BITCHMEDIA Has Released Their List of 17 Memoirs Feminists Should Read in 2020

BOOKS,CULTURE,BITCH READS and MEMOIRS

BitchReads: 17 Memoirs Feminists Should Read in 2020

Article by Evette Dionne

Published on January 3, 2020

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women by Wayétu Moore, left, All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson and Fairest by Meredith Talusan
(Photo credit: Graywolf Press, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and Viking)

I love a good memoir. Though the ever-expanding genre has been criticized over the decades by people who view them as egotistical and insular, memoirs can be transformative.

Tapping into a person’s unique experience and seeing the world through their eyes for a few hundred pages can expand our individual worldview, help us better understand our own experiences with broader issues—including grief—and introduce us to powerful voices who articulate and excavate their lives in ways that so few of us can.

Among the many memoirs slated for release in 2020, these 17 represent the very best of the genre.

Want more seasonal reads? Make sure to sign up for our email list and we’ll send you a new BitchReads list, every quarter, in partnership with Powell’s Books!

In the Land of Men

By: Adrienne Miller{ Ecco }RELEASED: FEB. 11, 2020 $28.99 PreOrder It Now

If you love fascinating memoirs about women navigating male-dominated industries, then Adrienne Miller’s book should already be in your cart. Miller began her career in media as an editorial assistant at GQ magazine in the 1990s before becoming the first woman to serve as Esquire’s literary editor. Given that media is still an industry run by men—many of them white, many of them powerful, and way too many of them drunk on their own power—Miller’s 30 years’ worth of reflections show, alas, just how much hasn’t changed for women finding their footing in an industry that allows only a few of us to break through.

Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me By: Erin Khar{ Park Row Books }

RELEASED: FEB. 25, 2020 $27.99 PreOrder It Now

Stephanie Land, author of the bestselling 2019 memoir Maid, says that Strung Out “will change how we look at the opioid crisis and how the media talks about it.” I agree.

Often, media stigmatizes the very people it aims to cover because there’s still so much we don’t understand about the development and impact of addiction. Erin Khar’s gift of a memoir examines her 15-year journey as a heroin user—and, perhaps more important, what brought her to drugs. Addiction stories are often linear (got hooked, hit bottom, got clean), but Khar instead offers a humanizing portrait not just of her own experience but of an issue that impacts more than two million people in the United States.

Recollections of My Nonexistence: A Memoir By: Rebecca Solnit

{Penguin Random House }RELEASED: MARCH 10, 2019 $26.00 Buy It Now

Prolific essayist Rebecca Solnit has long written about pop culture, politics, and mansplaining by weaving together her personal experience with a broader analysis, but it seems that Recollections of My Nonexistence is her first full-on memoir. Solnit brings readers to 1980s San Francisco for a comprehensive look at how she found her voice and her feminism amid discovering punk rock, witnessing rampant gender-based violence, and negotiating a culture of disbelief about everything from street harassment to rape. Recollections of My Nonexistence is also a memoir about writing, which is a gift from a writer as talented and transformative as Solnit. What shaped her perspective? How did she find the confidence to write with such stark honesty? These questions and more are answered.

Rust Belt Femme By: Raechel Anne Jolie

{Belt Publishing }RELEASED: MARCH 10, 2020 $26.00 Buy It Now

Raechel Anne Jolie (who has contributed to Bitch) grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1990s, finding herself amid an alternative subculture of “race cars, Budweiser drinking men covered in car grease, and the women who loved them.” After her father is killed by a drunk driver, Jolie and her mother struggled to stay afloat: facing eviction, going days with electricity and water, and hurting each other to escape the pain of financial uncertainty. Rust Belt Femme follows Jolie as she leaves the neighborhood she called home for Cleveland Heights where a subculture with a lot of personality welcomes her, helping to define who she is and where she’s headed next.

Assume Nothing: A Memoir of Intimate Violence

By: Tanya Selvaratnam {Henry Holt and Co. }RELEASED: APRIL 7, 2020 $27.99 Buy It Now

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people per minute in the United States are physically abused by their romantic partner, which breaks down to more than 10 million people suffering abuse in the course of a single year. It never becomes easier to read about intimate-partner violence, but it’s always necessary. Tanya Selvaratnam’s heart-wrenching memoir explores her volatile relationship with former New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, which included controlling behavior, death threats, and violent sex that she felt powerless to stop given that her partner was the state’s top-ranking law officer. 

Assume Nothing isn’t an easy read, but it’s an important window on how power insulates even the worst among us.

FROM OUR SPONSORS

Diary of a Drag Queen By: Crystal Rasmussen with Tom Rasmussen {FSG Originals}RELEASED: APRIL 14, 2020 $17.00 Buy It Now

Crystal Rasmussen, born as Tom, never knew a life before drag queendom. Even as they grew up in northern England, Rasmussen knew they weren’t meant to blend in—standing out was a given. By the time Rasmussen leaves London for a fashion job in New York, they’d come into their own, and this hilarious memoir follows them through a year of adventures, from being onstage to being in bed to realizing the fashion world is even more cutthroat than pop culture portrays it. Diary of a Drag Queen is equal parts inspiring and funny as hell.

This Is Big: How the Founder of Weight Watchers Changed the World—and Me

By: Marisa Meltzer {Little, Brown and Company}RELEASED: APRIL 14, 2020 $28.00 Buy It Now

According to the Boston Medical Center, an estimated 45 million adults in the United States embark on a diet every year, and for an increasing number of adults, an obsession with losing weight begins in childhood. Marisa Meltzer, a contributor to the New York Times and the New Yorker (who has contributed to Bitch), began her first diet at the age of 5, and since then has been on the familiar rollercoaster of losing and gaining weight. When Meltzer read the obituary of Jean Nidetch, the Queens housewife–turned–flamboyant founder of Weight Watchers, she realized how much her own journey ran parallel to that of the woman whose business became an emblem of our culture’s quest for thinness at any cost. This Is Big is an inventive memoir that examines Meltzer’s own experience with weight loss alongside Nidetch’s lucrative belief that community, not secretive shame, could transform people’s bodies and lives.

Missed Translations: Meeting the Immigrant Parents Who Raised Me

By: Sopan Deb

{Dey Street Books}RELEASED: APRIL 21, 2020 $27.99 Buy It Now

There comes a moment in many people’s lives when they realize that their parents or other guardian figures have lives, dreams, hopes, and goals outside of raising them and/or being a spouse. Comedian Sopan Deb’s revelation came as he approached his 30th birthday: He knew the basics about his parents, who’d immigrated, separately, from India to the United States in the 1960s and ’70s. He knew their marriage was arranged, and that his father returned to India several years into their marriage, leaving his children and his wife in suburban New Jersey, but he didn’t know much else. After the 2016 election, which found Deb juggling stand-up comedy and covering the Trump campaign for the New York Times, he decided to journey to India to reconnect with his father and in the process reconnect with himself.

