Crime fan. I listen and subscribe to several true crime podcasts. As I live in Canada, I am extra interested in those podcasts which are Canadian based. It is through that medium that I first became aware of Mike Browne.

Mike Browne is the host and creator of the “Dark Poutine” podcast. When I learned he was planning to author a book of true stories, I was immediately intrigued. I wondered if he would simply convert episodes of the podcast into written form or if he planned to tell all-new tales.

I now have my answer.

Instead of rehashing stories he had previously covered, MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM is filled with new and fascinating true stories.

The book contains a total of 25 stories, which have been divided into four categories.

Those categories are:

MURDER WITH A TWIST: which contains seven stories that prove that truth really is stranger than fiction. The strangest is the story about spelling out the word M-U-R-D-E-R.

PERPETUAL PUZZLES consists of six stories that remain mysteries to this day. These tales are guaranteed to leave readers wondering.  

THE MADNESS OF CROWDS delves into the weirdness that can develop when twisted people join together. This section includes the story of the “Heaven’s Gate” cult.

Last, but not least, is the section called Notable Disasters.

NOTABLE DISASTERS is not a typical chapter you would find in any other true crime book… This is a good thing. I love that Author Mike Browne included such events as the horrific Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, and the story of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, England that took the lives of 72 people and injured more than 60 others in June of 2017.

The Grenfell Tower Fire

You will definitely want your friends and family to read this book so that you can discuss it with them. If you work in an office, this book is sure to heat up conversations around the water cooler.

One of the characteristics that I most appreciate about Mike Browne is that he does not cheapen his stories by resorting to shock value. He includes enough details to ensure the reader understands the magnitude of what the victims suffered, but does not include gratuitous gore.

Mike Browne is a fabulous podcast host, and now he has expanded into being a fantastic author as well.

I look forward to his next book as well as to the next episode of Dark Poutine.

I rate MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM as a solid 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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https://omny.fm/shows/dark-poutine-true-crime-and-dark-history/sins-of-the-father-the-delorme-affair/embed

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MIKE BROWNE’s curiosity, love of storytelling, and lifelong interest in the true-crime genre led him to create the popular, award-winning Dark Poutine podcast in 2017.

New episodes released weekly cover true crime and dark Canadian history, with a smattering of stories from around the world. Mike’s experience as a trauma survivor is evident in the compassion and thoughtful connection he brings to the stories he writes and voices.

Mike is also a regular co-host on the radio show The House of Mystery, which plays nightly on KCAA in Los Angeles.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

DARK POUTINE PODCAST

GOODREADS

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

https://omny.fm/shows/dark-poutine-true-crime-and-dark-history/refrew-county-rampage-carol-culleton-anastasia-kuz/embed

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To learn more about the DARK POUTINE Podcast Click on the following links:

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FACEBOOK GROUP – YUMBER YARD

TWITTER

PATREON

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PUBLISHER – HARPER COLLINS – VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

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GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

YAKS CAN DO YOGA! BOOK BLITZ TODAY!!! – A #Fabulous #kidlit #childrensbook about #mindfulness and #yoga with #adorable #animal #illustrations (aimed at ages 3-11)

Title: YAKS CAN DO YOGA!

Author: Snezana Danilovic

Illustrator: Sandy Thornton 

BOOK BLOG TOUR COMING SOON

DESCRIPTION:

Yoga makes children happy, healthy and strong!

But if you are a clumsy yak, with wobbly hooves, who has never done yoga before, it can be tricky. Join Yak in her first Happy Panda class and see how she discovers the power and playfulness of yoga.

Eight yoga poses and their benefits are clearly explained and illustrated at the back of the book so young children can easily do them at home or in the classroom.

Yoga is for everyone! Adorable, engaging characters and humorous story draw in young children and get them hooked on yoga, creating healthy mind-body habits to last a lifetime.

Mindfulness and meditation are lots and fun! The story’s humorous, creative visualisation exercises tap into young children’s innate imagination, facilitating a deeper understanding of their emotions and developing confidence and resilience.

Author and experienced children’s yoga teacher Snezana Danilovic and illustrator Sandy Thornton team up to create the Happy Panda Children’s Yoga picture book series of heart-warming stories full of gentle humour, aimed at encouraging even very young children to get hooked on yoga. Parents, teachers and educators don’t need to be experienced yogis – they can learn and enjoy yoga alongside young readers, too!

YAKS CAN DO YOGA! IS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES.

Buy Link:

https://amzn.to/3hcuv3s

https://youtu.be/kbVLkGePXNY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Snezana Danilovic is a children’s author and an experienced children’s yoga teacher.

Her mission is to bring yoga to children through her passion for storytelling.

She has spent the last 30 years writing and working in theatre and children’s TV, creating an array of characters for pre-school and early years.

Snezana lives in Windsor with her husband, two children and a hamster.

