SNOWSISTERS – A New LGBTQ Young Adult Novel by Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick Releases in 8 Days

Title: SNOWSISTERS

Authors: TOM WILINSKY and JEN STERNICK

Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DIVERSE FICTION

Length: 256 PAGES

Publisher: INTERLUDE PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Cover Art: C.B. MESSER

Release Date: FEBRUARY 15, 2018

ISBN: 9781945053528

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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CONTENT WARNINGS:
***Some of the characters in this book are unreliable narrators. Some have opinions and information about the world which are not well-informed. Others are subjected to that ignorance.***

ADDITIONAL WARNING:

***This book contains transphobic and homophobic language and descriptions of transphobic bullying. It also contains misgendering of a transperson and a description of violent, homophobic child abuse.***

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DESCRIPTION:

High school students—Soph, who attends private school in Manhattan, and Tess, a public school student who lives on a dairy farm in New Hampshire—are thrown together as roommates at a week-long writing conference. As they get to know each other and the other young women, both Soph and Tess discover unexpected truths about friendship, their craft, and how to hold fast to their convictions while opening their hearts to love.

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MY REVIEW:

Tess is thrilled when she learns that her application to attend the Young Women’s Writing Conference has been accepted. Tess’s life on a dairy farm in a small town in New Hampshire is a far cry from the life led by fellow conference attendee Sophonia. Soph leads a life of privilege and luxury in New York City. In fact, her parents are some sort of exiled European royalty.

The two young women are almost complete opposites in every way. Tess is straight. Soph is gay. Tess writes anonymous Fan Fiction online and Soph writes rhyming poetry. Tess is an introvert and extremely shy. Soph is an extrovert who is a social butterfly. Tess plans to go into the army while Soph is applying to the prestigious Minerva College.

So, when these two girls are thrown together as roommates, neither one is sure of how to befriend the other, but both are determined to try.

Meanwhile, next door to their room are Chris and Orly. The tension between them is thick enough to cut with a knife. Chris fancies herself a feminist and a journalist, while Orly is planning to write a memoir about growing up in a small town. Chris may believe she is a feminist, but she is NOT. Orly is a trans girl which would not bother any true feminist, but Chris constantly refers to as her as “him.” She wants Orly banned from the retreat and her prejudice and discrimination are horrible.

How in the world are these young women all supposed to get along?

I have read some reviews of SNOWSISTERS in which people are upset by the inclusion of misgendering and discrimination in this story. However, it is the character they should be upset with, NOT the authors. This behaviour was included in the story because, unfortunately, there are still many people in the world that act just like Chris (or worse) when it comes to trans people. It is necessary to inform readers of the existence of this type of prejudice so that we can do everything possible to eradicate it. Tess says it best when talking to Soph: “It’s-it’s a hard world, Soph. It’s hard for everyone in different ways.”

As the Writing Conference progresses, so does the bonding between the attendees. Not only do they learn to improve their writing, they also improve their relationships and some form bonds that may last a lifetime.

This book is a glimpse into the lives of young women struggling with their identities and trying to decide what they want for their future. This applies to every teenager, whether gay or straight. They all need to find their place in the world and to do so while dealing with the massive changes in their bodies and minds that comes with adolescence.

The only issue I had with this story was with Soph’s diary entries. They are written in short verse and they seem very juvenile to me and as if they were written by a younger person. They definitely do not seem like they would have been good enough to gain her admittance to an elite writing workshop. Here is just one example of Soph’s diary entries:

“A powerless night with
three turns messy.
I’m surprised what comes
out with Hennessy.”

I believe that more books discussing being gay, trans, or pan and about coming out are necessary, but I look forward to the day when they are no longer needed. #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks

I rate SNOWSISTERS as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can pre-order this book now by clicking HERE.

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ENTER TO WIN ONE OF FIVE Multi-Format eBook Editions of SNOWSISTERS by Tom Wilinsky & Jen Sternick + $25 IP Web Store Gift Card Grand Prize

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!!! Hurry! Giveaway Ends February 27th, 2018

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

JEN STERNICK and TOM WILINSKY met in high-school where they started a conversation which, years later, is still ongoing.

ABOUT TOM: Tom lives in New York with his partner and the world’s most beloved orange tabby cat, Newky.

He likes cold weather, anything with zombies in it and old cars. Never has he ever…been picked first for a team in Phys. Ed… used a selfie-stick… gotten Jen to watch an episode of South Park….

ABOUT JEN: Jen lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two kids and a cranky seven-toed cat named Sassy.

