ALL HALLOWS – Audiobook – Written by Christopher Golden is a masterpiece of horror fiction. If you think blood and guts are necessary for horror novels, this book will prove you wrong. 5+ out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: ALL HALLOWS

Author: CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN
http://www.christophergolden.com

Narrator: RONNIE BUTLER and JANUARY LaVOY   

Release Date: JANUARY 24, 2023

Genre: FICTION, HORROR

Length: XXX Hours and XXX Minutes

ISBN: 978-1-667076034  

Publisher: ORANGE SKY AUDIO

Received From: NETGALLEY

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Click above to register for the Free ALL HALLOWS RELEASE PARTY on January 24th, 2023

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DESCRIPTION:

New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author Christopher Golden is best known for his supernatural thrillers set in deadly, distant locales…but in this suburban Halloween drama, Golden brings the horror home.

It’s Halloween night, 1984, in Coventry, Massachusetts, and two families are unraveling. Up and down the street, secrets are being revealed, and all the while, mixed in with the trick-or-treaters of all ages, four children who do not belong are walking door to door, merging with the kids of Parmenter Road. Children in vintage costumes with faded, eerie makeup. They seem terrified, and beg the neighborhood kids to hide them away, to keep them safe from The Cunning Man.

There’s a small clearing in the woods now that was never there before, and a blackthorn tree that doesn’t belong at all. These odd children claim that The Cunning Man is coming for them…and they want the local kids to protect them. But with families falling apart and the neighborhood splintered by bitterness, who will save the children of Parmenter Road?

All Hallows. The one night when everything is a mask.

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MY REVIEW:

ALL HALLOWS is centered around a single suburban street (Parmenter Road) in the year 1984 and the families who live there. The entire tale takes place over a single day – that of Halloween, also known as All Hallows Eve.

Not only is ALL HALLOWS a horror story, it is also a drama, as well as a commentary on American life in the mid 1980s.

Set in 1984, this horror novel will have readers of a certain age remembering their own lives during the time period in question. Considering the fact that I was in Grade 7 in 1984, the pop culture references were especially nostalgic for me. For example, I remember watching ‘The A Team’ starring Mr. T on television.

Author Christopher Golden seamlessly alternates between several families. He also alternates between each family member’s point of view. This could easily have become confusing to the reader, but Christopher Golden’s writing is perfection.

In fact, it was only upon reflection and the writing of this review that I realized how difficult this type of narrative would be to create. The ability to craft complex plots so seamlessly that the reader does not realize how complicated they truly are is quite simply the mark of a master storyteller. CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN IS THAT MASTER!

People who have little experience with modern horror writers may think of this genre as being all about blood, guts and shock value. This could not be further from the truth and ALL HALLOWS is the perfect example of that fact. 

ALL HALLOWS contains several twists and turns in the storyline, as well as converging plots. In addition, the characters are so beautifully rendered that I could easily picture them as being real people rather than just literary characters. In fact, several of them reminded me of people who lived in my neighborhood while I was growing up. Each character is exquisitely developed and has their own secrets, motivations, views on right and wrong, and ties (some secret, some not) to the other characters in the book. This makes for a story with depth and believability, and one that I very much enjoyed.

I was given an advance review copy of the audiobook version of ALL HALLOWS which I thoroughly enjoyed. The use of two narrators; one male, one female, was a great idea. Having two very different actors voice the various characters added authenticity, which in turn increased my enjoyment of the experience.

I will be highly recommending this book to my followers, family, and friends.

I rate ALL HALLOWS by Christopher Golden as 5+ out of 5 Stars.   ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

*** Thank you to #NetGalley and to #OrangeSkyAudio for providing me with a free #advance #review #copy of this #audiobook ***

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ADD THIS BOOK TO YOUR “WANT TO READ ” LIST ON GOODREADS!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60784620-all-hallows

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CHRISTOPHER GOLDEN is the New York Times bestselling, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of such novels as Road of Bones, Ararat, Snowblind, Of Saints and Shadows, and Red Hands.

With Mike Mignola, he is the co-creator of the Outerverse comic book universe, including such series as Baltimore, Joe Golem: Occult Detective, and Lady Baltimore.  

As an editor, he has worked on the short story anthologies Seize the Night, Dark Cities, and The New Dead, among others, and he has also written and co-written comic books, video games, screenplays, and a network television pilot.

Golden co-hosts the podcast Defenders Dialogue with horror author Brian Keene.

In 2015 he founded the popular Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival.

He was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family.

His work has been nominated for the British Fantasy Award, the Eisner Award, and multiple Shirley Jackson Awards.

For the Bram Stoker Awards, Golden has been nominated ten times in eight different categories.

His original novels have been published in more than fifteen languages in countries around the world.   

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
http://www.christophergolden.com/

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CHAPTERS

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ABOUT THE NARRATORS:

ABOUT RONNIE BUTLER:

Originally from the Bahamas, Ron Butler (aka Ronnie Butler Jr.) began his acting career in Washington D.C. at the Arena Stage.  
After studying with the Atlantic Theater Company (William H. Macy,  Felicity Huffman,  Scott Zigler), he moved to New York to become a company member.  He has appeared in plays and musicals in New York and in regional theaters across the U.S.  

