AUMA’S LONG RUN by Debut Author EUCABETH ODHIAMBO is a fascinating look at the African AIDS epidemic from the point of view of a pre-teen girl. 

Title: AUMA’S LONG RUN     

Author: EUCABETH ODHIAMBO 

Genre: FICTION, MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION

Length: 293 PAGES

Publisher: CAROLRHODA BOOKS – A DIVISION OF LERNER PUBLISHING GROUP      
Type of Book: HARDCOVER    

Received From: GOODREADS GIVEAWAY     

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2784-4   

Price: $17.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS                          🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    

DESCRIPTION:   

Auma loves to run. In her small Kenyan village, she’s a track star with big dreams. A track scholarship could allow her to attend high school and maybe even become a doctor. But a strange new sickness called AIDS is ravaging the village, and when her father becomes ill, Auma’s family needs her help at home.

Soon more people are getting sick—even dying—and no one knows why.

Now Auma faces a difficult choice. Should she stay to support her struggling family or leave to pursue her own future? Auma knows her family is depending on her, but leaving might be the only way to find the answers to questions about this new disease.  

 

MY REVIEW:

This novel is targeted at young adults and middle-grade readers, however it will also appeal to adults.

It is author Eucabeth Odhiambo’s debut novel and was released less than two months ago.

It tells the tale of 12 year old Auma who lives with her family in a small village in Kenya. It is set in the 1980s when AIDS was first rearing its ugly head in Africa and when very little information was known about the disease.

People are dying every week in Auma’s small village and noone really knows why. They nicknamed the disease “Slim,” probably because patients wasted away before they died.

People didn’t understand why only adults were dying. The young and the elderly seemed to be spared. However, the young were often left as orphans and had to struggle to earn enough money so they wouldn’t starve. Unfortunately, many of these “AIDS Orphans” did end up starving to death.

Auma wants to get educated. She wants to become a doctor But, to do that she must first attend high school. How can she attend school even if she does receive a scholarship when her family needs her to either marry or work to keep her siblings alive?

This tale is not the story of any specific individual or family. Instead, it is the story of what many in Kenya endured before proper information was learned about this heinous disease.

AUMA’S LONG RUN contains wonderfully evocative writing that brings the setting to life for readers. This is demonstrated even in the simplest of sentences, such as: “The rays of the setting sun felt like tongues of fire upon my back.”

The characters are heart-breakingly believable and it is impossible for readers not to feel empathy for Auma and her family. The fact that author Eucabeth Odhiambo grew up in Kenya explains why the setting feels so authentic.

Part of why I like this book so much is that the author does not shy away from the horror of the AIDS victims that Auma encounters. The author wrote this book with the education of readers in mind, and educate she does. Auma sees the lesions and sores appear on her mother’s skin and takes care of her as she wastes away.
This is important. Readers need to know that AIDS is a horrific disease. As Auma learns more about the disease ravaging her village, the reader also learns. Eucabeth Odhiambo has written a story that both entertains and educates her readers and for that, she should be applauded.

I highly recommend this book and rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars for Middle-grade readers. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

To hear the author read an excerpt from Auma’s Long Run click HERE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  

Eucabeth Odhiambo is a professor of teacher education at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.

As a classroom teacher she has taught all grades between kindergarten and middle school.

Eucabeth grew up in Kenya in the 80’s and 90’s and saw her friends and relatives directly impacted by the disease. “There were so many deaths,  [Eucabeth], like Auma, had many unanswered questions – partly because information simply wasn’t available, and partly because [her] society did not encourage open conversation about the disease.”

After moving to the United States in the early 2000s, Eucabeth obtained her doctoral degree and while studying AIDS education in Kenyan schools,      she returned to Kenya to interview both children and teachers. She spoke to many AIDS orphans and “…was amazed at how strong these children were. Of course they struggled under the weight of depression and desperation – not to mention threat of starvation – but life had to go on.”

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

GOODREADS    

FACEBOOK    

AMAZON     

CHAPTERS      

BARNES AND NOBLE    

 

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:  

Committed to Education Since 1959

Lerner Publishing Group is one of the nation’s largest independently owned children’s publishers with more than 5,000 books in print. For more than 50 years, they’ve created nonfiction and fiction books for pre-school to young adult readers and for libraries, classrooms, and homes across the country.

They bring together authors, illustrators, photographers, and educators to ensure that each book is age-appropriate and meets curriculum standards. Lerner books are thoroughly researched and exceptionally written with amazing illustrations and captivating photography that hold readers’ attention. And because each year brings a new class of students, we use our proprietary Muscle Bound®hardcover library binding so our books last a lifetime in the classroom and library. We guarantee it.

Learn more about this Publisher by clicking on the links below:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

TWITTER    

FACEBOOK       

INSTAGRAM   

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F.O.L.D. BOOK BASH was terrific – Check out the amazing and diverse authors, poets and publishers I met on Saturday.