She likes live theater, visiting any place she’s never been before, and admits to a mild Twitter addiction. Never has she ever…won a game of Scrabble…remembered the lyrics to the The Big Bang Theory theme song… been able to convince Tom to read a self-help book…

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Interlude Press is a boutique publisher of award-winning LGBTQ fiction. We publish fiction for Young Adult readers through our imprint Duet.

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THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE by Tehmina Khan is a story collection featuring characters who are usually ignoredin modern literature. It’s a MUST READ!

Title: THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE

Author: TEHMINA KHAN

Genre: FICTION, SHORT STORY COLLECTION, LGBTQ, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, DIVERSITY, CANADIAN LITERATURE

Length: 121 PAGES

Publisher: MAWENZI HOUSE

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE PUBLISHER

Release Date: OCTOBER 2017

ISBN: 978-1-988449-14-2

Price: $20.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Accomplished, sensitive, and often disturbing, these stories take us into the lives of modern Pakistanis—privileged and poor, gay, trans, and straight, men and women, in Karachi and Toronto.

“Whisperings of the Devil” takes us into the mind of a mistreated maidservant’s boy who gets seduced into the role of a suicide bomber.

In “To Allah We Pray,” two privileged and educated young men, one of them home from Toronto, gallivant through the streets of Karachi, finally walking into a doomed mosque.

“Things She Could Never Have” is a love story about two young trans women living in Karachi.

“Born on the First of July” opens the door into the home of a Toronto girl who has left to join ISIS and the devastated family she leaves behind.

“The First” will astonish many readers by its depiction of sexual encounters of young college girls in Pakistan.

These and other stories link us into the complexities of a sometimes troubled and often misrepresented Muslim society.

MY REVIEW:

I am aware that the stories contained within this wonderfully written collection are fiction, but it is all too easy to see that they contain at least a degree of truth.

First-time author TEHMINA KHAN has crafted tales that are so believable that you will find yourself wondering if some of them are actually non-fiction. This is the mark of a truly talented writer.

In the story, BORN ON THE FIRST OF JULY, parents of a Canadian born young woman are shocked when she leaves to join ISIS. They “…become news junkies… [and] scour the internet for news on ISIS, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.” “For us, she dies again and again. She is reborn again and again. There is nothing as cruel as hope.” She has taken a topic that is taboo and somehow made it relatable. Great job!

All of the stories in this collection are wonderfully written and will entrance the reader. This book was impossible to put down and I found myself thinking about each of the tales, long after I finished reading them.

Tehmina Khan has given a voice to those people whom modern day literature shuns and ignores. From transgender youth to Muslim women, readers are sure to read about characters they might otherwise never encounter. It is story collections like this one that are necessary now more than ever before.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend it. Tehmina Khan may be new to the publishing world, but I am sure we will be hearing more about her in the near future.

*Thank you to Mawenzi House Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tehmina Khan was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and holds degrees from Kinnaird College, Lahore, and Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales de Tunis.

She has her home in Toronto, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a cat. She is currently working on a novel.

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

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Mawenzi House is dedicated to bringing to the reading public fresh new writing from Canada and across the world that reflects the diversity of our rapidly globalizing world, particularly in Canada and the United States.

Our focus is on works that can loosely be termed “multicultural” and particularly those that pertain to Asia and Africa. We publish 6-8 titles of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction (literary criticism, history) per year.

Among our achievements: we have played a role in the formulation of the Indo-Caribbean identity through the publication of several ground-breaking titles; we have kept in print books by major Caribbean writers Sam Selvon, Ismith Khan, and John Stewart; we have published provocative and perceptive social and literary critical works by Arnold Itwaru, Arun Prabha Mukherjee, Chelva Kanaganayakam, and others; the introduction of the important Zimbabwean writer Yvonne Vera; the first historical and critical study of Chinese Canadian writing in English; the first anthologies of South Asian Canadian literature, South Asian Canadian women’s poetry, Chinese Canadian stories, and South Asian Canadian and American women’s fiction.

HISTORY

In 1981, a group of young people, who had been in North America for just over a decade, decided to take the plunge and start the magazine they had always dreamed about as students, at a time in which Naipaul had to be ordered from bookstores, let alone Narayan or Ngugi or Soyinka. The result was The Toronto South Asian Review, which later became the much broader-based The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad and helped entrench a generation of new writers. As an offshoot of this literary magazine, in 1985 TSAR Publications published its first title, a book of essays on South Asian Canadian literature, followed by a book of poetry by Sri Lankan Canadian Rienzi Crusz. Mawenzi House finally emerged, a uniquely diverse and knowledgeable publishing house based in Canada. (“Mawenzi” is the name of the second peak of Kilimanjaro.)