In 2002 he moved to Los Angeles, and since has accumulated over a hundred film and television credits, most notably as a series regular on True Jackson VP.  

In addition to acting, he’s directed and produced short films, new media projects, an independent feature film, commercial PSAs, and television shows in development.

To learn more about this Narrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
http://www.ronniebutler.com

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ABOUT JANUARY LaVOY:

January LaVoy is an Atlanta-based actor, voice artist, and director.

January made her Broadway debut in Lucy Prebble’s ENRON in 2010, and has appeared Off-Broadway in Wings (Second Stage), Coraline (MCC), Measure for Measure (TFANA), Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie (Ars Nova, Lucille Lortel Nomination) Two Trains Running, Home,Funnyhouse of a Negro, and Wakey, Wakey  (Signature Theatre).

For her work in Funnyhouse, she was deemed one of two “Actresses to Watch” by Hilton Als in The New Yorker magazine. Selected regional theatre credits include: Mattie Campbell in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Mark Taper Forum, directed byPhylicia Rashad), Kate in Good People (Pittsburgh Public Theatre), Isabella in Measure for Measure (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Dawn in Lobby Hero, and Portia in The Merchant of Venice (Denver Center Theatre Company) and the world premiere of Native Guard by United States Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey (Alliance Theatre), which was also recorded by LA Theatreworks in 2018. She is a 2010 alumna of the Sundance Theatre Lab.

She has been seen on television in “Blue Bloods”, “N0S4A2”, “Elementary”, and “Law & Order” (classic, CI and SVU), and in 2007 she created the role of Noelle Ortiz-Stubbs on “One Life to Live”, which she played until 2011.

Her voiceover work includes many national commercial campaigns, promos, documentaries, and hundreds of audiobooks. In 2013, she was named Audiobook Narrator of the Year by Publishers’ Weekly. She has been nominated for 18 Audie Awards, receiving 7, and has garnered over three dozen Audiofile Magazine Earphones Awards. In the spring of 2019, she was honored with Audiofile’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Golden Voice. She shares a 2020 GRAMMY nomination with Meryl Streep and the cast of the Charlotte’s Web audiobook, in which she plays the title role of Charlotte.

She received her MFA from Denver’s National Theatre Conservatory, and has taught audition preparation, scene study, and on-camera technique at Emory University.  

To learn more about this Narrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  
https://www.januarylavoy.com

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AUDIBLE

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

OrangeSky Audio is an audiobook publisher raising the volume on new ideas, favorite voices, and words that may have otherwise gone unspoken.

Our published works are an exploration of new ideas and hidden gems in popular genres, speaking to adults and children alike.

With the widest retail and library distribution network in the world, we connect listeners of all ages with the stories and narrators they love — and encourage discovery of a next new favorite.  

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

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THE NIGHTMARE MAN by J.H. MARKERT is destined to be one of the top bestselling horror titles for 2023. Check out this sneak peek and review…

Title: THE NIGHTMARE MAN

Author: J.H. MARKERT

Release Date: JANUARY 10, 2023

Genre: FICTION, HORROR

Number Of Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: CROOKED LANE BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

ISBN: 978-1-6391-0170-2  

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

T. Kingfisher meets Cassandra Khaw in a chilling horror novel that illustrates the fine line between humanity and monstrosity.

Blackwood mansion looms, surrounded by nightmare pines, atop the hill over the small town of New Haven. Ben Bookman, bestselling novelist and heir to the Blackwood estate, spent a weekend at the ancestral home to finish writing his latest horror novel, The Scarecrow. Now, on the eve of the book’s release, the terrible story within begins to unfold in real life.

Detective Mills arrives at the scene of a gruesome murder: a family butchered and bundled inside cocoons stitched from corn husks, and hung from the rafters of a barn, eerily mirroring the opening of Bookman’s latest novel. When another family is killed in a similar manner, Mills, along with his daughter, rookie detective Samantha Blue, is determined to find the link to the book—and the killer—before the story reaches its chilling climax.

As the series of “Scarecrow crimes” continues to mirror the book, Ben quickly becomes the prime suspect. He can’t remember much from the night he finished writing the novel, but he knows he wrote it in The Atrium, his grandfather’s forbidden room full of numbered books. Thousands of books. Books without words.

As Ben digs deep into Blackwood’s history he learns he may have triggered a release of something trapped long ago—and it won’t stop with the horrors buried within the pages of his book.

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MY REVIEW:

If you are a fan of horror, you HAVE TO buy a copy of THE NIGHTMARE MAN.

I know people label many books “MUST READ,” but this one is different. It truly is a book that horror aficionados will be talking about for a long time to come.

THE NIGHTMARE MAN is 100% a book that EVERY horror fan will not only want to read, but will also want to recommend to their friends.

THE NIGHTMARE MAN is being released on January 10 of 2023, but fortunately, it can be pre-ordered now. I highly suggest pre-ordering this book because once word starts to get out to the horror world, it will be sold out everywhere.