All Boys Aren’t Blue By: George M. Johnson

Farrar, Straus and Giroux }RELEASED: APRIL 28, 2020 $17.99 Buy It Now

Award-winning journalist and activist George M. Johnson is one of my favorite people to follow on social media. His insights about everything from representation in pop culture to sexuality and health keep myself and many others engaged, and he brings that same level of introspection to his powerful memoir-manifesto. Johnson’s book is geared toward young adults—a market that needs this level of realness about everything from finding and harboring joy to bullying to navigating queerness. All Boys Aren’t Blue is a game changer.

Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls: A Memoir of Women, Addiction, and Love By: Nina Renata Aron {Crown}

RELEASED: MAY 5, 2020 $27.00 Buy It Now

When Nina Renata Aron began dating her boyfriend, K, it didn’t take long for him to relapse. Addiction is a disease; it can come upon those who are afflicted without warning and the effects are felt by the person addicted as well as those who love them. Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls explores how addiction transforms K, transforms their relationship, and transforms Aron’s relationship to herself and to her childhood. It’s difficult to tell someone else’s story of addiction with empathy and understanding, but Aron balances it all beautifully.

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Fairest By: Meredith Talusan {Viking}

RELEASED: MAY 26, 2020 $27.00 Buy It Now

I first learned about journalist and author Meredith Talusan in 2016 when she spearheaded Unerased, Mic’s award-winning multimedia project that chronicled the crisis of transgender women in the United States being murdered. Talusan has since been an integral part of them’s inaugural editorial team, where she still works as a contributing editor, and has been one of the strongest voices holding newsrooms accountable when they offer lip service to inclusivity but do not actually prioritize it. In Fairest, Talusan brings that same determination and brilliance to her own story, with recollections of immigrating to the United States, unlearning the gender binary, and, most important, coming into her own.

In Open Country By: Rahawa Haile {Harper}RELEASED: JUNE 2, 2020

Buy It Now

On October 3, 2016, Rahawa Haile announced on Twitter that she’d successfully hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine with a photo that captured the triumph. Since then, she’s published a canonical piece in Outside that detailed her experience and an incredible essay in BuzzFeed about leaving books by Black authors for other hikers to discover. Her upcoming memoir considers “what it means to move through America and the world as a Black woman.” Though there aren’t too many details on In Open Country, we know what Haile is capable of as a writer—and that alone has us thirsting to dig into this book.

The Dragons, the Giant, the Women By: Wayétu Moore {Graywolf Press}RELEASED: JUNE 2, 2020 $26.00 Buy It Now

Is it possible to find home again after being unexpectedly uprooted during a political upheaval? That’s one of the questions at the center of Wayétu Moore’s second book, which chronicles one of the most difficult experiences of her young life. At the age of 5, the civil war in Liberia forces Moore and her family—minus her mother, who’s studying at a university in New York—to flee the country. After a three-week journey on foot, Moore and her family are smuggled to the border of Sierra Leone and, from there, travel to the United States to reunite with her mother and begin a brand new life. The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is a beautifully written book about the experience of migrating—a story, particularly in this moment, that can never be told enough.

The Groom Will Keep His Name By: Matt Ortile

{Bold Type Books}RELEASED: JUNE 16, 2020 $16.99 Buy It Now

Recent years have brought us an array of memoirs and essay collections that specifically center the experiences of gay men negotiating the tenacious homophobia of the United States: Michael Arceneaux’s I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé, Darnell L. Moore’s No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America, and Saeed Jones’s How We Fight for Our Lives come immediately to mind. The success of these books feels like an assurance that we’ll continue to see stories like theirs move out of the margins of the literary canon. In The Groom Will Keep His Name, Matt Ortile, managing editor of Catapult, offers up his unique experiences as a Filipino immigrant figuring out how to date in a world where we’re all encouraged to be curated versions of ourselves. The book’s clever title reflects its witty and captivating takes on everything from one-night stands to dating apps and beyond.

Notes on a Silencing

By: Lacy Crawford

{Little, Brown & Company}RELEASED: JULY 14, 2020 $28.00 Buy It Now

Many of us have fragmented memories that cause us to question what’s real and what we’ve imagined. But when St. Paul’s School, an elite boarding school in Concord, New Hampshire, was deemed a “haven for sexual predators” in a May 2018 lawsuit filed by two of the school’s alumnae, Lacy Crawford realized that her hazy recollection of being assaulted at age 15 by two fellow students many years earlier—and the efforts of the school’s administration, including faculty and clergy, to shield her attackers from consequences—wasn’t something she’d invented or imagined. Once St. Paul’s extensive history of burying crimes and harming victims became national news, Crawford got access to files about her case that she’d never seen before; her experience of revisiting the trauma, realizing just how far the school had gone to protect her assaulters, and coming to terms with the cost of that injustice is the foundation for this incredible memoir.

Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

By: Natasha Trethewey {Ecco}

RELEASED: JULY 28, 2020 $27.99 Buy It Now

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Natasha Trethewey has long said that her mother’s 1985 murder at the hands of her ex-husband propelled her into the art form and has continued to haunt her even as she’s found extraordinary success that includes being named U.S. Poet Laureate in 2012 and 2013. Trethewey told the Chicago Tribune in November 2018 that she thinks of herself as “someone who has lived in a state of bereavement my whole adult life,” and in Memorial Drive, she explores the loss and lingering grief that has shaped so much of her work. Trethewey’s heartbreakingly beautiful memoir honors her mother, Gwendolyn, while also indicting a culture that fails to protect abuse victims as they try to retrieve their lives from the clutches of their abusers.

Being Lolita

By: Alisson Wood

{Flatiron Books}RELEASED: AUGUST 4, 2020 $26.99 Buy It Now

Since the #MeToo movement spotlighted predators in Hollywood, journalism, and beyond, a number of memoirs have taken stock of how power dynamics can shape—and exploit— an array of relationships, including platonic ones between teachers and students (Donna Freitas’s Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention) and those where the boundaries of friendship are betrayed by rape (Jeannie Vanasco’s Things We Didn’t Talk About When I Was a Girl). Allison Wood, winner of the inaugural Breakout 8 Writers Prize and a creative writing teacher at New York University, adds to this growing canon with a chronicle of her two-year relationship with her high-school English teacher.

There’s more…

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Read this Next: No More White Girl Tales

by Kristin SandersNovember 13, 2017Myriam Gurba’s criticism of white America’s racial myopia couldn’t be better timed.

BY EVETTE DIONNEView profile »

Evette Dionne is Bitch Media’s editor-in-chief. She’s all about Beyoncé, Black women, and dope TV shows and books. You can follow her on Twitter.

THANKS TO BITCH MEDIA’S SPONSORS

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Email address *© 2020 BITCH MEDIA | PRIVACY POLICY

RUST BELT FEMME by Raechel Anne Jolie is a 5 STAR MEMOIR candidly opening up the most intimate of details about her life. This is destined to reach the top of The New York Times Bestseller List

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Title: RUST BELT FEMME

Author: RAECHEL ANNE JOLIE

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, LGBTQ

Length: 150 PAGES

Publisher: BELT PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 10, 2020

ISBN: 9781948742634

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Raechel Anne Jolie’s early life in a working-class Cleveland exurb was full of race cars, Budweiser-drinking men covered in car grease, and the women who loved them.