She loves hugging trees and her house is full of balloons and musical instruments!

To learn more about this Author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

TWITTER  

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Sandy Thornton is a picture book maker with over 20 years experience in early years creative play, running her own children’s art & craft classes, whilst providing creative ideas and content for children’s TV, including Cbeebies Mr Maker. From an early age, Sandy snipped, sketched, glued and stapled her own little books and magazines, influenced at the time by Herge’s Tintin and Jansson’s Moomins. Sandy lives in North London, with her family, their dog Winston and cat Rocky.

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

YOUTUBE

BOOK BLITZ ORGANIZED BY:

UNSILENCED: A Teacher’s Year of Battles, Breakthroughs and Life-Changing Lessons at Belchertown State School by HOWARD C. SHANE is an unforgettable and compelling story of finding hope and inspiration in the most unlikely of places – THE MOST IMPORTANT MEMOIR YOU WILL READ IN 2021 – 5+ STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: UNSILENCED

Subtitle: A Teacher’s Year of Battles, Breakthroughs, and Life-Changing Lessons at Belchertown State School 

Author: HOWARD C. SHANE   

Genre: NON-FICTION, DISABILITIES, HISTORY, MEMOIRS, DISCRIMINATION

Length: 254 PAGES

Publisher: BROOKES PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 1, 2021

ISBN: 9781681255156

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

https://m.facebook.com/watch/?v=898640163601782&_rdr

DESCRIPTION:

The year is 1969, and fresh-out-of-college smart-aleck Howard Shane has just landed his first teaching job—at Belchertown State School, a bleak institution where people with disabilities endure endless days of silence, tedium, and neglect.

Howard is stunned by the conditions at Belchertown and the challenges of his new job, but as he gets to know his diverse, endearing, and intelligent students, he becomes consumed with a mission: to unlock their communication skills and help them reach their full potential. Pitting his youthful idealism and passion against the rigidity of a rule-bound administrator, Howard battles his way to small joys and victories with his students—and, along the way, learns just as much as he teaches.

A stirring and spellbinding memoir from internationally renowned AAC expert Howard Shane (Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Unsilenced is a candid look at a pivotal era in disability history and a deeply personal account of how all human beings can flourish when we care for each other and fight for change.

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MY REVIEW:

“It began in 1969, at a school with a name that’s repellent to modern ears: ‘Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded.’ Located in the sleepy town of Belchertown, Massachusetts, it was a grim institution where children with a wide range of disabilities were warehoused for nearly a century. At that time, parents of children with disabilities had few alternatives when it came to raising and educating their children.”

This fantastic memoir is an important addition to the history of people with disabilities. This is a story that MUST be told.

A scan of a 35mm slide taken of one of the dorms at BSS likely in the late 1970s.

Howard Shane was only 22 when he took a teaching position at the Belchertown State School. Much has been written about the institutions where “disabled” people were warehoused in the past. However, this book is completely unlike any other.

Ruth Sienkewicz-Mercer – Born in Northampton, MA, Ruth suffered a severe bout of encephalitis at five weeks old and at 13 months was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Ruth was admitted to Belchertown as a teen and spent the next 8 years in a bed on a ward for schizophrenics. In 1969, Ruth was introduced to a new teacher, Howard Shane, who, with the help of the physical therapist, created the first alternative communication device that allowed Ruth to communicate more widely. By then, the nurses on the ward had already figured out that Ruth communicated using eye movements and facial expressions.

Institutions such as the Belchertown State School were not places of learning as one would expect from the name. It’s full name says much about the commonly held attitudes of the time: The Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded. These were NOT places where hope or inspiration could be found. Instead, the residents were taught either only the basics of self-care, or were taught nothing at all.

Residents (patients) were often left with little or no access to external stimuli and had little access to educational materials.

When Howard Shane arrived to begin his teaching position, he had no idea that it would shape his entire future.

With A and K Building demolished, the worst conditions could be found in the other two large scale residential buildings: G Building and the Infirmary shown here where residents far outnumbered staff and there was little day to day activity on the wards to enrich the residents’ time there. The residents of the infirmary rarely left their beds unless it was to spend time on mats that were spread out on the floor. From Instagram.

Determined to actually educate his students, who were the most severely physically disabled residents of the “school,” Howard devised a way for the non-verbal students to actually communicate. This invention changed the lives of his students in untold ways.

In the early 1940s the residents attended the Belchertown fair and enjoyed riding the carousel so much that the administration decided to purchase one for the school. In 1948 they purchased a c. 1912 Stein & Goldstein Carousel from Forest Lake Park in Palmer. Obtained from the Belchertown State School Friends on Instagram

His dedication to actually educating his students caused him to butt heads with the administration continuously. His views were seen as radical and his goals for his students were seen as unrealistic and a waste of time.

This book will grab your attention and is 100% unputdownable. Readers will find themselves rooting, not only for Howard Shane, but also for the students in his unconventional classroom.

