IT’S RELEASE DAY – John Carpenter’s Storm Kids: SACRED HEARTS IS NOW AVAILABLE – This graphic novel is targeted at young adult horror fans and readers will find themselves unable to put it down

Back Cover

Title: SACRED HEARTS  

Series: JOHN CARPENTER PRESENTS STORM KIDS: BOOK FOUR

Author: STEVE NILES

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, COMICS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Length: 152 PAGES

Publisher: STORM KING COMICS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JULY 27, 2021

ISBN: 9781734389104

Price: $23.99 USD (PAPERBACK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

For Chris, Dirk and Shelley, life in their small town has always been quiet. But they have all heard about the Franklin Farm… a place they should never go near.

The Franklin Farm

When the three best friends decide to build a tree fort in the woods, they dare each other to go to there in search of wood, and find themselves in a strange world they never expected, setting off a terrible chain of events.

Building the fort

In this place, monsters are created, and an ancient evil from an old family curse is rising within their little town. But in all the chaos, they come to learn that not all monsters are bad. Some are special… some are born with a Sacred Heart… From his horrific beginnings, this special Monster was born from a broken pact with evil, and somehow a door to a dark world had been opened. With the help of their new Monstrous friend, the kids try to stop the destructive forces happening all around them, and end the curse once and for all.

MY REVIEW:

I was drawn to this graphic novel because of seeing “John Carpenter” on the cover. But, that alone would not have been enough to make me love this graphic novel as much as I do.

This is the 4th book in a series, but each novel is a standalone seperate story. This means that you can read them in any order, or just read this one. But, now that I have read one of the novels, I want to read them all.

Even though this is a horror story, it is targeted at the young adult (or full adult) audience. The gore is kept to a minimum and I recommend it for ages thirteen and up.

The story itself will resonate with anyone who has grown up in a small town. Every small town seems to have at least one house or property that is rumored to be haunted or evil. SACRED HEARTS is no different.

The Sheriff

In this case, three friends – Chris, Dirk, and Shelley are building a fort in the woods outside of their town. When they realize they need more wood to be able to finish it, they remember seeing an old pile of boards beside the barn on the Franklin farm.

Retrieving that wood sets off a chain of events they could never have expected. Curses, pacts with the devil, and a monsterous creature unlike anything the kids have ever seen are only a few of the surprises awaiting readers.

The entertainment value of this graphic novel is off the charts. It also highlights some basic life lessons such as never judging someone by their appearance, and the value of true friendships.

The illustrations are utterly fabulous. I particularly liked the way the illustrators used dark and light to highlight the difference between the scenes of good versus those of evil.

Willie of ‘Willie’s Towing’
Close to the Franklin Farm

I highly recommend this graphic novel to everyone who loves a tale of good against evil. I rate SACRED HEARTS as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE CREATORS:

A Note From the Publisher

John Carpenter Presents Storm Kids brings horror and sci-fi stories to YA and MG audiences.

Brought to you by Sandy King’s Storm King Comics and the Master of Horror himself, John Carpenter, Sacred Hearts is the fourth story in the anthology series. As a mature version of childrens’ books like “Where the Wild Things Are”,The Gruffalo”, and “Leonardo, the Terrible Monster”, Sacred Hearts shows us that not all monsters are bad.

Like the young adults’ book, “No Place for Monsters” but with its own twist, Sacred Hearts takes us on a journey with children trying to save their town from a curse, while exploring what exactly makes monsters good or evil.

With twists and turns, and a backstory that comes full circle, this story contains revelations on how we as a society view monsters.

Steve Niles’ name is synonymous with the Horror genre. He is credited among other contemporary writers as bringing horror comics back to prominence, best known for 30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre, October Faction, Simon Dark, and Batman: Gotham County Line. Steve’s comic series, The October Faction, was made into a successful Netflix show in 2020.

His comic, 30 Days of Night, was released in 2007 as a major motion picture.