THE NIGHTMARE MAN opens to the scene of a gruesome discovery – an entire family has been killed, their bodies sewn into bizarre cocoons stitched from corn husks and suspended from the beams on the family farm.

The central characters include:

Ben Bookman, an author whose newly released book “THE SCARECROW” is integral to the storyline of THE NIGHTMARE MAN.

Detective Mills – a small town detective who has some creepy habits of his own, and who is exceptional at his job despite his dependence on large quantities of alcohol to get through his days, and especially his nights.

Ben Bookman is the perfectly named novelist whose book, THE SCARECROW, seems to be coming true. Is Ben a closet serial killer? Is a deranged fan attempting to bring the book to life? Or is something, or someone else responsible for the horrific murders?

Blackwood mansion is central to the tale and is where protagonist Ben Bookman grew up. This mansion is the very definition of CREEPY – really creepy and is where Ben finished writing THE SCARECROW.

Along with the crimes committed and the hunt for the person responsible, the author has crafted extensive backstories for each of the main characters. These details are part of what makes this book so compelling, so unputdownable, and so utterly believable.

Think you know how the book’s plot will play out based on what I have written so far? Well, think again. I can 100% guarantee that you will NOT be able to guess what happens next.

Every time I thought I had things figured out there would be a new twist or another gruesomely bizarre murder that added to the mystery.

THE NIGHTMARE MAN has everything horror fans could hope for, and then some.

I rate it as a solid 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I am now a fan of author J.H. MARKERT and will be eagerly awaiting his next book.

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J.H. Markert is the pen name for writer James Markert, an award-winning novelist, produced screenwriter, husband, and father of two from Louisville, Kentucky, where he was also a tennis pro for 25 years, before hanging up the racquets for good in 2020.

He graduated with a degree in History from the University of Louisville in 1997 and has been writing ever since.

The author and his daughter

James Markert:
(Copied from his website)
James was raised in a household where creativity thrived, paintings and stained-glass windows beautified the walls, and the arts were as regular as the seasons.  This upbringing will forever be his muse.  James has a history degree from the University of Louisville, where, in his senior year, he was awarded a scholarship as the school’s most outstanding history major.  He won an IPPY Award for The Requiem Rose, which was later published by Sourcebooks as A White Wind Blew.  

James has ideas for future novels that run the gamut of history from time periods and topics like Charles Dickens, Jekyll and Hyde, Prohibition, the Dust Bowl, the Sixties, both World Wars, the Golden Age of Magicians, and a series on Medieval Cathedral building.

James is the writer and co-producer of the feature film/tennis comedy 2nd Serve, starring several actors from popular television shows like Scandal, The Big Bang Theory, Gotham, Cougar Town, Shameless, and Ray Donovan. 

James is also a USPTA tennis pro, and has coached dozens of kids who’ve gone on to play college tennis in top conferences like the Big 10, the Big East, and the ACC. He lives with his wife and two children in Louisville, KY.

Favorite Authors: Stephen King, John Irving, Ken Follett, Pat Conroy, Wally Lamb, George R.R. Martin, Elizabeth Strout, Dennis Lehane, Greg Iles, Anne Rice, Hillary Mantel, Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Favorite Books: The Stand, The Cider House Rules, The Alienist, Pillars of the Earth, Beach Music, I know This Much is True, The Burgess Boys, The Shadow of the Wind, A Song of Ice and Fire Series.

Favorite Music: U2, Pearl Jam, Cold Play, REM, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Killers, Mozart, Muse, Dave Matthews.

Favorite Shows: Game of Thrones, Justified, Deadwood, Rome, Peaky Blinders, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Band of Brothers, The Tudors.

Favorite Movies: Shawshank Redemption, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Signs, A Very Long Engagement, Amadeus, Gangs of New York, Sleepers, Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, Seven

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://jamesmarkert.com

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Crooked Lane Books was founded in 2014 to publish the highest quality crime fiction titles in both print and electronic editions. In 2020 we introduced a second line—Alcove Press—to publish upmarket book club fiction that explores family, friendship, and community.

We are distributed to the trade through Penguin Random House Publisher Services.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

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OCME – Life in America’s Top Forensic Medical Center by BRUCE GOLDFARB is Exquisitely readable and surprisingly relatable

Title: OCME 

Subtitle: Life in America’s Top Forensic Medical Center 

Author: BRUCE GOLDFARB 

Release Date: FEBRUARY 21, 2023

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

Number Of Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: STEERFORTH PRESS 

Received From: NETGALLEY & EDELWEISS 

ISBN: 9781586423582 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Go behind the scenes inside the nation’s preeminent Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where good people fight the good fight amid the tragedies and absurdities of our age.

Perfect for fans of Michael Lewis and David Simon (Homicide, The Corner, The Wire, We Own This City)

Real life is different from what gets depicted on procedural crime dramas. 

Equipped with a journalist’s eye, a paramedic’s experience and a sardonic wit, Bruce Goldfarb spent ten years with Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where every sudden or unattended death in the state is scrutinized.

Touching on numerous scandals, including Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd and the tragic killing in police custody of Freddie Gray, Goldfarb pulls back the curtain on a pioneer institution in crisis.