After her father came home from his third-shift job, took the garbage out to the curb and was hit by a drunk driver, her life changed.

Raechel and her mother struggled for money: they were evicted, went days without utilities, and took their trauma out on one another. Raechel escaped to the progressive suburbs of Cleveland Heights, leaving the tractors and ranch-style homes home in favor of a city with vintage marquees, music clubs, and people who talked about big ideas.

It was the early 90s, full of Nirvana songs and chokers, flannel shirts and cut-off jean shorts, lesbian witches and local coffee shops.

Rust Belt Femme is the story of how these twin foundations—rural Ohio poverty and alternative 90s culture—made Raechel into who she is today: a queer femme with PTSD and a deep love of the Midwest.
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MY REVIEW:

“This story, then, is about growing up in poverty in rural Ohio, finding hope in the alternative culture I’d discovered in Cleveland, and how my complicated love for these people and these places is a tenacious part of everything I’ve done since leaving it. Every bit of it turned me into the queer femme feminist writer I am today…”

“In between [her childhood] and now are Northeast Ohio landmarks that left scars, sometimes like kisses and sometimes like razor blades.”

RUST BELT FEMME is a love letter to the good, the bad, and the Very Bad incidents, people and places which have coalesced, forming Raechel into the person and the destiny that had been hers all along.

Raechel’s candor is refreshing, and as such, her personality shines through with every word she writes. I have read reviews referring to the sometimes crude language she uses as inappropriate, but I have to disagree with that assessment. Raechel was raised in a blue collar home and the language she often uses in her book reflects that fact. A memoir can be written with lyrical prose of the very best kind and yet still be a flop with its intended readers. Why does this happen? I believe one word can sum up why a memoir either succeeds or fails; that word is AUTHENTICITY. Authenticity is (or should be) the goal of all memoir/auto-biographical authors. RUST BELT FEMME has authenticity in spades.

Having never heard of Raechel Anne Jolie before seeing the listing for this book on the NetGalley website, I began reading Rust Belt Femme with no preconceived notions of it’s content. Because of this, every new morsel of information was eagerly awaited and Raechel did not disappoint.

RUST BELT FEMME proves just how important childhood events are in the formation of the adult we will become. Raechel’s loss of her father figure at such a  tender age was the single event upon which her  childhood took a distinctly darker turn. Despite her family’s economic issues, she “… never doubted that [her] mom loved [her] more than anything, and that she would love [her] profoundly and without condition. There was never one instance when she made [her] feel like [she] had to change, not one second when she didn’t make it clear that [Raechel] was the most important thing to her in the world.”

In her Introduction, Raechel states: “… whether our neurology is burdened by trauma or not, I think most of us who are drawn to memoir are burdened with an incurable case of nostalgia.” I agree wholeheartedly and admit that I am afflicted with the exact nostalgia she is talking about, and in reading RUST BELT FEMME, that desire was 100% fulfilled.

I rate RUST BELT FEMME as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and highly recommend this book to all my fellow memoir lovers.

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

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FEMINIST KILLJOYS PODCAST

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Raechel Anne Jolie believes in astrology, the power of collective resistance, and meeting a deadline. She is, first and foremost, an educator and an activist dedicated to making this world a little bit better than she found it. But she is also: a cat-mom, a yogi, a witch, a Media and Gender Studies PhD, a vegan, a podcaster, and a writer.

Her writing has been featured in Bitch Magazine, Teen Vogue, Autostraddle (and more), and she’s been interviewed as an expert in her field for Rolling Stone, NPR, and the CBC. (If you’re interested in her academic work, you can check out her CV).

She also co-hosted/produced the Feminist Killjoys, PhD podcast with Dr. Melody Hoffmann. For three years, they brought smart and funny reflection to discussions on politics and pop culture.

Raechel is also queer AF, and a lot of her writing is about being femme and growing up poor. She also writes about: pop culture, politics, social movements, feminism, and health. If you’re into that sort of thing, she just might be your grrrrl.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS  

INSTAGRAM

INSTAGRAM – BELT PUBLISHING

TWITTER

SOUNDCLOUD  

FEMINIST KILLJOYS PODCAST

CHAPTERS

QUOTES I LOVED:

“A PhD and multiple major-city addresses can never change that being poor is written in my blood and my bones as much as it is sung from my tight skirts and cheap lipstick.”

“Being poor, really, became the building blocks of my gender; this embodied expression we in the queer community call femme. It’s a type of femininity that I have come to realize is inextricable from the shape of early poverty, the shades of the rural edges of Cleveland, and for me, the sound of punk.”

“I was seduced out of my poor ‘white trash’ town first into the arms of the artist culture on Coventry Road, then later by the punks in Lakewood.”

“… my heroes became the women who survived despite men’s absences. Whether the men were taken from homes by car accidents or jail or a restraining order, by the time I was five, I was surrounded almost entirely by resilient women.”

“We built, like layering bricks and cement, a home out of our love, the only thing sturdy on any given day. Our fights were hurricanes, our love though, indelible.”

“… we were using anger as a shield to protect us from facing deep hurt and immense fear in the face of scarcity. We’d chase it with tenderness because how else could we face the day? It was a Pyrrhic skill that I continue to carry with me… It was a terrible way to learn love, but it was better than not knowing love at all.”

“I remember … the flicker of the marquee mixed with a street lamp. It was a soft yellow-white. Muted but also vivid. It’s how I felt most days after that. My brain buzzing with potential – with what my life could, would, should be – but also deeply grounded in the present, in exactly who and where I was.”

Interviewed In

How to be an Ally to Trans People” 

“Orange is the new Black’s Instagram Chooses Fandom Over Social Justice” 

“Why May Day Continues to Capture the Hearts and Imaginations of Workers” 

​“Warning Labels on College Courses?”
On Point with Tom Ashbrook 

Selected Publications

Rag Queen Periodical 

“Over the Shoulders”  

INTOmore.com

“Boston League of Wicked Wrestlers” (profile)  

Inside Higher Ed ​

“How to Cope without a Full-Time Job Offer” 

The Huffington Post

“Buzz About Kristen Stewart’s Sexuality Tells Us a Lot About Society’s Discomfort with Bisexuality” 

Autostraddle

“The Riot Isn’t Over: 6 Movements that Map Militancy in LGBT History”  

The Body is Not an Apology

“5 ways to navigate your partner’s wealth during the holidays”

The Daily Dot

“It’s time to stop believing America’s biggest myth about welfare”


 

In Media Res

“Post-Feminism & the Dehumanization of Sex Workers in SNL’s Moet & Chandon Sketch” 

Mask Magazine

“High Risk: The Automation of Pretrial Detention” 