Nat Jones is one of the industry’s top horror and dark fantasy artists, he has worked with many of horrors’ most recognized creators and filmmakers including Rob Zombie, Guillermo del Toro, Steve Niles, Todd Mcfarlane and Joe Hill.

A 5 STAR YA Graphic Novel ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

PEACE – A fabulous children’s book with an important message RELEASES TODAY!!!

Title: PEACE

Authors: MIRANDA PAUL and BAPTISTE PAUL

Illustrator: ESTELÍ MEZA

Genre: CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Length: 40 PAGES

Publisher: NORTH SOUTH BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 2, 2021

ISBN: 9780735844490

Price: $18.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

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

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

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

MY REVIEW:

PEACE – The title says it all.

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

Baptiste and Miranda Paul

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

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

The whimsical illustrations are beautiful and exquisite.

Bold colors are liberally used to draw the eye across the pages.

Each two-page spread is so fantastic they are worthy of being framed and hung in a child’s bedroom or playroom.

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

German version
Spanish version

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

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

The Authors

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

ABOUT BAPTISTE PAUL:

Baptiste Paul

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

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

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://baptistepaul.net

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK  

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

****************************
ABOUT AUTHOR MIRANDA PAUL:

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

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.mirandapaul.com 

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

YOUTUBE

AMAZON  

PINTEREST

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

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

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

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

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://estelimeza.com

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE


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

Title: THE BABYSITTER

Subtitle: MY SUMMERS WITH A SERIAL KILLER

Authors: LIZA RODMAN and JENNIFER JORDAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Length: 352 PAGES

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

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781982129491 (eBook)

Price: $17.99 CDN (eBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

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

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

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

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

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

TONY COSTA – Picture Obtained from Wikipedia

MY REVIEW:

Chilling. Horrifying. Almost Unbelievable. Terrifying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photograph by Joel Benjamin

ARTICLE ABOUT SERIAL KILLER TONY COSTA – Written by Kurt Vonnegut

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

Title: SMITHY

Author: AMANDA DESIREE 

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, MYSTERY, THRILLER

Length: 500 PAGES

Publisher: INKSHARES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 13, 2021

ISBN: 9781950301218 (Paperback)

Price: $18.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Photo By: Erik Müller

DESCRIPTION:

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

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

Photo By: Francesco Ungaro

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

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

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

MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

The Gatehouse

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

Photo By: @felipepelaquim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another one of the magnificent mansions in Newport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

She currently lives in the Los Angeles area.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

GOOGLE BOOKS 

BOOKSHOP.ORG 

FANTASTIC FICTION

AMAZON   

***********

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

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

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

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK  

TUMBLR

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

Newport, Rhode Island

‘TIL NIAGARA FALLS is based on the true story of Annie Edson Taylor who planned to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Did she do it? And if so, did she survive?

Title: ‘TIL NIAGARA FALLS

BASED ON THE TRUE STORY OF:                            ANNIE EDSON TAYLOR 

Author: KATERIE MORIN

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, BASED ON A TRUE STORY

Length: 287 PAGES

Publisher: Po84 PRODUCTIONS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: 2018

ISBN: 978-1-948133-00-5 (EBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Photo from the Francis J. Petrie Collection – Located at the Niagara Falls Library

DESCRIPTION:

1901. When a train robbery destroy’s Annie’s plans for a quiet life, she reinvents herself as a redheaded daredevil and heads to Niagara Falls, determined to be the first person to survive going over it in a barrel – or to die trying.

But when Annie arrives in Niagara, she unwittingly walks into a turf war between two crime bosses vying to control the illegal gambling, extortion and prostitution that hum below Niagara’s honeymoon veneer.

As Annie comes to realize that water is not the only danger in Niagara, her relationship with a riverman threatens her plans to fall.

Based on the true story of Annie Edson Taylor

MY REVIEW:

Annie Edson Taylor. Does this name mean anything to you? Have you ever heard of her?

I hadn’t. But after reading ‘TIL NIAGARA FALLS, I can guarantee that I will never remember her from this day forward. 