To learn more about Mawenzi House, visit the following links:

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***This book is part of my #2018AtoZChallenge on Ginger Mom’s Blog***

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   

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    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   

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    CHAPTERS       

    MORE INFO COMING IN MY NEXT BLOG POST. 


    COMPANY TOWN is one of Best DYSTOPIAN FICTION books published in the past few years. This is a MUST BUY. I give COMPANY TOWN 6 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    1503645363780

     Title: COMPANY TOWN   

    Author: MADELINE ASHBY     

    Genre: SCIENCE FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION, CANADIAN FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION

    Length: 285 PAGES      

    Publisher: TOR BOOKS  

    ISBN: 978-0-7653-9887-1 

    Price: $14.99 USD / $20.99 CDN

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

    CBC CANADA READS 2017      

    I purchased this book at Chapters from a display of books by Canadian authors. I was (and still am) thrilled to find a Canadian author writing Dystopian Science Fiction.

     I read A LOT of books and there are a ton of dystopian titles on the market. Some are just okay, most are pretty good and then there are the exceptional few that are so well written the author’s world comes to life and you never want the story to end. COMPANY TOWN is one such book.

    Not only is it easy to envision the setting – an entire city filled with people just trying to survive on what was once an oil rig and was never meant for long-term habitation, but MADELINE ASHBY has created an entirely new world history.

    In my opinion she is a literary genius. I realize that is a HUGE claim, but once you read COMPANY TOWN, I am fairly certain you will agree.

    I do not want to give away any parts of the plot or the setting, but I do want to get across to anyone reading this review that YOU NEED TO BUY THIS BOOK and YOU WILL BE HAPPY THAT YOU DID.

    With a carefully constructed plot, characters you can’t help but feel for, and incredible world-building, author Madeline Ashby has written a tale that is a warning to us all about caring for our environment and all those who live in it.

    The most terrifying aspect of COMPANY TOWN is that it might become  a reality if no changes are made to how we are all currently living. This book should be required reading for every man, woman and child (over the age of 16.) It is quite simply a MUST READ. I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

    Photo Credit: Kayleigh McCollum Photography

    Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA.       

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity, Tor.com, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.      

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

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE   

    GOODREADS  

    TWITTER       

    FACEBOOK   

    INSTAGRAM    

    LINKED IN       

    AMAZON.CA   

    AMAZON.COM      

    CHAPTERS      

    PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE     

    An Amazing Book Coming Soon – THE LAURAS by Sara Taylor 5 out of 5 Stars just is not enough – LOVED THIS BOOK 

    Title:  THE LAURAS   

    Author: SARA TAYLOR

    Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ

    Publisher: CROWN PUBLISHING, HOGARTH  

    Release Date:  AUGUST 1, 2017  

    EDITION: HARDCOVER

    ISBN: 9780451496850

    Price: $26.00 (USD)

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    

    Wow! I have just finished reading the final page of THE LAURAS and I can already tell you that this book is going to be on my list of the BEST BOOKS OF 2017.

    Although this book will not be officially released until August, I urge everyone that reads this review to put the date on your calendar and not to miss out.

    This is one of those extremely rare books that is worth standing in line for  – at midnight, on the eve of its release. Yes, IT IS THAT GOOD.

    THE LAURAS is a tale that will take readers on a journey of dual-discovery. It is a tale of a mother and child who set out on a cross country trip during which the mother makes multiple interesting side-trips.

    These trips could last a day, a month, or even several months. They could be boring (in Alex’s opinion), they could be strange, and sometimes they were even downright terrifying.

    Alex is a child (less due to her age, and more due to her limited life experience) when this story begins, but as the cross-country Odyssey continues Alex grows into a young adult. Thanks to the fact that Alex is the narrator, readers are brought along on Alex’s unique journey into the perils and delights of becoming the person who was always meant to be. And, trust me – this is a coming of age story unlike any other.

    I wish there was a way to give more than 5 out of 5 stars, because this book is a masterpiece of fiction and I have no doubt that it will win many awards and will end up on Bestseller Lists everywhere. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

    THE CHARACTERS:

    How do I describe Alex’s mother? It’s a dilemma, but perhaps I will let Alex  describe her since that expanation will be so much better than mine.