Scarleteen

“A sex-positive and transformative justice approach to #MeToo” 

The Huffington Post

“University Shamefully Orders the Arrest of Students Fight for a More Just University System”

“Five Things to Know About the Employment Non-Discrimination Act”    

SMACKED – A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction and Tragedy by Award-winning Journalist EILENE ZIMMERMAN Coming Soon – A Story That Will Open People’s Eyes to the fact that Addiction Effects all Socioeconomic Classes and is NOT simply a ‘Poor People Problem’ – AN IMPORTANT AND TIMELY MEMOIR THAT IS A MUST READ FOR US ALL

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Title: SMACKED

Subtitle: A STORY OF WHITE-COLLAR AMBITION, ADDICTION, AND TRAGEDY

Author: EILENE ZIMMERMAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, ADDICTION

Length: 272 PAGES

Publisher: RANDOM HOUSE

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 4, 2020

ISBN: 9780525511007 (Hardcover)

Price: $27.00 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A journalist pieces together the mysteries surrounding her ex-husband’s unexpected death from drug abuse while trying to rebuild a life for her family, taking readers on an intimate journey into the white-collar drug epidemic

Something was wrong with Peter. Eilene Zimmerman noticed that her ex-husband looked thin, seemed distracted, and was frequently absent from activities with their children. She thought he looked sick and needed to see a doctor, and indeed, he told her he had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Yet in many ways, Peter seemed to have it all: a beautiful house by the beach, expensive cars, and other luxuries that came with an affluent life. Eilene assumed his odd behavior was due to stress and overwork—he was a senior partner at a prominent law firm and had been working more than sixty hours a week for the last twenty years.

Although they were divorced, Eilene and Peter had been partners and friends for decades, so when she and her children were unable to reach Peter for several days, Eilene went to his house to see if he was OK.

So begins Smacked, a brilliant and moving memoir of Eilene’s shocking discovery, one that sets her on a journey to find out how a man she knew for nearly thirty years became a drug addict, hiding it so well that neither she nor anyone else in his life suspected what was happening. Eilene discovers that Peter led a secret life, one that started with pills and ended with opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine. He was also addicted to work; the last call Peter ever made was to dial in to a conference call.

Eilene is determined to learn all she can about Peter’s hidden life, and also about drug addiction among ambitious, high-achieving professionals like him. Through extensive research and interviews, she presents a picture of drug dependence today in that moneyed, upwardly mobile world. She also embarks on a journey to re-create her life in the wake of loss, both of the person—and the relationship—that profoundly defined the woman she had become.

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ADD ON GOODREADS

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MY REVIEW:

Part memoir, part exposé, SMACKED takes readers on a journey into the white-collar world of drug and work addiction.

When most people think about the Opiod Epidemic and even addiction in general, they incorrectly assume that the people involved must come from low-income communities and/or broken homes. This book proves just how wrong that assumption is.

Author EILENE ZIMMERMAN thought she knew everything there was to know about her ex-husband. After all, just because they had ended their marriage, didn’t mean they had ended their friendship. They were committed to providing as stable an environment as possible for their two teenage children. They were in constant communication and even attended important events, such as graduations, together.

So, when neither herself, nor the children, had heard from Peter for several days, Eilene went to check on him. What she found upon entering his home permanently changed her life and the lives of her children.

As a journalist, it was not surprising that her reaction to discovering her ex-husband’s drug addiction was to do research. What was surprising is what she uncovered. To find out all the details, you need to read SMACKED.

I am impressed with the writing style and how well the author is able to convey the details, including the emotions both she and her children were experiencing.

It is often difficult for memoir writers to be brutally honest about their experiences. Often, the desire to sugarcoat certain facts is given in to. EILENE ZIMMERMAN does NOT sugarcoat any details. This makes for a much more realistic and believable tale. She articulates her anguish with heart-wrenching clarity.

The fact that Eilene had believed all of Peter’s excuses for the changes in his behaviour in hindsight can clearly be seen as being caused by addiction. However, Eilene, as with others of a high socioeconomic status, had no experience with drug addiction and as such, the idea of it had never crossed her mind.

The more Eilene researched, the more she learned and what she was uncovering shook her worldview. She knew she needed to let other people know just how prevalent addiction is in high achievers. This discovery led to her writing an article for the New York Times which in turn, led to the writing of SMACKED.

Everyone should read this book and it should be required reading for new lawyers, stock brokers, and others who occupy high stress jobs.

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

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eilene Zimmerman has been a journalist for three decades, covering business, technology, and social issues for a wide array of national magazines and newspapers.

She was a columnist for The New York Times Sunday Business section for six years, and since 2004 has been a regular contributor to the newspaper.

In 2017, Zimmerman also began pursuing a master’s degree in social work.

She lives in New York City.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK – PUBLISHER

ABOUT ME WEBSITE

TWITTER – AUTHOR

TWITTER – PUBLISHER

TWITTER – PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

MEDIUM.COM

LINKEDIN

MUCK RACK

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

LIBRO FM AUDIOBOOKS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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“Addiction is a pervasive problem among lawyers,” says Doron Gold, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and former practising lawyer who helped develop the CBA’s online course on mental health and wellness in the legal profession.

– Obtained From THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE

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“The most important thing I want everyone to know is that addiction does not discriminate. What happened to me can easily happen to anyone of you. Guaranteed, someone close to you is struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse.”

Corey Phair

Quote Obtained From: THE POST ARTICLE FOUND HERE

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Click HERE to listen to a short interview with the Author describing her story.

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MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW – A fantastic read whether you feel you need a psychiatrist or not

Title: MAYBE YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE

Subtitle: A THERAPIST, HER THERAPIST AND OUR LIVES REVEALED

Author: LORI GOTTLIEB

Narrator: BRITTANY PRESSLEY

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIRS, HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH, SELF-HELP

Length: 14 HOURS, 21 MINUTES

Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Type of Book: UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK

Release Date: MAY 9, 2019

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Watch “Lori Gottlieb: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed” on YouTube CLICK HERE
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ABOUT THE BOOK:

“Ingenious, inspiring, tender, and funny. Lori Gottlieb bravely takes her readers on a guided tour into the self.”
Amy Dickinson, author of Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things

One day, Lori Gottlieb is a therapist who helps patients in her Los Angeles practice. The next, a crisis causes her world to come crashing down.

Enter Wendell, the quirky but seasoned therapist in
whose office she suddenly lands. With his balding head, cardigan, and khakis, he seems to have come
straight from Therapist Central Casting. Yet he will turn out to be anything but.

As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives—a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life
on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys—she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.

With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient,
examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love
and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.
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MY REVIEW:

Listening to YOU SHOULD TALK TO SOMEONE by Lori Gottlieb on audiobook was the perfect way to experience her witty writing style.

Lori truly brings readers into her world. Not only does she allow us to be a ‘fly-on-the-wall’ of her therapy sessions with her patients, but she also does something that I don’t think has ever been done before. That is, that she not only invites the reader into the intimate details of her patient’s lives, she also welcomes the reader into her own world and her own therapy sessions. This allows the reader to feel a deep connection with the author, one that is unique in the realm of memoirs and biographies.