F.O.L.D. stands for FESTIVAL OF LITERARY DIVERSITY 

Today at City Hall in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, FOLD hosted the 2017 Book Bash. 

WHAT IS A FOLD BOOK BASH?

  • A one-day book market designed to give authors and book selling organizations a space to promote their books. 
  • A chance for the community to learn about books written by local authors
  • The ability for consumers to learn about and to purchase multicultural books that reflect the diversity of the city and  country in which they live
  • A chance to meet the authors of those books and to have them autographed 
  • As well as the chance to listen to authors read from, and talk about their books. 

    FOLD is the first and only literary festival in Canada to focus on diverse authors and stories.

    The first Festival of Literary Diversity was held in May 2016 and included more than 25 unique sessions held over three days with over thirty of Canada’s most exciting authors.

    Mark your calendars for May 3rd to May 5th, 2018 for the next Festival. There will be quite a few authors and publishers with many different sessions to choose from.

    CHECK IT OUT – YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID. 

    AUTHORS I MET ON SATURDAY  & SOME AMAZING BOOKS YOU NEED TO OWN


    #1. 

    JAEL RICHARDSON 


    Jael Richardson
     is one busy woman. Besides being the Founder and Creative Art Director of the Festival of Literary Diversity, she is also an author in her own right.

    Her book THE STONE THROWER: A DAUGHTER’S LESSON, A FATHER’S LIFE is a memoir based on her relationship with her father, CFL quarterback Chuck Ealey. The memoir received a CBC Bookie Award and earned Richardson an Acclaim Award and a My People Award as an Emerging Artist and was adapted into a children’s book in 2016. 

    To learn more about Jael, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

    GOODREADS          

    TWITTER    

    FACEBOOK          

    INSTAGRAM        

    CHAPTERS              

    This is me with Jael at the 2017 FOLD Book Bash

    #2. 

    DEJA BEALS has been writing poetry since the age of sixteen. She finds her inspiration for her poetry in family, friends and everyday experiences.  

    DĖJA BEALS has been writing poetry since the age of 16. You would never know that during those early writing days, her poetry was filled with incorrect grammar. Now, like Déja herself, her writing has matured and
     developed. Her work has blossomed to include a range of topics such as love, faith and everyday experiences.

    Déja finds her poetic inspiration in family, friends and her daily experiences.

    She is known for her silly moments, big laugh and even bigger heart. She has been said to have wisdom beyond her years and uncanny insight which adds depth to her writing. She is currently living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

    DÉJA’S OFFICIAL BLOG     

    GOODREADS      

    TWITTER     

    FACEBOOK     

    INSTAGRAM    


    AMAZON          

    DISCOVERING DIVERSITY PUBLISHING    

    3, 4 and 5.

    I met these three very gracious and amazing women at the FOLD Brampton Book Bash. 

    About the multitalented Catherine Graham – Not only has she written the fiction novel QUARRY but she is also only days away from the launch off her new poetry collection THE CELERY FOREST which is being published by Wolsak and Wynn

    Author and Poet – CATHERINE GRAHAM

    QUARRY is a fictional story set in Southern Ontario during the 1980s. Only child Caitlin Maharg lives with her parents beside a water-filled limestone quarry, but her idyllic upbringing collapses when she learns her mother is dying. After a series of family secrets emerge, Caitlin must confront the past and face her uncertain future. 

    THE CELERY FOREST      

    Like Wonderland or Oz, Neverland or Narnia, The Celery Forest is an extraordinary world filled with strange creatures and disorienting sights. But the doorway to the Celery Forest is not a rabbit hole or an old wardrobe. The doorway is an MRI. For poet and novelist Catherine Graham, this is the topsy-turvy world she found herself in after learning she had breast cancer.

         More than a survivor’s tale, these poems are a map through unknowable terrain, infused with awareness and forgetting, written by a poet with the visionary ability to distill our sense of wonder into something we can hold.
    TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CATHERINE GRAHAM, VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS: 

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

    GOODREADS 

    TWITTER   

    FACEBOOK    

    INSTAGRAM      

    AMAZON       


    CHAPTERS         

         
    #4.  

    Publisher & Author Alexander Leggett  

    CEO and Founder of Two Wolves Press, Alexandra Leggat is the author of the novel The Incomparables as well as several other published works. 

    Alexandra started Two Wolves  Press as a way to nurture talent without compromise  – to work closely with Two Wolves writers to follow and trust their intuition and publish “instinctual fiction”. 

    Two Wolves Press publishes Catherine Graham’s novel QUARRY and
    Aileen Santos’ SOMEONE LIKE YOU.

    To learn more about this Publisher and author, visit the following links:
     
    OFFICIAL WEBSITE   


    GOODREADS     

    TWITTER   

    FACEBOOK        

    INSTAGRAM      

    AMAZON     

    CHAPTERS       

    MORE INFO COMING IN MY NEXT BLOG POST. 