    “Ma’s mood had perked up; I could see the happy on her face and the weight was rolling off her shoulders like stones … and it looked like she might start singing at any moment. If she’d been the kind of person that sang. Really, she’d be more likely to start spontaneously handing around shots of tequila as an expression of happiness, but singing sounds better.”

    Some people might think that having a Mom like that would be fun – and maybe it would be; for a little while, anyway. But, a parent is meant to take care of their child, not act like a child herself.

    Alex is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma. When the reader learns more and more about Alex’s life and personality, it is impossible not to root for this interesting and inscrutable character. Readers will find themselves second guessing what they think they know about Alex and this mystery remains until the very end of the book.

    MORE

    This would be a terrific book to feature in a Book Club setting since there is just so much in it that readers will want to talk about.

    I also think that this book just might have some people questioning their own stances on many issues. I would love to say more here, but I refuse to ruin this story for anyone.

    FAVORITE QUOTE:
    “But I didn’t have the child’s blind trust in the omnipotence of parents anymore: I had eaten the apple, knew that Ma was no different from me, that she probably didn’t know what to do right now anymore than I would, that her only advantage was a rapidly narrowing gulf of experience.”

    IN CONCLUSION:

    ADD THIS BOOK TO YOUR TBR (TO BE READ) LIST AND MARK AUGUST 1st, 2017 ON YOUR CALENDAR. You will be glad you did.
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

    SARA TAYLOR is a product of Virginia and the homeschooling movement. She traded her health for a BFA from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and her sanity for an MA in Prose Fiction from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.

    Following the MA her supervisor refused to let her leave, so she remains as a PhD candidate at the UEA where she researches censorship, writes fiction, and is occasionally entrusted with the teaching of undergraduates.

     She spends an unprecedented amount of time on delayed trains between Norwich and her husband’s house in Reading, and tends to get lost, rained on, and chased by cows with unsettling frequency.

    Her short fiction has been published electronically and in print in The Fiddlehead, The Fog Horn, and Granta, among other places. Her novels are published by William Heinemann in the UK, Hogarth in the US, and Bond Street Books in Canada.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE    

    BLOG 

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    Read an interview with Sara Taylor HERE.


      

    DISCORD by Katy Haye is a YA Novel that defies categorization. 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

    Title: DISCORD    

    Series: BOOK ONE OF THE ECHOES OF THE EARTH SERIES

    Author: KATY HAYE 
    Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION

    Length: 250 PAGES

    Publisher: PLUMSHINE BOOKS

    Release Date: DECEMBER 8, 2016

    ISBN: 9781540412430

    Price: $3.99 USD (EBOOK)

    Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟

    Seventeen-year-old Beth has brain damage. She lives in a Steptoe House – a hospital in the English countryside that specializes in helping youths recover from brain trauma.
    Her life consists of school classes, medical tests and of playing and  listening to therapeutic music.

    Some days she feels great and better yet, she feels almost normal. On those days she contemplates going home and returning to her life. But, what kind of life will she be returning to? She has no memories of her family or her friends, in fact, she remembers nothing of her life before waking up at Steptoe House.

    Beth’s bad days are REALLY BAD. On those days she sees and hears ghosts and other shadows. On those days she acknowledges that she is NOT ready to go home after all.

    When a boy named Toby arrives at the Institute, Beth’s life will never be the same.

    Toby encourages Beth to confront her fears instead of hiding from them. But when strange things begin to happen and Beth’s sense of deja vue starts running overtime, both Beth and Toby set out to discover what exactly it is that is wrong with Steptoe House.

    I have to admit that I was pretty sure I had this novel completely figured out by the halfway point of the novel. I also haveto admit how very wrong I was.

    What starts out as teen romance novel ends up morphing into a completely different book. In fact, this book is hard to classify into a single genre. It is clearly a Young Adult novel, but it is so much more. It is romance. It is horror. It is science fiction. It is mystery. It is drama. It is even speculative fiction. Whatever the official genre, I enjoyed it immensely. 

    The cast of characters are diverse and they all seem like ordinary teenagers doing their best to recover from brain injuries so that they can return home to see their families. Families that never visit. According to the doctors, it would be detrimental to their recovery to have visitors. But, it all seems very strange to lead character, Beth. (And to the reader.)

    I do not want to include any spoilers in this review, but suffice it to say that if you enjoy books that keep you in suspense and that keep you guessing, then this is a MUST READ.

    The author has done a phenomenal job in setting up the story for the next book in the series, and I, for one am excited to read it. Rumour has it that Book Two will be released in March 2017.