I live in Ontario, Canada and have visited the city of Niagara Falls more than fifty times over the years. Yet, somehow the fascinating tale of retired schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor had never reached my ears. It makes me wonder if Annie had been a man, would I have heard the story? Sadly, I believe the answer to that question is a yes.

Although this is a fictionalized version of her story, the key facts are historically accurate.

Annie was unique. She was not the “typical” woman of her era. Firstly, she was educated in many subjects including mathematics and the sciences which were often seen as the realm of men. She was a retired schoolteacher with a keen mind and she exceptionally good at physics and engineering.

Annie was as unlike the daredevils who preceded her in attempting to survive going over the Falls in a barrel, as night is to day. She applied everything she had learned into figuring out a way she could (hopefully) survive the “Fall.”

The author has included many wonderfully colorful characters into the story, many of whom were based on real people.

This story has everything readers could possibly hope for in a work of historical fiction right down to historically accurate descriptions of outfits of the era and the attitudes as to what was “proper” at the time.

If you have ever been to Niagara Falls, or have even just seen the Falls in photographs, I highly doubt any one of us would ever consider going over that massive waterfall, even with the best safety gear available. To think of the complete lack of availability of safety equipment in 1901, it is little wonder that many people perished in that swirling maelstrom of water. Annie was one very brave and very determined woman and I salute her.

Cave of the Winds
To get super close to the Falls—and to feel their power—a must-do attraction is Cave of the Winds. You walk down wooden stairs to stand directly in front of Bridal Veil Falls. Then you walk up to the Hurricane Deck, where you are literally standing underneath the thundering waterfall. It’s a great way to get a sense of the power and amount of water that drops every second. It’s interesting to note that the decks are removed and rebuilt every year to prevent ice damage in the winter. When rebuilding the decks, the workers can work only 20 minutes at a time because the water is so frigid.

You should pick up a copy of this book at your first opportunity. It is a heart-pumping, thrill ride of a read and you will find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat thanks to the non-stop action. 

I have no choice but to rate ‘TIL NIAGARA FALLS as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ It deserves nothing less.

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

*** DOWNLOAD A FREE PDF PREVIEW OF THIS BOOK ***

Annie Edson Taylor, who was about 62 when she became the first, and oldest, person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katerie Morin is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced in the U.S., broadcast in New Zealand, and published in China. With musician Pan Morrigan, she created the radio play Castles of Gold, which was later released as a spoken word album on Green Linnet Records, featuring performances by Frank McCourt and Roma Downey. 

Katerie received her M.F.A in Playwriting from the University of Washington and her B.A. from Smith College. She lives outside of Boston with her family.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

AMAZON

AUDIBLE

ITUNES

CHAPTERS

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

Rare portrait of Annie Taylor
Description from a cracked stereocopticon slide

****
Test barrel

Title Annie Taylor’s barrel being taken out for an experimental trip over the falls
Creator Zahner, M. H.
http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=93169&b=1

******

Photo showing anvil

Annie Taylor’s barrel with an anvil attached to the bottom so she would float through the Rapids
Medium Photograph
Extent 5″ x 5.75″ black & white photograph
Description photograph has diagonal lines running through it
Notes The intention of the anvil was to ensure that Annie would go over the Falls head up
Date October 4, 1901.
Collection General Photograph Collection
http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=90555&b=1

******

The barrel and its living freight being towed to the starting-point / Annie Taylor
Creator Zahner, M. H.
Medium Scan from book
Description Scan from book
Notes Scanned from Over Niagara in a Barrel by Orrin E. Dunlap. Published by World Wide Magazine, 1902
Provenance Local History Collection
Date 1901.

http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=93172&b=1

**********
Mrs. Annie Edson Taylor ready to start above the Falls
Medium Photograph
Extent 3.75″ x 3″ black & white ‘ a copy from a stereo image by M. H. Zahner Publisher in the Library of Congress Washington D.C.
Description negative A41475 436
Provenance Library of Congress Washington D.C.
Collection Niagara Falls Heritage Foundation Collection
Old Call Number NFHAP v.6 p.53
Rights Library of Congress Washington D.C.
http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=89292&b=1

Coming February 2nd – THE FOUR WINDS by Bestselling Author KRISTIN HANNAH – Her Best Book Yet plus a sneak peek at the the new Netflix series based on one of her books

Title: THE FOUR WINDS   

Author: KRISTIN HANNAH

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 464 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEB. 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781250178602

Price: $28.99 USD 37.00 CDN

Rating: 10 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In closing, I say: BUY THIS BOOK.