This book is important. We need to remember the past and how people with disabilities were viewed and treated. This knowledge is essential so that society is never allowed to slip back into believing the uneducated views of the past.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who believes that every person, despite their physical and mental disabilities, are important and deserve the chance to be happy and to live a fulfilling life.

I am very much hoping that Dr. Howard Shane decides to write a follow up to this memoir. I would be extremely interested in hearing more about his career and the devices he helped to create. In my view, Howard C. Shane is an exceptional human being and his life and work need to be celebrated.

I rate this book as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be eagerly awaiting the next volume of his memoirs.
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*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

* Hear an Excerpt Read by Howard Shane, Ph.D. here: 

https://products.brookespublishing.com/Unsilenced-P1285.aspx

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From: AsylumProjects.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Howard Shane, Ph.D.,is an associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Center for Communication Enhancement and the Autism Language Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

He has designed more than a dozen computer applications used widely by persons with disabilities and holds two U.S. patents.

Dr. Shane has received Honors of the Association Distinction and is a fellow of the American Speech and Hearing Association.

He is the recipient of the Goldenson Award for Innovations in Technology from the United Cerebral Palsy Association and has authored numerous papers and chapters on severe speech impairment, lectured throughout the world on the topic, and produced numerous computer innovations enjoyed by persons with complex communication disorders.

https://images.app.goo.gl/WfN2yAadxXCmtzgi8

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

WIKIPEDIA

BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

BROOKES is the premier publisher of practical, research-based resources that support children’s healthy development and boost the learning and success of all people, with and without disabilities. We partner with pioneers and fresh voices to inspire readers and provide them with the tools needed to help all learners achieve academic success and work toward a bright future.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL:

Photograph obtained from http://www.asylumprojects.org
This photo shows dinner being served in one of the women’s buildings at the Belchertown State School in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Food was prepared for residents at a central kitchen and delivered to the various dormitories.
Note the Buster Brown haircuts on most of the women–the preferred style because it was said to be easier for the staff to do than anything else. (Photo courtesy of the Clapp Memorial Library)
In this 1972 photo, empty beds at the Belchertown State School are pictured. James Shanks reported in his 1970 expose on the conditions at Belchertown State School where men slept in large barracks, beds touching head to foot, with only a narrow twelve-inch aisle separating rows. Sometimes residents had to climb over one another to get to and from their beds. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Albertson/CORBIS)

The Following Photos and Links have nothing to do with Dr. Howard Shane’s memoir. They are included here as additional content I found interesting:

INFORMATION ON THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL

From: The ATLAS OBSCURA WEBSITE

THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL FOR THE FEEBLE-MINDED was founded in 1922.

The 845 acre campus comprising some 57 buildings must be called scenic, if nothing else—the Holyoke Range is visible from the campus, and many of the original structures were old farmhouse cottages (five farms were purchased to build the school).

After its establishment, the school became the only institution for developmentally disabled children in Western Massachusetts. Conditions deteriorated over the next few decades. Wards were overcrowded and attendants overworked. As a result, patients were often left to soak for hours in their own excrement. Sometimes, handicapped patients had their teeth removed to facilitate feeding.

In 1992, the school was finally closed after decades of reported human rights violations. In 1994, the campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the buildings are all boarded up. Graffiti and vandalism are rampant. Many of the ward rooms have been destroyed. Weather has also done its fair share of damage. The buildings have asbestos and, while possible to walk in, aren’t structurally sound.

However relics remain of the old school. One room in a large dormitory building still has plastic mats nailed to the walls—a padded cell. Large recreational rooms on either side of the dormitory halls get the most sun. The light is fractured by old-fashioned wheelchairs. In the basement of one building, a piano is lying on its back like a sleeping horse.

And, while the town of Belchertown may have forgotten this nasty piece of its history in the few decades since the state school was closed, it is possible the former residents still remember. In an upper floor, a note was scrawled on the floor, on top of which were human feces. “We were here. Now we’re gone,” it read. “Clean this place up. It’s a mess!”

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

The grounds are conveniently located right behind the Belchertown Police Department. There are No Trespassing signs, and the local paper reports trespassers being arrested on a weekly basis.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you might find the following links interesting:

ARTICLE: Abandoned New England: Photos from inside the old Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded by Matt Hester, Freelance Photographer on MASSLIVE website

Book: Crimes Against Humanity: A Historical Perspective. It was written by Benjamin Ricci, who sent his six-year-old son Bobby to live there not knowing what the conditions were like, and who was involved in the initial 1972 lawsuit.

Another book with vivid descriptions of Belchertown is Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer’s I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes. She was a resident of the school in the 1960s and 1970s. Ruth was one of Howard Shane’s students.

BOOK: THE BOYS AND GIRLS OF BELCHERTOWN by Robert Hornick