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

*************************************

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

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. ***

*************************************

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:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
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  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

********************************************

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.

**********************************************

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

*************************************

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

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. ***

*

*

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:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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FACEBOOK

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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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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