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: Kevin Lynch

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

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

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

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://kristinhannah.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

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

“Where Is My Happy Ending?” is a newly released follow up to Karen Harmon’s first book. This is a 5 Star read and the perfect, uplifting book to read in these uncertain times.

Title: WHERE IS MY HAPPY ENDING?  

Subtitle: A JOURNEY OF NO REGRETS 

Author: KAREN HARMON

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, HISTORY, CANADIANA

Length: 365 PAGES

Publisher: TELLWELL PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: JULY 2020

ISBN: 978-0-2288-2948-5 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0-2288-2949-2 (Softcover)
ISBN: 978-0–2288-2947-8 (EBook)

Price: $23.00 CDN (Hardcover)
Price: $18.00 CDN (Softcover)
Price: $8.99 CDN (EBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

On her mother’s urging to go on and have a big, beautiful, and adventurous life, Karen leaves her home in the country at the tender age of seventeen. Abandoning her family, her horse, and her teenage dreams, she embraces life in the big city of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Looking for love in all the wrong places while maneuvering through dead-end jobs, the night club scene, and a slew of unsavory characters, Karen finds herself perpetually searching for Mr. Right. Lacking direction in a lifestyle that involves drugs, alcohol, and the wrong men, Karen wonders when her knight in shining armour will arrive.

Where Is My Happy Ending? is a true story about a girl who enters adulthood after having been raised in a home plagued by mental illness.

Left to her own devices, Karen stumbles through the highs and lows, tragedies and turmoils of the 1970s disco scene, ’80s era of modern love, and into the 1990s, not sure how she got there or how to get out.

Karen’s wit, storytelling abilities, and simplicity in looking at life will keep you engaged from start to finish, with an evident reminder—it’s not what the world can bring to you, it’s what you can bring to the world.

MY REVIEW:

According to the author, this book was inspired by the Me Too Movement. She says that: “It dawned on me that every woman I know has had some situations, some unsavory characters in their life, and it felt right to share mine.”

Karen left home at the age of seventeen. She moved from a rural property where she had her own horse and moved to Vancouver – the big city. It was the era of disco and Karen embraced the freedom that came with life in the 1970s.

She had her share of crappy jobs and crappier boyfriends and shares her experiences with her readers.

In addition to telling of her own exploits, she seamlessly integrates the trends of the era and her detailed descriptions of the music of the day and the backdrop of historically significant events allows the reader to connect deeply with the story.

There were several times when I actually laughed out loud and ended up reading certain sections to my husband to explain my outbursts. He ended up laughing along with me.

This may be a personal memoir, but Karen is all of us, women (at least those who were born in the 60s and 70s.)

Karen was correct when she mentioned that every woman experiences scary, or at the very least, unsettling situations. I know that I have a few stories that would terrify those who love me if they knew about them.

The author’s ability to paint a picture with words is such that many other authors should be jealous of. For example, when visiting friends of her boyfriend in the resort town of Canmore, Alberta, she describes the scene with vivid clarity. I was easily able to picture the setting in my mind.

Kevin and Patsy were the caretakers for a resort that consisted of ten small cabins, keeping within the Rocky Mountain Alpine theme. The cottages looked like images in a children’s storybook; gingerbread houses that were missing the decorations of gumdrops, candy canes and Smarties. Dark brown miniature log homes, with scalloped white trim and matching window boxes, now void of flowers, were piled with snow to the bottom of the window ledges. These cozy rental dwellings all had chimneys puffing out smoke from the stone fireplaces within.”