    Mark Your 2018 Calendar for the release of FISH-BOY by Vanita Oelschlager – AN INUIT FOLK TALE Beautifully Illustrated 

    Title: FISH-BOY    
    Subtitle: AN INUIT FOLK TALE    

    Author: VANITA OELSCHLAGER

    Illustrator: MIKE BLANC 

    Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, MULTICULTURAL BOOKS, INUIT STORIES

    Length: 25 PAGES     

    Publisher: VANITA BOOKS
    http://www.vanitabooks.com

    Type of Book: EBOOK

    Received From: NETGALLEY

    Release Date: MAY 1, 2018

    ISBN: 978-1-938164-20-0 (Hardcover)

    ISBN: 978-1- 938164-21-7 (Paperback)

    Price: (HARDCOVER) $15.95 USD

    Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟
    DESCRIPTION:  

    The Arctic region of North America is a land of long days, icy cold, hardy people and peculiar creatures.  The Inuit people there have made traditional use of remarkable folk tales to find truth and explain the mysteries of an astonishing world.

    In Fish-Boy, An Inuit Folk Tale, Vanita Oelschlager retells a tale passed down by a wise old Inuit. 

    Fish-Boy is an origin story involving an odd young boy who has a big heart. On a journey with his new father, he must confront misfortune and the malice of cold hearted villagers.  But he has a way… and a lesson for all in the virtues of kindness and hospitality.

    MY REVIEW:   

    I have always been fascinated by folk-tales and those told by Aboriginal or Inuit storytellers are some of the very best.

     There were two main reasons that traditional Inuit stories were told. Firstly, stories were used to explain the world around them, and secondly, they were used to teach traditional values to the next generation.

    The cover of this book is so beautifully illustrated that I was immediately drawn to it. I believe that children will be drawn to it as well. In fact, the illustration of the boy with the puffin on his head brings to mind Disney illustrations. Mike Blanc is obviously a very talented individual.

    FISH-BOY is the story of “… why there are so many sea-parrots on the stony islands of the far North.” 

    It is the story of a lame Inuit fisherman who one day saw a fish that was unlike anything he had seen before. “It appeared] to have a head like a man and feet behind its tail.” To the fisherman’s surprise, the fish spoke to him saying, “Do not spear me. I am not a fish. I am Fish-Boy … I have no parents, and I am very lonely. I want you to be my father.”

    The fisherman was lame, but he had found a way to survive. He wasn’t sure what use an armless Fish-Boy would be, but out of kindness, he took him in and Fish-Boy became his son.

    This act of kindness changed both their lives for the better and the pair had amazing adventures.

    You will need to read this book to discover exactly what adventures they had, what trials and tribulations they faced and to discover how their story finally reveals the reason that there are so many sea-parrots on the stony islands today. I promise that this is a story worth reading.

    I love that this book not only tells the story of Fish-Boy, but also includes details of traditional Inuit life. Also included at the back of the book are definitions of some of the story’s less commonly known words.

    In addition to being a fantastic story, another wonderful thing about not only this book, but all books published by Vanita Books is that they donate ALL net profits to “charities where people help people help themselves.” Ten percent of the net profits for FISH-BOY will be donated to The Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis, the other ninety percent will go to other charities. 

    I rate this book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

    * Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book.




    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


    VANITA OELSCHLAGER is a wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist, former teacher, current caregiver, author and poet.

    She is a graduate of the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as Trustee. Vanita is also Writer in Residence for the Literacy Program at the University of Akron.

    She and her husband Jim received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2006. Vanita also won the Congressional Angels Adoption Award for the State of Ohio in 2007 and was named National Volunteer of the Year by the MS Society in 2008. 

     
    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

    GOODREADS     

    TWITTER        

    FACEBOOK               

    AMAZON               

    CHAPTERS        


    ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: 


    MIKE BLANC is an author and an award-winning illustrator of children’s literature.

    His artwork has illuminated countless publications for both corporate and public interests, worldwide. Mike contributes creative direction and illustration.

    He lives with his wife, Gail, in sunny Doylestown, Ohio. They enjoy their four children, and five grandchildren.

    To learn more about this amazing illustrator, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE       

    GOODREADS     

    TWITTER         

    LINKEDIN        

    AMAZON         

    CHAPTERS      

    NEW RELEASE – “CROSSING THE LINE” by Bibi Belford is Historical Middle-grade Fiction at its finest. A 5 Star Read recommended for ages 10 to 110. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

    Title: CROSSING THE LINE

    Author: BIBI BELFORD    

    Genre: FICTION, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION, DIVERSE BOOKS, HISTORICAL FICTION

    Length: 287 PAGES

    Publisher: SKY PONY PRESS – An Imprint of SKYHORSE PUBLISHING

    Type of Book: HARDCOVER

    Received From: PUBLISHER

    Release Date: AUGUST 22, 2017  

    ISBN: 978-1-5107-0800-6 

    Price:  $15.99 USD

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟  


    DESCRIPTION:

    “I’m excited about my new historical fiction,CROSSING THE LINE, a middle grade novel to be published in 2017 by Sky Pony Press.