Speaking about her expertise, Lori Gottlieb says, “I believe that of all my credentials, my most significant is that I’m a card-carrying member of the human race.”

That might sound strange to some, but it is Author Lori Gottlieb’s gift of humanity/empathy, and human connection, as well as her education and study of psychology that allows readers to emotionally connect with her.

Lori navigates the story-telling aspect of her patient’s therapy sessions with respect and is still able to tell their stories in detail. She also admits that even though she is a therapist, she is also a patient who attends therapy herself.

In my opinion, the fact that Lori participates in therapy sessions with her own therapist means that she is better equipped to understand the experience from both a clinical and a personal perspective.

Narrator BRITTANY PRESSLEY is the perfect choice of narrator as she has a gift for making the reader feel as if she is talking directly to them. Her inflections are spot on, and she narrates the humorous portions of the stories with professionalism. Brittany’s experience (she has narrated over 100+ audiobooks) allows the reader/listener to relax and enjoy each tale.

My favorite quote from the book is:

“We can’t have change without loss, which is why so often people say they want change but nonetheless stay exactly the same.”

I purchased this audiobook at AUDIBLE.COM

I rate the narration as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I rate the story/content as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Overall, I rate this audiobook as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone”, which is being adapted as a television series with Eva Longoria. In addition to her clinical practice, she writes The Atlantic’s weekly “Dear Therapist” advice column and contributes to The New York Times and many other publications.

A member of the Advisory Council for Bring Change 2 Mind and a contributing editor for the Atlantic, she has written hundreds of articles related to psychology and culture, many of which have become viral sensations.

She is a sought-after expert on relationships, parenting, and hot-button mental health topics in media such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, The CBS Early Show, CNN, The New York Times, and NPR’s “Fresh Air.”

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://lorigottlieb.com/

AUDIBLE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

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CHAPTERS
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FAVORITE QUOTE:

Talking about doing therapy via Skype LORI GOTTLIEB says “It’s like doing therapy with a condom on.”

For film or television inquiries, please contact Michell Weiner (film) or OliviaBlaustein (television) at CAA.

For speaking or event inquiries, please contact Charles Yao at The Lavin Agency.

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

BRITTANY PRESSLEY is an Audiofile Earphones award winning narrator in NYC.

She has recorded over 100 titles and has received several nominations for American Library Association’s annual list of Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults.

She is also an accomplished singer/songwriter and voice actress.

Her voice can be heard on national and international TV and radio commercials as well as several animated series and video games.

She is a proud graduate of Columbia University.

VOICE REPERTOIRE:
– Youthful
– fresh
– smart
– girl-next-door
– raspy
– light

AGE & GENDER REPERTOIRE:
– Female young adult
– Female adult
– Female teenager
– Child

Additional vocal abilities:
– Child voices
– British accent
– Russian accent
– Southern accent
– valley girl
– New York including: Long Island and Queens accent
– Britney Spears

EXPERIENCE:
– Working professional voice actor. – 100+ audiobooks.
– Awards including Audiofile Magazine Earphones award
– Commercials for Wendy’s, DSW, Speedo, Target.
– Cast member on multiple animated children’s television shows.

TRAINING:
– Commercial and voice over training @ Actors Connection, NYC
– Music Production techniques, @ Columbia University

EQUIPMENT:
My home studio is well equipped with:

– a Neumann TLM 102 microphone.

– Sound isolation booth
– Logic Pro

BRITTANY is also a very experienced singer, songwriter and session vocalist.

Click HERE to listen to Brittany narrate a section of THE CROWN by Kiera Cass

Want to listen to Brittany narrating a terrific middle-grade novel called THE LAND OF YESTERDAY by K.A. REYNOLDS? Click HERE.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

iMDB

GOODREADS

VOICES.COM

LISTEN TO BRITTANY’S DEMO REEL
BY CLICKING HERE

VOICES 123.COM

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

LINKEDIN

ESTORIES.COM

FANDOM

AMAZON

AUDIOBOOKS.COM

BOOKSONTAPE.COM

PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

THE WINTER SISTERS by Tim Westover is a book that will stay with you long after the final page

Title: THE WINTER SISTERS

Author: TIM WESTOVER

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 322 PAGES

Publisher: QW PUBLISHERS

The Winter Sisters: A Novel

Received From: NETGALLEY
https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/172559

Release Date: AUGUST 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9849748-9-4

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Folklore, medicine, witches, and superstition in the Georgia mountains.

Dr. Waycross knows bleeding and blistering, the best scientific medicine of 1822. He arrives in the Georgia mountains to bring his modern methods to the superstitious masses. But the local healers, the Winter sisters, claim to treat yellow fever, consumption, and the hell-roarin’ trots just as well as he can. Some folks call the sisters “Herb Women;” some call them “Witches.” Waycross calls them “Quacks.”

But when the threat of rabies—incurable and fatal—comes to town, Dr. Waycross and the Winter sisters must combine their science and superstition in a desperate search for a remedy.

Can they find a miracle cure, or has the age of miracles passed?

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ALL AUTHOR PROCEEDS FROM THIS NOVEL ARE BEING DONATED TO CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA – CHILD LIFE DEPARTMENT
Over $10,000 donated since August 9, 2019!
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MY REVIEW:

1811 in the mountains of northern Georgia, three sisters stand upon a bare mountain plateau. These women are the Winter sisters. They are using wax to try to determine their futures.

Ten years later, the Winter sisters are no longer living in the village. The new Preacher has succeeded in turning some of the townspeople against them, successfully running them out of town.

The Winter sisters are sometimes called healers and sometimes called witches, it depends on the person who is speaking, and also who might be listening.

Art by SUSAN FARRELL

The sisters might be young, but they know herbal remedies for most ailments and have ministered to the residents of their small frontier town for years.

Art by Susan Farrell

When the town recruits a doctor from the city, he arrives ready to educate these backwater hicks as to how science and the latest techniques of medicine will cure all their ills.

However, when he arrives and keeps hearing about the Winter sisters and their supposed cures, he sets out to discredit them.

What happens next surprises the doctor, the Winter sisters and everyone reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that you are unable to predict what will happen at any given moment in this story. It kept me guessing, which is rare.

National Park Service Photo

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THE WINTER SISTERS is a fabulous book with terrific characters and a story that will stay with you long after the final page.

The descriptions both of people’s lives and of the sceney and setting are so vivid that readers can picture tem so clearly it is almost as if you create a movie in your head as to how everything and everyone looks.

Photo by John Rice Irwin, Sept. 1979

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I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

“I never treat hopeless cases. The age of miracles is past.”
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TO ORDER SIGNED COPIES OF THIS TERRIFIC BOOK, CLICK HERE.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tim Westover, a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Georgia, lives in suburban Atlanta. Born in the north, educated in England, and frequent visitor to Russia, he found his home in the North Georgia mountains.