    I rate DISCORD as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟  

       


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Katy Haye – In Her Own Words:

    I spent most of my childhood and adolescence lost in a good book. Even now, and given the tedious necessity to earn a living in order to eat, I spend as much time as possible running around either my own or someone else’s imaginary world.

    I’m fascinated by what makes books work – what makes a story so vivid the words themselves melt away and I’m living the character’s life with them?

    I’ll be pondering (and very probably ranting) about the nuts and bolts of a good story on my Add More Narrativium blog – please join in. Also on this website, you can find out more about my books, including extracts and where to buy.

    You might also like to check out my video of how I became a writer:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o03uWBH7bBE 

    VIRAL by M.A. Barrett is one of the best books of 2016 and is an absolute MUST READ. 

    Title: VIRAL

    Author: M.A. BARRETT

    Genre: FICTION, CONTEMPORARY FICTION, LGBTQ, SOCIAL COMMENTARY

    Length: 260 PAGES

    Publisher: KIN(D) PRESS

    Release Date: NOVEMBER 15, 2016

    ISBN: 978-0-9983602-5-6

    Price: $15.99 USD (SOFTCOVER)

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

    This may not be a very professional way to start a book review, but HOLY CRAP!!!! This book is AWESOME!!!

    Scarlet Battell, an ex-reality television show producer is not only an anti-heroine, but she is a hopelessly flawed and ultimately believable character.

    Scarlet, or Scar as she is known may have once been an up and coming hotshot tv producer, but now she lives a hardscrabble life as a waitress – barely making enough money to pay the rent on her crappy little apartment.

    Trying to find some way to reclaim her previous persona and her position behind a camera, Scar comes up with the idea to do a bit of investigative reporting. However, when she is confronted with the choice between intervening to save a coworker from a horrific attack or recording the event as evidence, Scar chooses the more cowardly option.

    That action (well, inaction actually) begins to haunt Scarlet whose conscience begins to scream at her – eventually leading to an all-out breakdown.

    This book flashes between two timelines; Scar’s past life as a story producer on the reality show The Real Real Life and her new reality as a waitress struggling just to pay her re t, which is as far away from her old life as it is possible to get.

    VIRAL is one of the best examples of exactly what to do right when using flashbacks in a story. M.A. Barrett has some serious writing chops and they are used to perfection in this book.

    My favorite quote from the book is:

     “…there is no truth, unless I tell it.”

     The reason I picked this quote as my favorite is because it speaks not only to the book itself, but also to the way people seem to view the world today.

     The invention of cell phone video, combined with the public’s strange fixation and fascination with reality television is, in my opinion, NOT a good thing. People seem to try to experience their ’15 Minutes of Fame’ through videotaping events (usually they are taping something rather than actually helping the victim). I was raised better than that.

    This book touches on so many topics relevant to today’s readers that it is almost eerie in its ability to inspire the desire to talk about it with other readership. If I could pick any book that I have read in the past year as a Book Club selection, VIRAL would be my choice.

    There are a multitude of “What would you have done?” scenerios that will bring out lively discussions, as well as many other talking points which include (but are not limited to):

    * The videotape everything phenomenon that is sweeping our world

    * Money and the fact that those who have a lot of it seem to be able to get away with saying and doing just about anything they want to (just ask Donald Trump if you disagree with me)

    * The value of “Spin” and how putting the right spin on a situation can sway public opinion and can even create reality from nothingness

    * What would you have done in Scar’s situation? Would you have helped if you knew that it would likely have not done any good and would probably have ended up with you becoming a victim as well?

    I could go on and on with more discussion ideas, but I think you get the point.

    The character of Scar is brilliantly rendered. She is complex and at times she makes the wrong choices in life. But, this just makes her seem more real. At times readers will find themselves angry with her, but ultimately it is difficult not to cheer her on.

    This book should be added to every adult’s TO READ list.

    I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    I will be adding VIRAL to my list of the Top 25 Books of 2016. The fact that this is author M.A. Barrett’s debut novel is astounding and I can’t wait to read her next book.


    **Due to scenes and situations of an adult nature, I recommend that VIRAL be read by those 18 and older.**

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

     

     M.A. Barrett is a writer, photographer, screenwriter, and poet. Her works have appeared in the New York International Film Festival, The Academy Awards, and in publications such as the Huffington Post, The April Perennial, Visibilities Magazine and IN OUR OWN WORDS: A Generation Defining Itself. She lives in Boston with her wife and French Bulldog.

    Her debut novel, Viral, is now available anywhere books are sold online.