    It’s set in Bridgeport, Chicago in 1919, and told through the eyes of eleven-year-old Billy McDermott.

    Billy is pretty sure skin color doesn’t matter. Not when you and Foster, your fifth grade buddy and his brothers, Odelle and Emmett, are just horsing around, building a raft.

    But in the Red Summer of 1919, it does matter, and Billy’s misguided innocence causes Odelle’s murder, igniting Chicago’s bloodiest race riot.”

    Bibi Belford, Author of Crossing the Line, Canned and Crushed, and other middle grade fiction.


    MY REVIEW:


    CROSSING THE LINE
     is a brand new middle-grade fiction novel released August 22nd, 2017. The timing of this book’s release could not be better.

    With racial tensions currently  rising across the United States, it is time to remind adults that those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. Even though this book is targeted at children between the ages of 10-14, it is written in such a way that adults will enjoy reading it as well.

    Set in the year 1919, this is a fictional story told around actual historic events. CROSSING THE LINE would be perfect for book reports and/or book clubs. I believe that after reading this book, children will be interested in digging deeper and learning more about their nation’s history. Even if that does not happen, readers will find themselves with a much better understanding of the role of race in American history. 

    I love the fact that author Bibi Belford chose 1919 as the time period for this book. The events in the book occur after the soldiers who survived have returned from World War One. In fact, the main character, Billy, is dealing with his father’s return from the war. Instead of returning as a celebrated, conquering hero, Billy’s Dad is confined to the Veterans Hospital with a severe case of Shell Shock. This leaves Billy as the “Man of the House” and leaves his mother struggling to provide her family with a roof over their heads and to put food on their table.

    To help reduce household expenses, Billy leaves the Catholic school he has always attended and in which he was just another Irish Catholic kid, like all the other students. There was zero diversity among the students and their families.

    Now attending Public School, Billy befriends a student in his class named Foster. Both boys love baseball and bond over that as well as the fact that both their fathers fought in the war.

    The author took this picture of CERMAK BRIDGE which is where one of the scenes in the book takes place.

    Foster is black and even though the two boys see nothing wrong with being friends, but when the city’s residents find out about it, a series of events take place that culminates in murder and citywide mayhem.

    five policemen and one soldier with a rifle standing on a street corner during a race riot in the Douglas community areaof Chicago, Illinois

    A white gang looking for Black victims

    An African American being stoned during the race riots

    With perfection in character building, and a plot that will have readers riveted, CROSSING THE LINE is a 5 Star Read. It will remind people of one of the darkest periods in Chicago’s history and remind us that small actions matter. The time to stand up against racism is now. We cannot allow history to repeat itself.

    I highly recommend this book and I would like to thank the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

    Teacher-turned-Author  

    |  Literacy Advocate  |  

    Educational Consultant

     Gardening Enthusiast 

     |  Writer-Mentor  

    |  Admirer of Lighthouses

     | Kid’s-Fiction Writer

    Bibi Belford is the author of books for middle grade readers: CROSSING THE LINE, CANNED AND CRUSHED, THE GIFT, and ANOTHER D FOR DEEDEE (coming 2018). 

    She lives in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois with her husband. She enjoys books, gardening, beaches, and spending time with her grandchildren. 

    Belford also works as an educational consultant and volunteers in public schools. She is a member of CWA – Chicago Writers Association, SCBWI-Illinois, and has served as a panelist for author Success Stories at the UW-Madison Writers’ Institute.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links: 

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

    GOODREADS       

    TWITTER       

    FACEBOOK       

    INSTAGRAM          

    PINTEREST     

    AMAZON


    CHAPTERS


     

    ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: 

    Launched in fall 2011, Sky Pony Press is the children’s book imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. Following in the footsteps of our parent company, our goal is to provide books for readers with a wide variety of interests. Our continually growing list includes fiction, picture books, educational books, novelty books, and midgrade, and we even reissue some well-loved classics. Since we do not view our potential readers as generic age groups, but rather as individual children, each with specific talents and needs, we publish in a broad range of subject matter to celebrate their diverse interests.

    To learn more about Sky Pony Press click on the logo above, or click HERE.

    *** Thank you to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of CROSSING THE LINE. 



    THE LAST NEANDERTHAL by Claire Cameron – The best prehistoric fiction book since “Clan of the Cave Bear”

    Title: THE LAST NEANDERTHAL

    Author: CLAIRE CAMERON    

    Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

    Length: 272 PAGES     

    Publisher: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE 

    Type of Book: AUTOGRAPHED HARDCOVER

    Book Jacket Designer: GREGG KULICK

    Purchased From: BOOK LORE – An Independent Book Store located in Orangeville, Ontario
    Release Date: APRIL 2017   

    ISBN: 978-0-385-68678-5    

    Price: $29.95 CDN (HARDCOVER)

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    MY REVIEW:

    When was the last time you pondered the similarities between Neanderthals and modern man? If you’re scratching your head because you can’t remember, you are not alone. Before reading THE LAST NEANDERTHAL by CLAIRE CAMERON, I hadn’t thought about Neanderthals since reading CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR by Jean M. Auel many, many years ago.