Russell Farm Historic Site –
Mountain Rest, SC

The foundations of a nameless old house on the backstreets of Lawrenceville

In addition to writing, Westover enjoys programming, playing the clawhammer banjo, and raising his three-year-old daughter to be a modern American eccentric.

Tim playing the PANjo

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

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

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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK
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TWITTER
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SMASHWORDS
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AMAZON
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CHAPTERS
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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

RESURRECTION LILY: A Memoir of the BRCA Gene, Hereditary Cancer and Lifesaving Whispers From the Grandmother I Never Knew by AMY BIER SHAINMAN is a heart wrenching read, but THIS BOOK MIGHT JUST SAVE YOUR LIFE

Title: RESURRECTION LILY

Subtitle: THE BRCA GENE, HEREDITARY CANCER & LIFESAVING WHISPERS FROM THE GRANDMOTHER I NEVER KNEW – A MEMOIR

Author: AMY BYER SHAINMAN

Genre: MEMOIRS AND BIOGRAPHIES, NON-FICTION, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, MEDICAL CARE

Length: 291 PAGES

Publisher: ARCHWAY PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: DECEMBER 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4808-6706-2

Price: $19.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Resurrection Lily shares a gene.story of inheritance and intuition, of what can surface in the body and the spirit when linked by DNA. As Amy Byer Shainman discovers she has inherited a BRCA gene mutation that puts her at high risk of developing certain cancers, she struggles to come to terms with preventively removing her breasts when she does not have a breast cancer diagnosis. Through her experience making decisions about her health, Amy becomes invigorated with purpose and establishes herself as a leading advocate for those with BRCA and other hereditary cancer syndromes, tirelessly working to educate others facing the same daunting reality.

Painting a timely and moving portrait of what it feels like to carry a BRCA gene mutation, Resurrection Lily provides firsthand insight into the patient experience. Weaved throughout Amy’s open and vulnerable story is the expertise of her doctors, education from top medical experts in cancer genetics, and whispered lifesaving guidance from her grandmother Lillian.

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MY REVIEW:

Before reading this memoir I had some small knowledge regarding the BRCA gene. If I had been asked before reading this book whether I felt I was fairly well informed on the subject of breast cancer and the BRCA Gene, I would have confidently said that I was. Now, upon completion of Amy Byer Shainman’s memoir, I know I was mistaken.

The reason I am including the above fact is that, I think many people will feel that they already have enough knowledge on Breast Cancer and on the BRCA Gene. I urge those of you who are thinking along those lines, to trust me and to pick up a copy of this memoir (and one for each of your friends and family members.) I guarantee that if you do, you will be grateful that you did. IT MIGHT EVEN SAVE YOUR LIFE – OR THE LIFE OF SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU.

I do not want to misrepresent this book. It is NOT a dry, medical text full of facts, figures and survival rates. Instead, first and foremost it is the story of Amy and her family. It is a memoir, but is not JUST a memoir. Amy’s story is an interesting one and what struck me the most was the utter normality of her life before her unasked for trip into the world of Breast Cancer and gene studies. She could have been anyone. In fact, she could have been you. She could have been me.

When Amy’s sister is diagnosed with cancer, it changes Amy’s whole life. Then, her husband’s co-worker and close friend to both him and to Amy, is diagnosed with breast cancer as well.

Amy began looking into these cancers and discovered that there are some genetic components to breast cancer and especially to having the BRCA gene.

This book also contains quotes by specialists as well as short anecdotes written by other people who have had their own personal experiences with the BRCA Gene.

Because Amy is a “regular” person and not a doctor, this story, as well as the information contained within, is written in easy to understand prose and is NOT filled with technical jargon.

Amy does a fabulous job of conveying the conflicting emotions she experienced while worrying about her sister, worrying about her friend, all while making difficult decisions regarding her own medical issues. Readers will find themselves invested in the decisions. I even cried a few times.

Maya Angelou once said “When women take care of their health they become their own best friend.” I firmly believe this and reading this memoir has served to strengthen that belief even further.”

This book is all about Maya’s message which has become Amy’s mission in life. She has become the BRCA RESPONDER and is dedicated to helping other BRCA positive people to navigate through the health care system.

Simply put, this book might save your life, and because of that fact, to me, it is a “No-brainer.” You should not only want to read this book, you NEED to read this book.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

(Photographer: Debby Gans Photography)

Amy Byer Shainman, also known as the BRCA Responder, is a passionate patient advocate for those with BRCA and other hereditary cancer syndromes. While Angelina Jolie inherited her BRCA1 gene mutation from her mother, Amy inherited her BRCA1 gene mutation from her father. In 2010, Amy had two prophylactic surgeries to reduce her cancer risk drastically; a nipple sparing, skin-sparing mastectomy with reconstruction and oophorectomy with a hysterectomy.

Amy Byer Shainman, also known as BRCA Responder, is a patient advocate who provides support and education surrounding BRCA and other hereditary cancer syndromes. She’s the executive producer of the award-winning documentary “Pink & Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer” and the author of the award-winning medical memoir “Resurrection Lily: The BRCA Gene, Hereditary Cancer & Lifesaving Whispers from the Grandmother I Never Knew.” As a BRCA1 gene mutation carrier, Shainman has been featured in Cure Magazine, The Jewish Journal, and The Palm Beach Post, as well as numerous live and taped television and radio segments nationwide. As a digital ambassador for the National Society of Genetic Counselors gene pool, she is considered one of fifteen influencers who have unique perspectives and knowledge in the fields of genetics and genetic counseling. Her articles have been published in The American Journal of Managed Care, Jupiter Magazine, and Oncology Nursing News.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.brcaresponder.com

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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK

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GOOGLE PLAY BOOKS

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PATIENT’S STORIES PODCAST

WON AWARD

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SOME OF THE MANY RESOURCES SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED IN THIS BOOK INCLUDE:

– A Documentary DVD from PBS called IN THE FAMILY (not the Archie Bunker sitcom)

The BE BRIGHT PINK Website
http://www.bebrightpink.com

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The FACING OUR RISK EMPOWERED Website
http://www.facingourrisk.org

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DR. JOHN A.P. RIMMER, FACS, FRCS, BREAST SURGEON

DR. DAVID A. LICKSTEIN, MD, FACS, DIPLOMATE, AMERICAN BOARD OF PLASTIC SURGERY

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CENTER FOR BRCA RESEARCH HEREDITARY CANCER CLINIC

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#BRCA #hereditarycancer #previvor #ovariancancer #breastsurgeon #cancerprevention #plasticsurgery #advocacy #womenfilmmakers #plasticsurgeon #brcasisterhood #breastcancer #mastectomy #menshealth #womenshealth #resurrectionlily #geneCSM #NetGalley #bookreview #memoir #biography #cancer #genetics #genetictesting #book #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #bookblog #bookreviewer #tbr #mustread #thefinchbook
#Amiesbookreviews #cancerbook #5Stars #5Star #5StarBook #cancerawareness #facingourrisk #FORCE #facingourriskempowered
#licksteinplasticsurgery #BRCAResponder #AmyByerShainman

THE FAMILIAR DARK by the mega-talented AMY ENGEL will be released in March 2020. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy and it is AMAZING. Read on to find out more

Title: THE FAMILIAR DARK

Author: AMY ENGEL

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 256 PAGES

Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP DUTTON

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 21, 2020

ISBN: 9781524745950

Price: $26.00 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A spellbinding story of a mother with nothing left to lose who sets out on an all-consuming quest for justice after her daughter is murdered on the town playground.