    To learn more about this amazing Indie author, you can click on the following links:

    GOODREADS 

    MEDIUM      

    TWITTER      

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    AMAZON 

    BARNES & NOBLE    


    NEW RELEASE “PATHOGEN” by Jessica L Webb is a riveting, terrifyingly realistic mystery with multiple sensational twists. A 5 Star, Must Read thriller.

    Title: PATHOGEN        

    Series: DR. KATE MORRISON MYSTERIES #2

    Author: JESSICA L. WEBB   

    Genre: FICTION, THRILLER, MEDICAL THRILLER, LGBTQIA

    Length: 288 pages

    Publisher: BOLD STROKES BOOKS

    Release Date: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2016

    ISBN: 978-1-62639-832-0

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    Canadian author Jessica L Webb has written a medical thriller worthy of fans of Robin Cook.

    Set in the province of British Columbia and with the main character being in a lesbian relationship, this book reflects the world we live in today which is a refreshing change.

    This is the second book in the Dr. Kate Morrison series, however, it can easily be read as a stand-alone thriller. I have not yet read TRIGGER which is the first book in this series and during reading I never felt I was missing anything.

    Kate is an ER Doctor in a downtown Vancouver hospital where she more often than not deals with patients who are on the lowest rung of the social ladder. So, when she receives an invitation to liason with the local RCMP on an investigation into a potential bio-terrorism threat she accepts the challenge.

    Her decision means that she will be investigating alongside her girlfriend Andy who is an RCMP Sergeant. The two head to the ultra-exclusive town of Hidden Valley where homes sell for tens of millions of dollars and the people who live in them think they deserve special treatment.

    As the pair start to learn more about the virus that seems to be randomly striking victims from all age groups and all walks of life, they start to wonder if the bio-terrorism threat might actually be real.

    But who would want the residents of Hidden Valley to get sick and in some cases, to die? And why? What would prompt someone to do something so strange?

    Set in the gorgeous province of British Columbia, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. It is fast-paced enough that the action never seems to lag and yet contains enough medical information to make it seem eerily realistic.

    I hadn’t heard of Jessica L Webb before discovering this book on Netgalley, but I am positive that it is a name I will not soon forget.

    I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars and highly recommend this book to readers over the age of 18 (some scenes and situations are graphic and not for the faint of heart). 

    I received a free Advance Review Copy of this book from Netgalley

    • TRIGGER
    • Book One of the Dr. Kate Morrison Mystery series 


    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

    Jessica Webb spends her professional days working with educators to find the why behind the challenging behaviors of the students they support. Limitless curiosity about the motivations and intentions of human behavior is also a huge part of what drives her to write stories and understand the complexities of her characters and their actions.

    When she’s not working or writing, Jessica is spending time with her wife and daughter, usually planning where they will travel next. Jessica can be found most often on her favorite spot on the couch with a book and a cup of tea.

    Visit the following links for more information about Jessicaa L. Webb

    AT BOLD STROKES BOOKS   

    GOODREADS        

    TWITTER    
            

    • Repercussions 
    • Coming July 2017


    • Troop 18
    • Book 3 of the Dr. Kate Morrison Mystery series
    • Coming in March 2017 

    MRS by Noa Grey is perfection in Chick Lit. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, but most of all it will make you stay up all night reading. 5 Stars. 

    Title: MRS

    Author: NOA GREY     

    Type of Book: EBOOK  

    Genre: ROMANCE, LGBTQIA, WOMEN’S FICTION

    Length: 271 PAGES

    Publisher: THE STUDIOa Paper Lantern Lit Imprint 

    Release Date: AUGUST 16, 2016

    ISBN: 978-15312-867-9-8

    Price: $6.99 USD

    Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    Upon her death, Hope Jackson left millions of women without the self-help guidance they had relied on for years.


    “‘She was everything to me,’ Lois Montgomery of Evanston confessed today. ‘I don’t know how I’m going to go on without her.’ Millions of her peers are in the same boat. A virtual nation lost without the guidance of one savvy, scrappy, and indefatigable woman who was well ahead of her time.”

    Mims, Rory and Sarah in particular need answers. What the heck are they going to do now that the reknowned love-sex-marriage guru is gone?

    Rory has just been laid off from her position at HEART AND HOME – a woman’s magazine and “She barely had enough money in her checking account to pay for lunch, much less life.” To top off the crapiest day of her life, her divorced boyfriend had decided to go back to his wife – leaving Rory with no job, no boyfriend, no money and a huge amount of credit card debt.