Medical examiners and the investigators and technicians who support them play vital roles in the justice and public health systems of every American community. During Goldfarb’s time with the Maryland OCME, opioid-related deaths contributed to a significant increase in their workload. Faced with a chronic shortage of qualified experts and inadequate funding, their important and fascinating work has become more challenging than most people could ever imagine.

The public gets a skewed view of the relationship between police and medical examiners from procedural crime dramas, Bruce Goldfarb writes of his work inside one of America’s most storied forensic centers. We aren’t on the same team . . . We aren’t on any team. The medical examiner’s sole duty is to the deceased person. We speak for the dead.

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MY REVIEW

Exquisitely readable and surprisingly relatable, OCME Life in America’s Top Forensic Medical Center is a book I read in a single sitting. Despite needing sleep, I was unable to put this book down.

Author Bruce Goldfarb brings readers along with him for a detailed look at what life is really like in the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Think this book would be too macabre to read? You would be massively wrong. OCME does NOT rely on the glorification of blood and guts to sell books. It is so interesting that it simply doesn’t need to.

Full of eye-opening facts and fascinating details, OCME will open the eyes of its readers to the ridiculousness of red tape in any and every bureaucracy; even the bureaucracy of death itself.

Although this might not have been the author’s goal, he has nevertheless succeeded in bringing to light the horrific statistics surrounding many of the most concerning ways in which people have died over the past decade. Granted, the statistics used in this book only represent the state of Maryland, however, these are the same issues faced by most other states and cities in North America. For example, the author highlights the alarming number of people who have died due to the Opiod Epidemic. 

This book will open people’s eyes to the importance of having skilled and highly trained medical examiners. The result of this will hopefully be that both taxpayers and politicians will allocate more money in their budgets to the OCME in their respective jurisdictions.

Some of the most shocking, and frankly disturbing, information contained within the pages of this book are the following facts:

[  ]  “About half of the US population is under the jurisdiction of coroners and lacks access to qualified forensic pathologists…”

[  ] “In states including Wisconsin, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, New York, Idaho, Georgia, Colorado, and Nevada, elected coroners aren’t required to have ANY medical or legal training before they can certify the cause and manner of death.”

[  ] In Missouri, to serve as a coroner, the requirements are minimal. You only have to be 21 or older, and have to get more votes than anyone else. There is absolutely NO MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE NECESSARY. That is ridiculous. “If a person is elected coroner, they can crack open a beer and start signing death certificates.”

I rate OCME as 5 out of 5 Stars
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I recommend this book not only to fans of True Crime, but also to everyone who wants to be more informed about Public Health, Politics, and/or general nonfiction enthusiasts.

Reading this book and spreading the word about it could be the difference between a murderer being caught or going free. It just might be the reason a killer is caught and the lives of future potential victims are saved.

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo by Jennifer Bishop

Bruce Goldfarb was the executive assistant to the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Maryland, US, where the ‘Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death’ are housed.

He was the public information officer for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and trained as a forensic investigator.

Bruce began his career as a paramedic before becoming an award-winning journalist reporting on medicine, science and health. Through his work with the Nutshell Studies, Bruce earned the trust of Frances Glessner Lee’s family and caretakers of her estate, and was designated Lee’s official biographer.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://brucegoldfarb.com 

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Since 1994, Steerforth Press has sought to publish books that are written well, intended to engage the full attention of the reader, and have something new or important to say. Our active backlist features timeless works of fiction and poetry, but our current program focuses exclusively on works of narrative nonfiction.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

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https://www.c-span.org/video/?508985-2/nutshell-studies-unexplained-death

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JOKES TO OFFEND MEN – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW – Irreverent, Biting, Sarcastic, and Witty – I loved this audiobook

Title: JOKES TO OFFEND MEN

Authors: ALLISON KELLEY, DANIELLE KRAESE, KATE HERZLIN and YSABEL YATES

Illustrator: MILLIE von PLATEN

Release Date: OCTOBER 25, 2022

Genre: HUMOR, FEMINISM

Publisher: ANDREWS McMEEL AUDIO

Received From: NETGALLEY

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A modern, feminist take on the classic joke book to amuse and empower readers who are tired of being the punchline.

A man walks into a bar. It’s a low one, so he gets a promotion within his first six months on the job.

Four comedy writers transform classic joke setups into sharp commentary about the everyday and structural sexism that pervades all facets of life. 

Jokes to Offend Men arms readers with humorous quips to shut down workplace underminers, condescending uncles, and dismissive doctors, or to share with their exhausted friends at the end of a long day.

A cutting, cathartic spin on the old-fashioned joke book, Jokes to Offend Men is a refreshing reclamation of a tired form for anyone who’s ever been told to “lighten up, it’s just a joke!”

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MY REVIEW:

The four women who created this book, “… wrote this book because [they] were tired of watching countless men excuse their bad behavior by insisting that the real problem is [women’s] stunning inability to ‘take a joke’.”

As someone who has spent the last 25 years working in an automotive factory building cars, I have heard hundreds, if not thousands, of sexist jokes that the men I work with (and my area is almost exclusively men) seem to think are hilarious. It is for that reason I requested an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this audiobook.