Can you see this idyllic setting in your mind’s eye? I know I can.

In the end, although there are some not so wonderful things that Karen experiences, the overall feeling and theme of this book is HOPE.

The author’s message to readers is to “Never give up and never stop believing in yourself.” All of us could use this advice from time to time.

This true story is very much worth reading and I will be patiently awaiting the next book in her series of memoirs. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long.

I rate WHERE IS MY HAPPY ENDING? as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and because author Karen Harmon is Canadian, I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 Canadian Flags

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen Harmon is an author born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, where she resides today.

Educated and employed as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant for the School District of West Vancouver, Karen can also be found teaching a variety of exercise classes as a BCRPA fitness instructor in both North and West Vancouver. Karen takes health, family and fitness seriously but can find humour in almost any situation.

As a mother of three adult children Jessica, Emma and Mackenzie, Karen shares her co-parenting with her husband Paul of twenty-three years.

Karen is passionate about reaching out to the marginalized people in
her community through health and fitness. Her main hobby has been cycling with her “bike trip friends” yearly since 1993 all over British Columbia and parts of the United States.

On social media, Karen has over 8,000 followers and has travelled to Belgium, Germany, Holland, Paris, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia to host events and speak to her many supporters.

She offers an
inspirational message of hope and how to find a successful balance
with family, friends, education, work and play.

Karen is currently accepting invitations for speaking engagements and writing festivals.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

LINKEDIN

CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS

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

https://www.doogood.online/karen-harmon?fbclid=IwAR15x8L7oBCJ86-ZQFZfGXjaQc2JvB6Nh7514MVxs-z3begUgunlDHH-kXo

NEW RELEASE – WHY IS MOMMY CRYING? by I. Cori Baill & illustrated by Heather Bell

Title: WHY IS MOMMY CRYING?

Subtitle: Explaining Early Pregnancy Loss to Young Children 

Author: I. CORI BAILL, MD 

Illustrator: HEATHER BELL

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, PARENTING AND FAMILIES

Length: 34 PAGES

Publisher: GREENLEAF BOOK GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 19, 2021

ISBN: 9781632993779

Price: $11.95 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

DESCRIPTION:

One is often at a loss how to engage with those in grief, whether adult or child. Because miscarriage affects about a third of pregnancies, most readers likely know someone who has experienced this sadness.

This beautifully illustrated, inclusive, nondenominational picture book helps recipients of every age know that the door is open, and a caring person is on the other side. Written by an experienced physician, Why is Mommy Crying? comforts in the context of family and the larger universe. Young ones are also helped in navigating their fears.

The young protagonist, Max, uses his imagination, and accompanied by his stuffed animal, Mink, begins to understand what has made his mother sad. His imagery and ideas offer a gentle springboard to discuss with children and the adults who love them the broader concepts surrounding grief and recovery.

MY REVIEW:

My first thought when I saw this book was that it was very important and a necessary addition to children’s libraries everywhere. After reading I still think it is wonderful that there is a book available for parents to read to their kids if the parents experience the loss of a pregnancy.

I firmly believe that information is power which is why I chose to read and review this children’s book.

When Max wakes up in the middle of the night, he grabs his stuffed animal (named Mink) and decides to go to his parents’ bedroom. On his way there, he sees his mother in a different room and she is crying.

Curious and worried, Max asks his mother of she has an “owwie” and offers to get her a Band-Aid. His mother says: “No son, I don’t need a Band-Aid. It’s not that kind of owwie.” Max hops up on his Mom’s lap and asks how she had gotten an owwie.

The mother’s response is where this book will lose many of its potential readership. I am a Canadian and as such, am very proud of our multicultural environment. Maybe I am just oversensitive to books that exclude large segments of the population.