    In this book, Archaeologist Rosamund (Rosa) Gale makes an astounding discovery that just might change everything we thought we knew about Neanderthals.

    The book flips back and forth between Rosa’s story and that of a Neanderthal simply called, “Girl.”

    Most people view Neanderthals as little more than savage beasts who just happen to look like us. However, if that were true, why do so many people contain traces of Neanderthal DNA.

    I enjoyed reading Girl’s story and there are many parallels between her story and that of Rosa Gale.

    I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 I believe this book will get people talking and that is always a good thing.

    FAVORITE QUOTE:

    “Their lives together had slipped away as the ice breaks from the river in the Spring. It does not melt off in a slow thaw. Instead, a series of deep cracks destabilizes the structure. When it goes, large chunks get pulled away all at once. And in the span of a day, before disbelieving eyes, the ice is gone. But underneath the river is the same…”

    ABOUT THE BOOK JACKET DESIGNER:

    GREGG KULICK is a graphic designer and art director at HarperCollins in New York City. He lives in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn.  

    To see more book covers designed by him visit his official website HERE.
     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Photo by David Kerr

    (COPIED FROM THE AUTHOR’S WEBSITE)

    When I was young I read The Clan of the Cave Bear and watched “Quest for Fire,” but Neanderthals felt as distant as dinosaurs. In school I was taught Neanderthals were an evolutionary step between the apes and us—hairy, primitive knuckle-draggers.

    In 2010, a team sequenced a first draft of the Neanderthal genome and made an extraordinary discovery. Modern humans of European and Asian descent have inherited between 1-4% of their DNA from Neanderthals. Most scientists agree this is evidence of interbreeding between the two groups. Rather than a more evolved version of Neanderthals, we are close cousins.

    But we think of ourselves as the ones who drove the Neanderthals to extinction, rather than having sex with them. So how did modern humans and Neanderthals make contact? We can’t know the answer, but a novelist should take on the risk involved in imagining one.

    I worked with experts and used the new science of Neanderthals like a set of rules, or creative constraints, to build the story. My experience living and working in the outdoors gave me some insight into how surviving in the wild might have felt more than 40,000 years ago.

    My novel is about Neanderthals, but it’s also a story that questions what it means to be human.

    To learn more about this talented Canadian author who currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

    GOODREADS     

    TWITTER     

    FACEBOOK     

    INSTAGRAM        

    AMAZON       

    CHAPTERS     

    Read The New York Times Book Review HERE.

    HASHTAGS:

    @penguinrandom @PenguinBooks @PenguinCanada @randomhouse @RandomHouseCA ⠀
    @doubledaybooks @littlebrown

     #clairecameron #bookface #instabook #bookstagram #indiebookstore #readlocal #toronto #torontoauthors #canlit #thelastneanderthal #canadianauthor #readandreview #newbook #newrelease #mustread #book #bookblogger #tbr #tbrlist #bookstagrammer #fiction #bookreview #bookreviewer #booklorebookstore #CanadianPride #Canadian #instagramhub #instalike #thefinchbook #neanderthal #historicalfiction #Amiesbookreviews #Amiesbookreview #history
    #archaeology #canadianauthors #randomhouse #readandreview #newbook #newrelease #mustread #bookblogger #bookreviewer #bookblog 

    THICKER THAN WATER by LEXIE CONYNGHAM – New Release and Blog Tour 

    Title: THICKER THAN WATER   

    Author: LEXIE CONYNGHAM 

    Genre: HISTORICAL CRIME FICTION 

    OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION: 

    When young Walter finds a dead body along with the dead fish in his tutor’s fishpond, he knows he should tell his old master, Charles Murray of Letho. The dead man leaves a pretty wife and child and a broken string quartet, but someone must have profited by his death – could it be the avenger from his past as his widow fears, or is it someone from closer at hand? St. Andrews is once again the setting for a murder mystery, and a puzzle that Murray must solve before the murderer strikes again.  

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

    Lexie Conyngham has been publishing the Murray of Letho historical crime novels since 2011, but writing them for much longer.

    A historian and part-time teacher in North-East Scotland, she is also much involved in knitting, gardening and practical archaeology (that is, recreating things people did in the past.)

    To learn more about this author visit the following links: 

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

    GOODREADS     

    FACEBOOK     

    PINTEREST     

    AMAZON    

    CHAPTERS      

    BLOG TOUR HOSTED BY: 

    To learn more about b00k r3vi3w Tours visit the following links: 

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

    TWITTER     

    FACEBOOK    

    GOODREADS     

    National Jewish Books Award Winner – ON BLACKBERRY HILL by Rachel Mann examines the mother-daughter connection in a unique way. 