The authors grew up in the same era that I did. During that time, the comedy circuit was mostly men and many of the jokes they told relied on “… making people with less power the butt of the joke.”

In the introduction, the comedians state that:

“We believe that comedy should empower rather than cause harm. And that there’s still a lot of ground to cover when it comes to why that chicken crossed the road.”

The book is divided into eleven sections with awesome titles. They are: 

1. Jokes to Offend Men at Work Who Don’t Actually Do Their Own Work

2. Jokes To Offend Men Who Won’t Contribute to Housework Because You’re ‘Sooo Much Better at It’

3. Jokes To Offend Men You’re Expected to Spend the Holidays With, Unfortunately:

4. Jokes To Offend Men Who Are Currently Explaining Quentin Tarantino to You

5. Jokes To Offend Men Who Disrespect Mother Nature 

6. Jokes To Offend Men You Definitely Didn’t Vote For 

7. Jokes To Offend Men Who Think the #MeToo Movement Has Gone Too Far 

8. Jokes To Offend Men Who Have A Medical Degree in Dismissing Your Pain 

9. Jokes To Offend Men Whose Grandfather Founded This School 

10. Jokes To Offend Men Who Refuse to Believe You’re Not Interested in The

11. Jokes To Offend Even More Men: You can keep these in your back pocket (unless it’s purely decorative).

I am in love with this book.

Snarky.

Sarcastic.

Irreverent

You could even say Bitchy, and I’m sure many men will say exactly that.

As far as I am concerned, this joke book is SHEER PERFECTION.

Every woman needs to either read this book, or listen to the audiobook. I am sure readers will be able to recognize some of the men they have had to deal with over the years. I know I definitely did.

I cannot recommend JOKES TO OFFEND MEN any higher than the highest available option.

I literally laughed out loud many times while listening to this audiobook, and I am sure you will too.

I rate this audiobook as 10 out of 10 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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

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About the Authors:

Allison Kelley is a Brooklyn-based humor writer and essayist with work featured in The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Slate, McSweeney’s and more. Since childhood, she’s been using comedy to cope with the terror and wonder of being a woman in the world. An alleged grown-up, Allison writes frequently on the topics of ‘90s pop culture, teen angst and growing up in the suburbs.

Danielle Kraese is a writer, editor, and occasional performer based in the spidery suburbs of New York. Her humor writing has been published by The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Reductress, The Belladonna Comedy, and more. She’s an editor at BDG, where she writes and edits affiliate content across sites like Bustle, Elite Daily, Romper, Mic, and Inverse (she can tell you everything you never wanted to know about socks, sheets, and meat thermometers). 

Kate Herzlin is a New York-based screenwriter, playwright, and humor writer who overuses the rule of three. Her humor writing has been featured in McSweeney’s, Points in Case, The Belladonna Comedy, and more. Kate is a writer for the BoogieManja Sketch Comedy team, Evil Twin—though she promises she isn’t one. As a childhood cancer survivor, she learned to use comedy to cope; now that she’s all grown up, she hopes her jokes might help other people do the same.

Ysabel Yates is a comedy writer and freelance copywriter in New York City. You can find her work in publications including the New Yorker, the New York Times, McSweeney’s, and Reductress. 

FLOWERS OF FIRE: The Inside Story of South Korea’s Feminist Movement and What It Means for Women’s Rights Worldwide by HAWON JUNG is a book that needs to be read and discussed and passed on to every woman in every country in the world

Title: FLOWERS OF FIRE

Subtitle: THE INSIDE STORY OF SOUTH KOREA’S FEMINIST MOVEMENT AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR WOMEN’ S RIGHTS WORLDWIDE 

Author: HAWON JUNG  

Release Date: MARCH 7, 2023

Genre: NON-FICTION, WOMEN’S ISSUES, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST

Number Of Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: BEN BELLA BOOKS

Received From: EDELWEISS

ISBN: 978-1637742419 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

An eye-opening firsthand account of the ongoing and trailblazing feminist movement in South Korea—one that the world should be watching.

Since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, tens of thousands of women and girls in South Korea have taken to the street, and many more brave individuals took a stand, to end a decades-long abortion ban and bring down powerful sexual abusers—including a popular presidential contender. South Korean feminists know that the revolution has been a long time coming, between battles against its own deeply patriarchal society as well as combating stereotypes of docile Asian women in the Western imagination.

Now, author Hawon Jung will show the rest of the world that these women are no delicate flowers—they are trailblazing flames. 

Flowers of Fire takes the reader into the trenches of this fight for equality, following along as South Korean activists march on the streets, navigate public and private spaces full of spycams, and share tips and tricks with each other as they learn how to protect themselves from criminals and authorities alike.