Sometimes the answers are worse than the questions. Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.

The Familiar Dark is a story about the bonds of family—women doing the best they can for their daughters in dire circumstances—as well as a story about how even the darkest and most terrifying of places can provide the comfort of home.

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MY REVIEW:

THE FAMILIAR DARK takes place in one of the poorest portions of the Missouri Ozarks.

The story begins with the death of two 12-year-old girls – Best Friends – Izzy and Junie.

Eve Taggert is a single mother. She has loved her daughter Junie with an intensity that surprised Eve and which began when Junie drew her first tiny breath. On that day, Eve’s once wild life was flipped onto it’s head. She knew that she had to be a better mother to Junie than her mother had been to her and her brother Cal (short for Caleb). And ever since that day Eve had showered Junie with love and worked hard to provide for their tiny, two-person household.

But, when Eve learns that Junie and her best friend Izzy had been brutally murdered, she begins to fall apart. After all, what was the point of changing her life and becoming a contributing member of society of her daughter if it led to the death of her only child?

With dogged determination and a fierce need to identify the killer, Eve takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened.

As Eve begins to search for answers in her daughter’s slaying, old hurts, secrets and betrayals she had thought long buried are brought to light.

In fact, the twists in this tale are so numerous that readers will have a difficult time figuring out who the killer(s) is/are. As soon as you think you have a handle on all the players, you need to think again.

Author AMY ENGEL has captured perfectly the depth of a mother’s love and protective instincts for her child. She has portrayed the anger and resentment of a mother towards the perpetrator of the murder to perfection.

Although this novel is a mystery, a thriller, a whodunit, it is unlike any other thriller readers have encountered previously. The story focuses on relationships – on family ties.

THE FAMILIAR DARK is also a story about poverty and the fact that when you are poor, your life choices are limited. When you are working hard every day just to put food on the table and a roof over your head, there is little energy left at the end of the day.

Once her child was taken from her in the most violent and traumatic way possible, Eve is devastated. Despite the fact that her brother, Cal, is a cop, Eve decides to launch her own investigation.

As Eve dogs deeper and deeper into the criminal underbelly of her small town, she begins to discover that there are many secrets there and that some people will do anything to ensure those secrets are never revealed.

This story roars along like a high-speed freight train and readers will need to hang on for the ride of their lives.

I rate THE FAMILIAR DARK as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: Trish Brown Photography

Amy Engel is the author of THE BOOK OF IVY young adult series.

A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family.

Photo Credit: Trish Brown Photography

THE ROANOKE GIRLS was her first novel for adults. She also authored THE IVY SERIES of Young Adult books.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://amyengel.net/

GOODREADS

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APPLE BOOKS

Only two days until the release of THE GRACE YEAR by KIM LIGGETT – One of the best books of 2019 and one you do not want to miss

Title: THE GRACE YEAR

Author: KIM LIGGETT

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION, FEMINIST FICTION

Length: 416 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESSWEDNESDAY BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 8, 2019

ISBN: 9781250145444

Price: $16.99 USD

Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

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ELIZABETH BANKS TO DIRECT AND PRODUCE THE GRACE YEAR FOR UNIVERSAL PICTURES.

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MY REVIEW:

I just finished reading Kim Liggett’s upcoming novel THE GRACE YEAR which releases in only two days and it has quickly become one of my favorite books of all time.

A mixture of several styles of books including Dystopian fiction, horror, speculative fiction, literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, dramas and feminist fiction, this book is all-around phenomenal. Reminiscent of a mixture of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, Lord of the Flies and Gathering Blue.

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READ THE KIRKUS REVIEW OF THE GRACE YEAR BY CLICKING HERE!!!
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Magic, lies, deception, discrimination, madness, despair and the tiniest flutterings of rebellion abound in this exceptional work of Speculative fiction perfect for our current generation of young women.

Set in a future world where women are the possessions of men. At birth, their feet are branded with the sigil of their fathers. They remain in his possession until the day when a man gives them a veil, signifying the transfer of ownership from father to their betrothed and eventual husband. The women have no choice. They cannot say no. If there are more women than men, the extra women are sent to work in the necessary and difficult menial labor of ensuring the survival of the entire colony.

Sounds horrific already, right? Well, as usually occurs in life, it gets worse. This is due to the ritual of The Grace Year. Every year, the girls who turn sixteen years old are sent out into the wild for a full year. Not all of those who leave the colony will return. The dangers are numerous and since speaking of The Grace Year is forbidden, the girls know almost nothing of the situations they are about to encounter.

Sixteen year old Tierney James is not like the rest of the girls her age who titter and smile coyly at the village’s young men in hopes of receiving a veil from one of them. Tierney has zero desire to be a wife. As she sees it, “There’s no freedom in comfort. They’re padded shackles, to be sure, but shackles nonetheless.”

Tierney dreams of a better life. A better world. One in which the women are free to speak their minds. She hopes for the women to come together and to work together to make everyone’s lives better. Unfortunately, this is exceedingly unlikely.

What the girls experience during their Grace Year changes each and every one of them in different ways, and author Kim Liggett has done a fabulous job of getting into the minds of her characters. I literally could not put this book down. At 416 pages, it should have taken at least a few days to read, but I couldn’t wait that long and finished the book within eighteen hours. Eighteen hours where I chose to forgo sleep and I do not regret a single second. My only complaint is that I wish the next book in the series was available already. If so, I would willingly give up sleep once more just to discover what happens next.

I believe this book will be on everyone’s reading list and that Bestseller status will be bestowed upon it very quickly. Books are rated on a scale of one to five stars, with five being the best. However, this book is deserving of more than just five stars. In fact, I am bestowing upon it my highest, most coveted rating: I rate THE GRACE YEAR as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you very much to #NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City to pursue a career in music. Along with lending her voice to hundreds of studio recordings, she was a backup singer for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80’s.

Kim spends her free time studying the tarot and scouring Manhattan for vials of rare perfume and the perfect egg white cocktail.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.kimliggett.com

GOODREADS – AUTHOR

GOODREADS – ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

FACEBOOK – AUTHOR

FACEBOOK – ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

FACEBOOK – WEDNESDAY BOOKS

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INSTAGRAM – PUBLISHER – ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

INSTAGRAM – WEDNESDAY BOOKS

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HANDS UP by Stephen Clark has been released and is a story that seems ripped from the headlines. You NEED to check out this book

Title: HANDS UP

Author: STEPHEN CLARK

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, SOCIAL THEMES

Length: 290 PAGES

Publisher: WiDō PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947966-20-8

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

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MY REVIEW:

This is a timely novel because of the very real increase in the number of police shootings of unarmed, young black men in the United States.