    Title: ON BLACKBERRY HILL 

    Author: RACHEL MANN 

    Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, JEWISH FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION, INDIE FICTION

    Length: 194 PAGES

    Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

    Release Date: 2016

    ISBN: 9781535262910

    Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

    Awards Won: National Jewish Book Award Winner      


     

    Reena has no desire to spend her last summer before high school at her cousin’s Jewish residential summer camp far away from her life in the city. She may be Jewish, but living with her non-practicing father means that she does not feel a deep devotion to her dead mother’s faith.

    When her father announces that he is leaving the city for the entire summer, Reena’s fate is sealed. Whether she likes it or not, and she really does NOT, she will be living at the camp in Upstate New York until her father returns. Reena will have her cousin with her at camp, but they barely tolerate each other, so that won’t make much difference.

    Twenty years earlier, her mother had attended that same camp, but her mother died when Reena was a baby, so it’s not as if Reena knows anything about Naomi’s time at camp.

    This book is written in two different time periods and from two different perspectives. It tells not only the tale of Reena’s time at camp, but also the story of her mother, Naomi’s time at that same camp approximately twenty years earlier.

    How do the two stories intertwine? You will need to read this book to find out, and you will not be disappointed.

    Rachel Mann has penned a moving story that goes beyond the Jewish faith. Yes, the characters are Jewish, but that is only a small part of who they are. This book won the National Jewish Book Award, but again, the “Jewish” part of that award is only a small part. Rachel Mann won the award on the merit of the story.

    I love how Rachel Mann seemlessly transitions between Naomi’s past and Reena’s present. The fact that Naomi died when Reena was just a baby means that Reena knows almost nothing about her mother. Sure, her father mentions her from time to time, but he really doesn’t tell her much and Reena is desperate to find some way to connect with the mother she never knew. Camp Tova just might be that place.

    Author Rachel Mann has a bright future ahead. She has a gift for getting to the heart of the story and to create characters with depth.

    This multi-generational story depicts how the choices we make can effect the future of not just ourselves, but of our family and friends as well. 

    I rate ON BLACKBERRY HILL as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


    Rachel Mann is the author of the young adult novel, ON BLACKBERRY HILL, winner of the 2016 National Jewish Book Award for Young Adult Literature, and the play CLASS MOTHER, nominated for best play at the Winterfest Theater Festival 2016. Her theatrical work has been seen at Forward Theater Company in Madison, WI, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s First Brew, Naked Angels Tuesdays at 9, The PlayGround Experiment, and InViolet Theater in NYC. Her writing has been published and performed at The Forward, Kveller, Liars’ League NYC, Manhattan Lit Crawl, and The Fish Anthology (UK). She graduated from the Novel Studio course at City University London, as well as from Columbia (BA) and NYU (MA). She lives in NYC with her husband and three daughters.

    To learn even more about the talented Rachel Mann, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE       

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    IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE by Leah Weiss is a beautifully written novel set in the Appalachian Mountains – A MUST READ – PRE-ORDER NOW!!!


    Title: IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE
    Author: LEAH WEISS

    Genre: FICTION

    Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK

    Release Date: AUGUST 8, 2017

    ISBN: 9781492647454

    Price: $15.99 USD

    Type of Book: ARC from Netgalley 

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    This is the debut novel written by LEAH WEISS.

    Set in the 1970s high in the Appalachian Mountain range sits a small, secluded community struggling to survive and to live their lives as they see fit.

    The inhabitant’s lives are not very different from the lives of their ancestors. Down the mountain, people are embracing new technologies and just about everyone has a car, indoor plumbing and telephones are installed in every home. Not so on the mountain. Outhouses are still in use and the mountain folk have no desire for the intrusion that improvements might bring.

    In fact, outsiders are treated with scorn and suspicion. Children are taught in a one-room schoolhouse that in theory sounds quaint and idyllic, but in reality is anything but.

    Teachers arrive with the best of intentions, but soon run away with their tails tucked between their legs  when they discover the harsh reality of mountain life. Their leaving could also have something to do with the fact that the last teacher’s home mysteriously caught fire in the middle of the night and burned to the ground.

    With character names such as Marris, Gladys, Sadie and Otis Blue, the author creates a sense of living in the past. There are too many characters and too many intertwined storylines to mention them here, but Leah Weiss has crafted a complex but believable and haunting tale that will tug at your heartstrings and make you shake your head in both exasperation and disbelief.

    IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE is as harsh and unapologetic as the immovable mountains. Leah Weiss has a gift for character building and the people who live on the mountain come alive on every page. Even the way the characters talk comes through as raw and authentic. For example, Sadie’s grandmother Gladys says, “From the start there’s been a film of dingy on my days. I’ve always done woman’s work; man’s work, too. Woke up with work to do, went to bed before it got done … I been chained to an iron life.”