Jung, the former Seoul correspondent for the AFP, draws on her on-the-ground reporting and interviews with many women who became activists and leaders, from the elite prosecutor who ignited the country’s #MeToo movement to the young women who led the war against non-consensual photography and revenge porn. Their stories, though long overlooked in the West, mirror realities that women across the world are all too familiar with: threats of defamation lawsuits to silence victims of assault, tech-based sexual abuse of women and girls, and criminal justice systems where victims’ voices are often met with suspicion and predators’ downfalls are met with sympathy. These are the issues at the heart of their #MeToo movement, and South Korean women have fought against them vigorously—and with extraordinary success. In Flowers of Fire, Jung illuminates the strength and tenacity of these women, too often sidelined in global conversations about feminism and gender equality.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/1b45c0e7-1f51-4e36-ac5b-03b9decf32af

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MY REVIEW:

When I think of South Korea, the farthest thing from my mind is women’s rights. Women are treated as delicate flowers.

Maya Angelou said:

The women written about in FLOWERS OF FIRE embody this quote.

Maya Angelou once said: “Develop enough courage to stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.” The women whose stories are highlighted in this book are the living embodiments of that famous quote.

I don’t think any of us who were born in Canada and who have grown up with the knowledge that we are valuable and that we can be, and do anything, could possibly understand the world of misogyny that is the norm in South Korea. Yes, the patriarchy exists in North America, but not to the extent that it exists in Asian countries.

When the #MeToo movement swept through the United States and Canada, women felt empowered to stand up for themselves and to say “NO MORE.” But, what about women in other countries? What about women who, because of government censorship, had no idea what was happening around the world?

Who was brave enough to stand up and to be the very first woman to tell her story? And, what would happen to her after she came forward? The fear would have been crippling. There was a very real chance that those women would be shunned, shamed, and would be branded as sluts and liars.

I am in awe of the women in this book. They are BRAVE … truly brave in a way that transcends time. Their stories are IMPORTANT.

FLOWERS OF FIRE – The Inside Story of South Korea’s Feminist Movement And What It Means For Women’s Rights Worldwide is not only an enthralling read, but also an extremely important one.

If you think of yourself as a feminist, or even if you don’t, if you care about human rights at all, then you simply MUST Read this book.

FLOWERS OF FIRE  is being released on March 7th, 2023 and can be pre-ordered now. I have a feeling that this book will sell out quickly, so I suggest that you preorder it to avoid being disappointed.

I would love to hear back from people after they read this book to discuss the details. I did not want to include any spoilers in my review, but I am dying to discuss it.

5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 
5 out of 5 Flames     

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

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More than 200 female protesters gather in central Seoul on Feb. 27, calling for women’s representation in South Korea’s presidential election.
(Min Joo Kim/The Washington Post)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hawon Jung is a journalist and former Seoul correspondent for the AFP news agency with more than a decade of experience writing about the two Koreas.

She covered the 2011 death of then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the rise to power of his son, Kim Jong-un, the junior Kim’s first summit with Donald Trump, South Korea’s historic presidential impeachment, and K-pop’s rise on the world stage.

Her coverage of South Korea’s #MeToo movement was shortlisted in the 2019 Awards for Editorial Excellence by the Society of Publishers in Asia.

Born and raised in South Korea, she currently lives in Germany with family.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

GOODREADS

TWITTER    

INSTAGRAM  

LINKEDIN

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

THE NATION

AMAZON  

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Kim Ju-hee protests in August 2021 in front of the National Assembly in Seoul with a sign that reads “Democracy without woman is not a democracy.” ( Min Joo Kim/The Washington Post)

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

BenBella is a marketing-focused, author-friendly publishing house whose success is based on a few simple principles. We select our titles with care. We provide authors with first-class service and genuine partnership. And we provide aggressive, creative marketing for each title we publish.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE   

BLOG

PODCAST

FACEBOOK  

TWITTER  

INSTAGRAM  

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<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Leader of South Korea, which has one of the world’s worst gender gaps, argues that eliminating the ministry set up to protect women would actually help them <a href=”https://t.co/VGNGi9zeOt”>https://t.co/VGNGi9zeOt</a></p>&mdash; Bloomberg (@business) <a href=”https://twitter.com/business/status/1578269652618199041?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 7, 2022</a></blockquote> https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

THE WEHR WOLF – A SHORT STORY by Horror Queen ALMA KATSU is NOW AVAILABLE – This novella will hold you spellbound and is unlike any werewolf tale you have previously read ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Title: THE WEHRWOLF  –  A SHORT STORY

Author: ALMA KATSU 

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 27, 2022

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, HISTORICAL FICTION

Publisher: AMAZON ORIGINAL STORIES

Received From: NETGALLEY  

ISBN: 978-1-662507656

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Alma Katsu, the visionary author of The FervorThe Hunger, and The Deep, brings readers a terrifying short story about monsters among men—and the thin lines that divide them.

Germany, 1945. In the waning days of World War II, the Nazis have been all but defeated. Uwe Fuchs, never a fighter, feels fortunate to have avoided the front lines as he cared for his widowed mother.

But Uwe’s fortune changes when Hans Sauer, the village bully, recruits him to join a guerilla resistance unit preparing for the arrival of Allied soldiers. At first, Uwe is wary. The war is lost, and rumor has it that Hans is a deserter. But Hans entices him with talk of power, brutality, and their village’s ancestral lore: werewolves.