HANDS UP begins with Tyrell Wakefield being shot by rookie police officer Ryan Quinn. According to the police, the young man had punched Ryan’s older partner and was attempting to grab his gun.

However, Tyrell’s sister, Jade, finds that story very unlikely, as does her mother. So, Jade is determined to find out what really happened.

When Jade’s maternal Aunt turns Tyrell’s death into a #BlackLivesMatter rallying cry, the press get ahold of the story and it becomes bigger than Jade ever expected. It also brings an unexpected person back into the lives of Jade and the rest of her family and he is definitely NOT welcome.

Meanwhile, Ryan Quinn is horrified with what he has done. He never wanted to shoot anyone and he has never thought of himself as the racist monster he is being portrayed as. In fact, his police officer father was killed in the line of duty when Ryan was young, so he is accutely aware of the pain caused by losing a loved one to gun violence. Now, Ryan has a decision to make. Should he be loyal to the police and his partner? Or should he follow his heart and his conscience?

I enjoyed this book even more than I had anticipated. I had some idea of how the tale would unfold, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is not a predictable read and author Stephen Clark has created characters of depth and complexity.

In addition to the obvious issue of police shootings, several other social issues are also part of this story. In my opinion, this makes the story seem even more realistic. Police shootings do not happen in a vacuum and there are almost always several factors that contribute to the tragedy.
In DON’T SHOOT, racism by the police is not the only problem. The area in which the shooting takes place is poverty-stricken due to lack of education and employment opportunities, gang violence, a lack of social programs and much more.

On top of the above problems, this story also talks about homelessness, single parenting, divorce, abandonment, addiction, cutting, and even suicide. The author does a fabulous job of describing these issues and how each of them has affected the lives of the characters, and how a single issue can affect different individuals in different ways.

With non-stop action, current events, exquisitely complicated characters and a twisting plot, HANDS UP is a fantastic and must read, newly released novel.

This IS most definitely a book worthy of being on your “To Read” list. In fact, I will not be surprised when HANDS UP becomes an award-winning novel.

I rate this book as 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would like to thank the author for sending me a copy of this book.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the Washington, D.C. bureau of FoxNews.com. As a reporter for the Utica Observer-Dispatch, he won a New York Newspaper Publishers Association Award of Distinguished Community Service for his investigation into the financial struggles of nonprofit services.

He also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for Investigative Reporting at the Stamford Advocate for his series exposing an elderly grifter’s charity organization.

Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son.

He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Arcadia University and a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

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RED RIVER GIRL: The Life And Death of Tina Fontaine BY Award Winning Journalist and Author JOANNA JOLLY – A 5 STAR LOOK AT ONE MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS TEEN

Title: RED RIVER GIRL
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Subtitle: The Life and Death of Tina Fontaine
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Author: JOANNA JOLLY
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Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, INDIGENOUS NON-FICTION

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Length: 320 PAGES

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Publisher: VIKING – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: AUGUST 27, 2019

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ISBN: 9780735233935

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Price: $16.95 USD (Paperback)

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

On August 17, 2014, the body of fifteen-year old runaway Tina Fontaine was found in Winnipeg’s Red River. It was wrapped in material and weighted down with rocks. Red River Girl is a gripping account of that murder investigation and the unusual police detective who pursued the killer with every legal means at his disposal. The book, like the movie Spotlight, will chronicle the behind-the-scenes stages of a lengthy and meticulously planned investigation. It reveals characters and social tensions that bring vivid life to a story that made national headlines.

Award-winning BBC reporter and documentary maker Joanna Jolly delves into the troubled life of Tina Fontaine, the half-Ojibway, half-Cree murder victim, starting with her childhood on the Sagkeeng First Nation Reserve. Tina’s journey to the capital city is a harrowing one, culminating in drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and death.

Aware of the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Jolly has chronicled Tina Fontaine’s life as a reminder that she was more than a statistic. Raised by her father, and then by her great-aunt, Tina was a good student. But the violent death of her father hit Tina hard. She ran away, was found and put into the care of Child and Family Services, which she also sought to escape from. That choice left her in danger.

Red River Girl focuses not on the grisly event itself, but on the efforts to seek justice. In December 2015, the police charged Raymond Cormier, a drifter, with second-degree murder. Jolly’s book will cover the trial, which resulted in an acquittal. The verdict caused dismay across the country.

The book is not only a true crime story, but a portrait of a community where Indigenous women are disproportionately more likely to be hurt or killed. Jolly asks questions about how Indigenous women, sex workers, community leaders, and activists are fighting back to protect themselves and change perceptions. Most importantly, the book will chronicle whether Tina’s family will find justice.

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THIS BOOK IS ON THE TORONTO STAR’S TOP TEN BESTSELLER LIST
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MY REVIEW:

As proud as I am to be Canadian, there are many things I wish I could change. There are even things that make me ashamed of my country and one of those things is how Indigenous people have historically been treated. Even more horrifying is that although it is finally improving, at least in some areas, Indigenous people still face an unconsciounable amount of racial discrimination to this very day. This racism and discrimination is not limited to Canada, and is a Continent-Wide issue.

The reason I bring up racism is because it is definitely a factor of Tina Fontaine’s disappearance and murder as chronicled in RED RIVER GIRL.

Police map of missing limbs in the Red River – Photo obtained from the BBC

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Author Joanna Jolly has researched Tina Fontaine’s life from childhood up to, and even after her death. I believe that Joanna Jolly’s experience as not only a journalist and author, but also as a documentary film maker has culminated in a book that must be read. She does not shy away from disclosing the horror that Tina experienced in her short fifteen years of life. Not does she gloss over the cultural stigma Tina lived with every day of her life.

This book not only highlights the life and death of Tina Fontaine, it also highlights the excellent investigative skills shown by the dogged police detective who pulled out all the stops to find Tina’s killer and to bring him to justice. However, that was not to be.

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When killer Raymond Cormier’s trial ended up with him being acquitted, people across Canada (myself included) were both outraged and dismayed. The only positive that came from that trial was the spotlight that was shone on the horrific epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

If you care about the truth, if you care about our Indigenous population, if you want to be more informed regarding Indigenous homelessness, as well as other related topics, you need to buy a copy of this book.

I rate RED RIVER GIRL as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

Thelma Favel – Tina’s Great Aunt

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JOANNA JOLLY

Joanna Jolly is a multi-award winning former BBC South Asia Editor and documentary film maker. Over the past decade, she has reported from Jerusalem, Brussels, Kathmandu, Washington DC and Delhi. Red River Girl is her debut novel. In 2016, she was a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Represented by Susanna Lea Associates on behalf of Toby Mundy Associates

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