    My favourite line in the book was when Gladys says that her friend is as annoying and clingy as chickenshit on shoes.

    I rate IF THE CREEK DON’T RISE as 5 out of 5 stars and predict that we will see this book at the top of the Bestseller lists as soon as it is released.  🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


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


    MY FAVOURITE QUOTES:


    “Only got the clothes on her back and a backbone that won’t bend.”


    “Ugly talk follows Roy like fleas on a mangy dog. He’s a spiteful, small-minded man who drinks hard and plays for keeps.”   


    “Truth always hurts and it’s extra hard to look at late in life.”


    “She’s got lessons to learn, and life’s one bugger of a teacher.”


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
    (In her own words – copied from her website)

    Leah Weiss’s roots are deep, simple and southern. 

    They started where my mama Lucy was born on a tobacco farm in the flatlands of eastern North Carolina. She was one of fifteen siblings raised without electricity or indoor plumbing. My daddy, a Marine from Cherry Point, saw my mama a handful of times. Then he married her on her eighteenth birthday in 1944. They settled near her family where my sister and I were born in a farming town, where neighborhoods were divided by train tracks and held together by church and traditions.Just about everybody we knew was kin.

    When I was ten, we left Carolina and moved to Virginia when my grandpop died. We moved in with Nana, and on the empty lot next door my parents built us a four-room home, sawing, hammering and painting. They were self-sufficient and hardworking people with humble dreams.

    In my childhood days, I fell in love with Nancy Drew mystery books. Every spare moment was spent between the covers of those blue books solving crimes and thinking that could be me. If my name was Nancy. If I had a roadster. If I was five years older. I have nineteen of those early Nancy Drew books on my bookshelf. They hooked me on the pull of imagination.

    But my world wasn’t Nancy Drew’s world. I took piano lessons that led to a scholarship that took me to Dunbarton College in Washington DC in the second half of the turbulent sixties. Our Nation’s Capital was in chaos over Vietnam, racial strife and women’s equality. Marches and sit-ins were the norm in that time of unrest. A year after college, I married, had a son, taught music, and wrote articles for a magazine. Two decades later, I divorced then took the job of executive assistant to the Headmaster at Virginia Episcopal School that lasted my next twenty-four years.

    In those years, I wrote memoirs and fiction whose rules weren’t always clear. I attended writing conferences and workshops, haunted bookstores and studied my favorite authors. I cut my writing teeth on a novel that didn’t sell and a string of short stories that did. Eventually, I found.my writing voice. No surprise, it’s southern and musical and best when read aloud. It is always about people who are self-sufficient and hard working with humble dreams.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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    A New MUST READ Young Adult novel that will have adult readers fondly thinking about growing up in the 80s. THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is available now!


     
    Title: THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS

    Author: JASON REKULAK     

    Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION  (THE 1980s)

    Length: 285 PAGES

    Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER 

    Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

    Received From: SIMON AND SCHUSTER through the Goodreads Giveaway program

    Cover Design: WILL STAHLE

    Release Date: FEBRUARY 7, 2017

    ISBN: 9781501166839

    Rating:   5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     

      

    I LOVED THIS BOOK. Although THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is targeted at young adult readers, anyone who, like me, grew up in the 1980s will find this book a trip down memory lane.

    Jason Rekulak may be a debut author, but it is obvious that his years working as an editor for Quark Books embued him with an excellent sense of the proper balance between the plot and character development.

    Will Marvin and his two best friends are the ultimate underdogs. It’s 1986 and Vanna White is the ultimate girl next door. When the boys learn that she is featured in Playboy magazine, they are determined to get copies.

    Will is a nerd. I can relate. I remember taking classes in Basic Code and doing anything on a computer took hours and hours of entering programming code. But, Will loves it. Hos ultimate life goal is to design video games for a living.

    Then he meets Mary Zelinsky. She is a computer nerd too. Will is stunned. He had no idea that there were girls who liked computers. Remember – this was the 80s and women were still battling the secretary stereotype.

    Can Will get the girl, perfect his video game called The Impossible Fortress, and get his hands on the dirty pictures of Vanna White?

    This novel will have adult readers waxing nostalgic for the less complicated days of their youth and both adults and young adults alike will be able to relate to the terror and elation of discovering the opposite sex for the first time.

    THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is liberally sprinkled with pop culture references and readers will find themselves digging out their old mixed-tapes.

    I absolutely loved this book and I will be recommending it to all my friends. I doubt this is the last we have heard from debut author Jason Rekulak and I, for one, can’t wait to read whatever he comes up with next.

    I rate this book with an enthusiastic 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    Now, I’m off to my basement to try to find my old Atari system. I can’t wait to play Space Invaders – old school style.


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

     

    JASON REKULAK was born and raised in New Jersey. He has worked for many years at Quirk Books, where he edits a variety of fiction and non-fiction.