With some reluctance, Uwe joins up with the pack and soon witnesses their startling transformation. But when the men’s violent rampage against enemy soldiers takes a devastatingly personal turn, Uwe must grapple not only with his role in their evil acts but with his own humanity. Can he reclaim what this group of predatory men has stolen from him?

Or has he been a monster all along?

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MY REVIEW

“The Wehrwolf” by Alma Katsu is a definite Must Read for Fall 2022.

Do not let the title dissuade you from reading this novella. I guarantee it is unlike any werewolf tale you have previously read.

Alma Katsu chose to set the story in Germany just as WWII was coming to an end.Choosing this moment in world history as the setting of her tale was nothing less than inspired.

I have rarely encountered books that focus on the lives of ordinary German citizens at that moment in time, most of whom had no say in what the country’s government had chosen to do and wanted no part in the hate and the genocides.

The main character is Uwe Fuchs –  a simple man, a good man. A man who loves his family above all else. The question is not what he will do to keep his family safe, but what won’t he do? I think we can all relate to that.

The Wehrwolf held me rapt. Once begun, this tale is impossible to put down.

The characters are so real that you will find yourself wondering if somehow the author went back in time to observe them firsthand.

Alma Katsu’s previous career working for the CIA and the NSA has given her a perspective that us mortals could never comprehend. She knows evil and she knows people – their motivations, their fears, their very souls. She probably knows people better than they know themselves. It is this intense knowledge that kept me riveted by her story.

The Wehrwolf is very much worthy of 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alma Katsu (born 1959) is an American writer of adult fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, and has been published in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Spain and Italy

Katsu was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, the daughter of an American-born father and a Japanese-born mother. She spent the majority of her youth living near Concord, Massachusetts, to which she attributes her interest in the early American history featured in her novels.[9] She attended Brandeis University (BA in literature and writing, 1981) where she studied with novelist John Irving and children’s book author Margaret Rey, and the Johns Hopkins University (MA in Fiction, 2004).

FROM THE OZY INTERVIEW ARTICLE:
https://www.ozy.com/the-new-and-the-next/my-eyes-dont-lie-a-navy-corpsmans-south-of-the-border-adventure/223656/  

Alma Katsu spent more than three decades witnessing horror. It was part of her job: Katsu spent 25 years at the National Security Agency and eight years at the CIA. She still works as a consultant for the government, “but that’s all I can say,” she tells me with a little chuckle, taking a sip of Orangina. I want her to follow that up with “or I’ll have to kill you,” but that’s too Hollywood. Plus, I don’t want to offend a woman who spent decades clandestinely planning missions to protect our country — which left her with bouts of PTSD and a neurological disorder. We’re at a French bistro in suburban D.C. far from where she was born, in Alaska, but close to where she spent her career after growing up “on the wrong side of the tracks” in Massachusetts, near Lexington and Concord.”

“Katsu, 59, knows evil. In the 1990s, she ran “complex contingency operations” to stomp out mass atrocities around the globe. She’s used that knowledge to launch her second career as a popular horror writer.”

“I don’t think the book is super frightening,” says Katsu of her latest, The Hunger, which was named one of the best horror novels of 2018 by NPR, The New York Times and others, and earned front-cover kudos from Stephen King, the American icon of horror and suspense.”

The Horror Writers Association defines horror not as a genre but as a feeling of dread and terror. And The Hunger, historical fiction based on the 1846 expedition known as the Donner Party, is just that. Katsu twists an overlay of the supernatural into the true-story tale of cannibalism. She says her book asks: “Under what circumstances could you be turned into a monster?”

“It’s not the monsters that are scary in this book; it’s the evil in man,” says her editor, Sally Kim of Putnam. “When I first signed up the book … I loved the idea of it and her writing,” says Kim, who is also Katsu’s editor on The Deep, historical horror fiction based on the Titanic out in March 2020.”

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://www.almakatsubooks.com 

GOODREADS 

WIKIPEDIA 

FACEBOOK   

TWITTER   

INSTAGRAM 

ALMA KATSU’S DAMNED HISTORY PODCAST

PINTEREST 

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One of Only 500 Special Edition copies of Alma Katsu’s THE HUNGER can now be pre-ordered

Link to special edition of THE HUNGER

SPECIAL EDITION DETAILS:   

* Signed Limited Hardcover Edition:
* Limited to only 500 signed and hand-numbered copies
* Personally signed by Alma Katsu on a specially designed full-colour illustrated signature page
* Larger 6.14” x 9.21” trim size
* Printed on a heavier 100gsm acid-free paper
*Bound in premium cloth with coloured head and tail bands
* Hot foil stamping on the front boards and spine
* Offset printed and bound with full-colour endpapers
* Sewn binding for increased durability
* Stunning dust jacket artwork and interior illustrations by Francois Vaillancourt 

https://sstpublications.co.uk/the-hunger.html

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Watch the video of the event HERE.

https://www.crowdcast.io/e/alma-katsu-in

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Contact Alma Katsu:

Publicity:
Please contact Katie Grinch
Tel: 212-366-2574 | kgrinch@penguinrandomhouse.com

Literary Management:
Please contact Richard Pine
Tel: 212-922-3500 | Inkwell Management