Once religious beliefs are introduced into a children’s book, any potential reader whose beliefs are different from those expressed in the book, will be turned off and will not be interested in purchasing that book. I believe this is the case with WHY IS MOMMY CRYING? However, the Christian segment of the population may be even more interested in this book because it talks about God, so maybe this will balance out.

Although this book does not identify with any specific sect, it is clearly intended for Christian households. In my opinion, this is a shame. I believe that a message of love and understanding could easily have been incorporated without mentioning God.

The mother tells Max that “Sometimes a baby returns to be with God.” She further explains that; “God will take care of our baby.” 

The illustrations are fabulous and I like the fact that the mother and father seem to be an interracial couple. The mother is white and the father has brown skin. It is important to have books that reflect the diversity in today’s world. So, kudos for that.

However, because the author is a doctor and therefore (in my mind) a person of science, I was not expecting this book to contain references to God. I expected a more scientific, but still age appropriate, explanation as to why Max’s mother was sad and why the pregnancy ended. I was very disappointed that this was not the case. 

The author does include a list of “Additional Resources” at the end of the book which offer organization names and websites where more information about grief and grieving can be found. I think this is a great idea to include in the book.

I rate this book as 3.5 out of 5 Stars which I am rounding up to 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

Dr. I Cori Baill – Author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. I. Cori Baill earned her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in New Brunswick, NJ. Following graduation from medical school, she completed her residency training in Gynecology and Obstetrics at The Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. She then served for three years in the US Public Health Service achieving the rank of Lt. Commander, and in July, 1990 was awarded the United States Public Health Service Achievement Medal.

Dr. I Cori Baill – Author

Dr. Baill is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology by the American Board of Obstetricis and Gynecology. She is a Fellow of the American College of Obstitricians and Gynecologists and is a Certified Menopause Practitioner by the North American Menopause Society. During her medical career of over 30 years, she has been affiliated with Planned Parenthood serving on the National Medical Committee, and as a regional and local Medical Director.  She is currently an advisor, laboratory director, and Florida State House physician liaison for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, our regional affiliate. Dr. Baill is the founder of The Menopause Center in Orlando, FL, where she served as medical director for 12 years.

Dr. Baill has been affiliated with the UCF College of Medicine since its founding, serving as a curriculum advisor, and admissions interviewer. She formally joined the faculty in 2015, and is now an Associate Professor. Dr. Baill holds numerous committee positions, including for UCF College of Medicine Admissions, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and North American Menopause Society.

She is a reviewer for American Family Physician and Bellevue Literary Review.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

LINKEDIN 

AMAZON  

GOOGLE BOOKS   

A beautiful illustration by Heather Bell

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Illustrator Heather Bell

Heather Bell whole-heartedly believes that hidden within our everyday lives is a secret realm glimpsed through books, music, and children’s laughter.

Holding a BFA in Painting from the Kansas City Art Institute, she is a member of SCBWI, a participant in the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge, a Children’s Book Academy graduate, and a mommy.

When not illustrating and writing, she searches out story ideas as an undercover school bus driver.

Heather Bell is an author/illustrator represented by Kaitlyn Sanchez at Olswanger Literary Agency.

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:
https://heatherbellbooks.com

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

ETSY

SOCIETY6

Another gorgeous illustration created by Heather Bell

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

Title: PEACE

Authors: MIRANDA PAUL and BAPTISTE PAUL

Illustrator: ESTELÍ MEZA

Genre: CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Length: 40 PAGES

Publisher: NORTH SOUTH BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 2, 2021

ISBN: 9780735844490

Price: $18.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

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

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

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

MY REVIEW:

PEACE – The title says it all.