    He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two children. THE IMPOSSIBLE FORTRESS is his first novel.

    To learn more and to play a version of The Impossible Fortress game, visit his website.

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    TRAPPED IN ICE by Canadian Author Eric Walters – A 5 Star YA Historical Fiction Thriller based on a true story. A MUST READ.

    Title: TRAPPED IN ICE

    Author: ERIC WALTERS 

    Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION, CANADIAN FICTION

    Length: 225 PAGES

    Publisher: PUFFIN CANADA – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE 

    Release Date: 1997

    ISBN: 978-1-77049-994-2 (Softcover)

    Price: $12.99 CDN ($8.91 on the Chapters.ca website)   

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    I sometimes wonder why we don’t learn more Canadian history in high school. I am 100% sure that if TRAPPED IN ICE was read in history class, not one student would complain of boredom.

    ERIC WALTERS has taken the tale of the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and fictionalized it into a tale that everyone should read.

    It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of historical fiction or not, this book will draw you in and you will find it nearly impossible to put down.

    Thirteen year old Helen lost her father and her home all within the span of a single year. Her mother accepted a job as a seamstress on the Canadian Arctic Expedition and arranged for Helen and her younger brother to join the expedition as well.

    Up until this trip, Helen has only ever experienced adventure through the many books she has read. What should have been a moderately scary trip becomes a nightmare when the ocean unexpectedly freezes over early. This catches everyone on board The Karluk by surprise, even the experienced and tough Captain Robert Bartlett. The ship becomes locked in the ice with no chance of a thaw for many months.

    Actual photo of the Karluk stuck in the ice in 1913

    In fact, it is likely that the ship will sink before the ice thaws enough for it to be released. What follows is a true tale of the ship’s Captain, crew and passengers and their terrifying trek across the ice flow to try to reach land.

    Photo of Captain Robert Bartlett at home in Newfoundland before leaving for the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition

    Readers will find themselves drawn into this harrowing tale of how Helen and the others push themselves beyond human endurance based solely on their will to survive.

    This book is not very long, it consists of only 225 pages and readers will become so swept up in the story that they will want to read it in a single day.

    I love the fact that author Eric Walters has chosen to bring to light a part of Canadian history that is largely unknown and I hope that he continues to write more books like this one.


    I rate TRAPPED IN ICE as 5 out of 5 Stars and I highly recommend this book to all readers aged ten and older. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

    To learn more about The 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and it’s true story click here

    TRAPPED IN ICE won the 1999 Silver Birch Award. 

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    It all began in 1993 when Eric was teaching a Grade 5 class.  His students were reluctant readers and writers and Eric began to write to encourage them to become more involved in literature.  His first novel, Stand Your Ground, was created for this class.  It is set in the school where Eric was teaching, Vista Heights Public School, and some of the features of the community of Streetsville and many of the names of his students were incorporated into the story.

      

    Since his first novel Eric has exploded on the children’s and young adult scene.  Over the following years he has published over 94 more novels and picture books with more than ten scheduled for the coming years.

    These novels have been enthusiastically received by children and young adults and critically acclaimed by teachers, reviewers and parents.  Eric’s novels have won more than 100 awards including eleven separate children’s choice awards. 

    He is the only three time winner of both the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch and Red Maple Awards – in which over 250,000 students participate and vote the winner.  In November 2013 he received the prestigious Children’s Africana Book Award – Best Book for young children – for his book The Matatu.  This American award was presented to Eric in a ceremony at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.

     https://youtu.be/yheY6Lut3iU   

    Eric’s novels are now available in places as far award as New Zealand, Australia, India and Nepal and have been translated into more than a dozen languages including French, German, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese.

    Eric has presented to more than 1,500,000 students across North America and internationally in Japan and Germany.  His presentations blend drama, storytelling, audience participation and interaction.  He presents to students from K – Grade 12 as well as adult groups and keynote speeches.

     June 2013 Eric became ‘Dr. Walters’ when he was granted the honorary degree of Literarum Doctorem by Wilfred Laurier University.  He gave the address to graduating  B.Ed., B.A. students in the spring convocation.

    Eric, along with his wife Anita, and Ruth and Henry Kyatha, are the co-founders of The Creation of Hope which provides for over 400 orphans and disadvantaged children throughout the Mbooni District of Kenya.

    100% of money donated by schools goes directly to serve and through the website these schools are shown – school by school, dollar by dollar, item by item – how their donations are spent.

    Eric is the father of three (Christina – born 1985, Nicholas – born 1988, and Julia – born 1992) and he and his wife live in Mississauga with their two dogs – Lola and Winnie the Poodle.  In his free time (what little of it he has) he walks, hikes, and plans his next adventure.  He spends time every summer in Kenya at his orphanage.

    To learn more about Eric and his phenomenal books visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

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    EMAIL: ericwaltersauthor@gmail.com