    Mims is having an extremely difficult time moving forward after the death of her daughter, Daria. Mim’s husband had found solace in religion, but Mims does not share in his belief that religion is the answer especially since they used to attend church as a family and just being there reminds her too much of Daria. To make matters worse, she suspects that her husband might be having an affair. Married for thirty years, she has no idea how to move forward with her life.

    Sarah’s husband is in jail. Turns out he embezzled a lot of money. Now, all her supposed “friends” at the Country Club who live in McMansions just like the one she lives in, have begun to snub her. After clawing her way up in the world from the trailer park where she was raised, she has two sons, no job and she might just lose everything if the law decides to take her home as restitution for her husband’s misdeeds. She is floundering and her future is uncertain.

    What the heck are they going to do?

    Hope Jackson always said: “Ain’t nobody gonna take care of you the way you can take care of yourself.” But can these women find a way to follow her advice.

    Reading this book proves that you can’t judge a person based on outward appearances and will have you looking at those around you in a different and more empathetic light.

    This book is hilarious at times and heart-wrenching at other times. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. But most of all it will keep you entertained from beginning to end.


    I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone looking for a fun read. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Noa Grey is an author, mama and writing teacher. 

    She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two sons.

    Noa also writes fiction under the name Zoe Fishman.

    On Paper Lantern Lit’s blog is a 7 question mini interview with Noa Grey. Here are the questions they asked her as well as her entertaining answers. 

    QUESTION 1. If you were a dessert, what would you be?


    ANSWER
    = Key lime pie.


    QUESTION 2.
    What’s the next place on your travel Bucket List?


    ANSWER
    = Italy!


    QUESTION 3.
    Which actress would you want to play you in the biopic of your life?


    ANSWER
    = Kathryn Hahn.


    QUESTION 4.
    What book has inspired your writing the most?


    ANSWER
    = Reading TURTLE MOON by Alice Hoffman as a teenager made me want to be a writer.


    QUESTION 5.
    Who is your secret cartoon crush?


    ANSWER
    = Sheriff Woody Pride.


    QUESTION 6.
    Favorite TV show right now?


    ANSWER
    = Veep.


    QUESTION 7
    . When you were six years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?


    ANSWER
    = An actress.
    You can see the original interview post HERE 

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

    GOODREADS    

    TWITTER   

    FACEBOOK       

    GOOGLE   

    iBOOKS    

    5 out of 5 Stars for the Amazing Book – THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE by MEG ELISON – THIS IS A MUST READ

    meg-elison-book-of-the-unnamed-midwife

    Title: THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE   

    Author: MEG ELISON

    Genre: FICTION, POST-APOCALYPTIC FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION, LGBTQ

    Length: 190 PAGES

    Publisher: 47 NORTH  

    ISBN: 9781503939110  

    Cover Designer: CHRISTIAN FUENFHAUSEN  

    Publication Date: OCTOBER 11, 2016

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  

     

    In almost every post-apocalyptic novel I have ever read (and I have read quite a few,) the author writes about the dark side of human nature that most people predict will take hold if, and when an apocalyptic event strikes our planet. In THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE this darkness is once again unleashed, albeit in a very unique and interesting situation. #tbotuh

    However, author Meg Elison must be an optimist at heart since her book allows readers to believe that even in the darkest situation there is hope, and even in a world that appears that it just might not be worth saving, there might be people left who are holding onto their humanity with both hands. It is this hope that makes #TBOTUM such a compelling read.

    Readers will be taken on a journey along with the main character as she travels on a northerly route from California to wherever she ends up. This journey is not only physical, but is also emotional and mental. From the craving for human companionship to the fear of running into the wrong type of people, readers will find themselves increasingly invested in the midwife’s survival.

    Meg Elison has done the near impossible with this book – that is to get readers emotionally invested in the trials and tribulations of a character of whom they do not even know her real name. When asked near the beginning of the book what her name is, the midwife responds by telling the man her name is Karen. “She was not Karen. Karen had died a week ago, still wearing her name tag. He wasn’t going to ask for ID. She decided to be Karen for now.”

    A fever followed by intense illness and then death has swept the globe. This pandemic is unlike anything ever experienced in human history. Women had a mortality rate around 99% and the Midwife discovered through her job in the Maternity Ward at a major hospital that no babies survived more than a few minutes after birth. In fact, most were stillborn. Despite the fact that all the marvels of modern medicine were still available, the mothers also died shortly after their infants. The mortality rate was 100% in newborn infants and in the general population, 99 out of 100 women who contracted the fever never recovered. Men were much luckier and therefore the ratio of females to males became skewed.