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

Baptiste and Miranda Paul

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

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

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

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

German version
Spanish version

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

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

The Authors

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

ABOUT BAPTISTE PAUL:

Baptiste Paul

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

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

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://baptistepaul.net

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK  

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

****************************
ABOUT AUTHOR MIRANDA PAUL:

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

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.mirandapaul.com 

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

YOUTUBE

AMAZON  

PINTEREST

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

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

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

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

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://estelimeza.com

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE


CLARKSTON’S CURSE – One Child’s Quest to Make Sense of the Tragedies in Her Hometown by Ann Margaret Johns is now available. You will be shocked by how many tragedies happened in this small town. This true story will shock and amaze

Title: CLARKSTON’S CURSE

Subtitle: ONE CHILD’S QUEST TO EXPLAIN THE SERIES OF TRAGEDIES IN HER HOMETOWN

Author: ANN MARGARET JOHNS

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

Length: 236 PAGES

Publisher: BOOKS GO SOCIAL

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: 2017

ISBN: 9780999345702

Price: $14.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 3 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Based on actual events, Clarkston’s Curse is the compelling true story of a child growing up in a small town plagued by tragedy.

Fleeing the violence and uncertainty of Detroit and big city living, Ann Margaret’s family moved to Clarkston, Michigan, population 1,024. But this sleepy town has a dark side.

Between 1969 and 1982, more than forty unexplained accidents and incomprehensible murders struck residents of this rural community.

A true story of mystery, murder, family, and friendship, Clarkston’s Curse is a first-hand account of what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and 70s in a small town where tragedy struck with unsettling frequency. More than forty families are forever changed, and thirty people – young and old – didn’t survive to tell their tale. Ann did.

MY REVIEW:

Memoir author Ann Margaret Johns grew up in the small community of Clarkston, Michigan. This quaint town, had just over one-thousand residents at the time.  

This idyllic setting should have been the epitome of the perfect place to experience an all-American country childhood. However, although her childhood was filled with such activities as tobogganing and skating on the local pond, it was also the setting in which she began to believe that her town was cursed due to the almost unbelievable number of tragedies and deaths that took place.

The town of Clarkston certainly had a dark side…

People kept dying in strange ways and in large numbers.  What do I mean by this? Well, here is one example:

The Standring’s were hosting a party in their home that spring. Eric Standring, a sophomore at Clarkston High School, accompanied family friend Paul Lammonds from the party to Paul’s home to fetch a guitar. Two hours later, Eric returned covered in blood and incoherent. Deputies found Paul Lammonds’ body in his home. He’d been beaten to death. Eric had never been in trouble before that night, at least that’s what I heard. No one knew what came over the boy to make him do what he did. Paul’s early, tragic, and unexplained death was the first of many to come in our idyllic small town.”

Other deaths were determined to be accidental, but even these were strange and unusual. There were a couple separate deaths of men working on their cars and ending up crushed beneath them. There were even instances of children being dropped off on doorsteps and raised by the family inside, despite not knowing where the child had come from. There were multiple drownings and an incredible number of car accidents – many of which were almost too weird to be believable.

The author does list all her sources in the back of the book. I also looked up some of the cases online and was able to find newspaper reports that validated her claims.

“Over a 12-year period from 1970 to 1982, this village of 1,300 witnessed 11 different murders – NOT including the notorious serial killer who visited their small town as well.”

“In addition to the murders, Clarkston experienced another 30 unexplained and accidental deaths, from car wrecks to drownings, from freak accidents to plane crashes.”

Fascinating, unusual, unlikely, improbable, yet all true. If you enjoy real life mysteries and true crime, you will not want to miss this book.

As for the rating of this book, I have to admit that I am conflicted. The subject matter is compelling and my interest was piqued early and the level never waned, but, it is exceedingly obvious that this was written by an amateur author and is in need of a professional editor. I found several typos throughout the book. It is for this reason that I am rating CLARKSTON’S CURSE as 3 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐ 

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ann Margaret Johns is a fourth generation Irish immigrant, passionate writer, and CPA by trade who, in spite of the tragedies she witnessed, still lives in Clarkston, Michigan. These days, you can often find Ann and other characters from Clarkston’s Curse sharing stories and a bottle of wine in one of Clarkston’s quaint restaurants.

Ann is currently working on a series of children’s books and memory care books for seniors.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.annmargaretjohns.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON  

NON-FICTION WRITERS ASSOC.