    What happens when something you want is in short supply? You tend to stock up on that commodity and to guard what you have left. Well, this is similar to how men responded to the lack of available women. Once people realized that they were most likely not going to die from the plague, they began to think of what they wanted and needed to survive in the new, lawless, post-apocalyptic world they found themselves in.

    I believe that when the constraints of society are removed in such a way that there is little hope of order ever being restored, that many people will allow their baser instincts to overrule the ideals of goodness and basic human decency. Add to that volatile situation a lack of food, a lack of purpose and a lack of consequences for their actions and you have some seriously big problems. Now, top off an already untenable situation with the fact that very few females survived the initial plague and anyone who knows anything at all about human nature will agree that this is a recipe for disaster.

    Karen “Went to sleep and the world was dying … woke up and it was dead and gone.” After an intense and terrifying experience Karen is forced to kill a man to save herself from being raped and beaten. It is after that she realizes she needs to hide her femininity if she is to have any chance at long-term survival in this new world. Karen soon realizes that survival was not going to be her only challenge. In fact, it just might be the least of her problems.

    I LOVE THIS BOOK! It is exceedingly difficult to surprise me, but THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE did exactly that.

    The character of “Karen” is not your typical post-apocalyptic female survivor. She is complex in many ways and yet simple in others. She is tough as nails and yet she also craves human companionship (although she would never admit that to anyone). Too many books in this genre stick to gender stereotypes; THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE does not. By placing Karen in the role of the main character, author Meg Elison challenges the view that a woman must have a man with her in order to survive and thrive in a post-apocalyptic world.

    Not only does this book entertain readers with a fascinating story, but it also points out the unique issues that would face women in a post-apocalyptic world. (Think tampons and birth control.) In a world where woman are almost guaranteed to die in childbirth, especially since hospitals are no longer operational, birth control would be more important than ever before. Karen stocks up on the injections required for months of preventing unwanted pregnancies and makes it her mission to offer it to anyone who wants or needs it. I can almost guarantee that no male novelist has ever written (or could write) anything similar to this book and have it come across as realistic and believable as it does in TBOTUM.

    With this book, female Young Adult readers have a new heroine to celebrate and to cheer on. And to make her even more loveable, Karen is a BADASS. She doesn’t take crap from anyone and she is ready and willing to kill to protect herself.

    Feminism and the power of women are not the only topics of discussion that come up when reading this book proving that Meg Elison is not afraid of controversy in her writing. This is demonstrated once again when Karen comes across a small religious settlement where residents act as if the apocalypse had not happened and present a good-looking face to the outside world. It is only once she looks deeper that she realizes that the leaders are using religion to rid themselves of unwanted rivals for the attentions of the few female residents. When Karen (dressed as a man and calling herself Rusty) tries to dissuade one man from leaving the safety of the town to travel far away as a missionary because that is what his bishop ordered him to do, she is frustrated when he dismisses her argument that it is too dangerous to travel with only a bible and his faith for protection. She realizes “There is no argument to be had with faith.”

    Meg Elison has tackled the topics of women’s rights, gender equality, as well as the blind faith some people place in their religion, so it is only fitting t hat she also uses this book to bring up differing types of sexuality. In fact, our heroine is bi-sexual.

    Aside from controversial topics being included in the narrative, this is just a damn good story. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot of this book as well as the numerous twists and turns – many of which I did not see coming. The conclusion is a masterpiece of the unexpected that readers will not see coming.

    This book was originally written in 2014 and is being re-released in anticipation of the release in early 2017 of the second book in the series THE BOOK OF ETTA which I have already added to my TBR (To Be Read) list.

    I rate THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE AS

    5 OUT OF 5 STARS.

    * I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.

     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    meg-elison-banner

     meg-elison-close-up

    Meg Elison is the author of THE BOOK OF THE UNNAMED MIDWIFE, a post-apocalyptic feminist speculative novel, Tiptree recommendation, and winner of the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award. The sequel to #TBOTUM is called THE BOOK OF ETTA and will be published in early 2017.

    Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley. She lives in Oakland, throws themed sing-along parties, and appears at Bay Area literary events whenever someone allows it.

    If she could eradicate one societal ill, it would be misogyny.

    When she is alone she likes to live deliciously while she writes and breaks hearts.

    The three women, dead or alive, she most wants to see square off on Jeopardy are Ada Lovelace, Margaret Atwood, and Queen Elizabeth I.

    To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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