Film Rights
Please contact Angela Cheng Caplan
(Sera)Tel: 310-391-8898 | assistant@chengcaplanco.com

Book Clubs
Alma loves talking to book clubs via Skype!
Email her at almakatsubooks2@gmail.com

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CITIES OF THE DEAD – The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries by YOLANDA ZAPPATERRA is due for Release on September 26th – Check out some of the amazing photographs HERE

Title: CITIES OF THE DEAD

Subtitle: The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries 

Author: YOLANDA ZAPPATERRA

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 26, 2022

Genre: NON-FICTION, PHOTOGRAPHY, CEMETERIES, HISTORY, TRAVEL

Number Of Pages: 240

Received From: NETGALLEY

ISBN: 978-0-711265783 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Discover the fascinating stories of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries, featuring spectacular photography, unique histories and famous residents.

Cities of the Dead takes us on a tour of memorial sites, ranging from monastic settlements to grand cathedralsShinto shrines to Gothic chapelstombs and crypts. Enjoy tales of myths and monsters, grave-robbers, pilgrimages, spiritual retreats, remembrance and community. Marvel in cemeteries with a hundred thousand to a handful of graves which feature famous headstones, weeping angels, ocean views, woodlands, thousands of glowing lanterns and a tomb of poets.

From London’s famous Highgate Cemetery, which houses famous names from Karl Marx to Malcolm McLaren, George Eliot to Christina Rosetti, to Hawaii’s breathtaking Valley of the Temples, this book spans the globe to bring you the most fascinating, intriguing and evocative cemeteries across cultures and continents.

Together with evocative images, the stories behind these notable burial sites bring these sanctuaries to life, detailing the features that make them special, highlighting both similarities and differences between time periods, religions and cultures, and showing how cemeteries are about and for the living as much as the dead.

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MY REVIEW:

This stunningly gorgeous book is now available and I can’t wait to receive a hardcopy of it. I received an advance ebook of CITIES OF THE DEAD to read and review. The result? Well, I have now added many of the graveyards shown in this book to my Bucket List of places I want to visit before I join the Cities of the Dead permanently.

The photographs are beautiful and perfectly described so that readers cannot fail to see the radiance and magnificence of the various monuments to the dead.

CITIES OF THE DEAD: The World’s Most Beautiful Cemeteries by YOLANDA ZAPPATERRA illustrates the fact that beauty and even tranquility can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Readers of this book will quickly realize that burial monuments exist for the living as much, if not more than as a way to honor the dead.

One of the things that struck me were the similarities between cemeteries all over the world, a fact that demonstrates that people everywhere have much more in common with residents of other countries than they might have originally thought. 

This magnificent book deserves a rating of 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Although the digital version of this book is lovely, I highly recommend pre-ordering it’s print version. I have already pre-ordered my copy and I am excited to be able to hold this exquisite book in my hands.

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

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PREVIEW AVAILABLE BY CLICKING HERE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

To learn about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
http://t.co/PYzHFoxT

GOODREADS
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/685575.Yolanda_Zappaterra

TRAVEL WEEKLY
http://travelweekly.co.uk/articles/author/216  

LINKEDIN
https://www.linkedin.com/in/yolanda-zappaterra-41082027

TWITTER 
https://mobile.twitter.com/yzappaterra

QUARTO KNOWS
https://www2.quartoknows.com/authors/2867/Yolanda-Zappaterra

THE INDEPENDENT
https://www.independent.co.uk/author/yolanda-zappaterra

INSTAGRAM 
https://www.instagram.com/yolzappa

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

The Leading Global Illustrated Book Publisher

The Quarto Group creates a wide variety of books and intellectual property products, with a mission to inspire life’s experiences. Produced in many formats for adults, children, and the whole family, our products are visually appealing, information rich, and stimulating.

The Group encompasses a diverse portfolio of imprints and businesses that are creatively independent and expert in developing long-lasting content across specific niches of interest.

Quarto sells and distributes its products globally in over 50 countries and 40 languages, through a variety of sales channels, partnerships, and routes to market.

Quarto employs c. 300 talented people in the US and the UK. The Group was founded in London in 1976. It is domiciled in the US and listed on the London Stock Exchange (QRT).

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
http://www.quartoknows.com/

FACEBOOK 
https://www.facebook.com/QuartoKnows

TWITTER 
https://twitter.com/quartoknows

YOUTUBE
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg6_9Q3TbEXRPspas_bqPHw

INSTAGRAM   
https://www.instagram.com/quarto.knows

PINTEREST
https://www.pinterest.com/quartoknows

TIK TOK
https://www.tiktok.com/@quartobooks  

INSTAGRAM  – UK
https://www.instagram.com/quartobooksuk

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Celebrate PRIDE Month by entering a GIVEAWAY to WIN a copy of the memoir – ANY KIND OF LUCK AT ALL by LGBTQ Canadian Author Mary Fairhurst Breen

Title: ANY KIND OF LUCK AT ALL

Author: MARY FAIRHURST BREEN
https://maryfairhurstbreen.ca/

Release Date: OCTOBER 12, 2021

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, DIVERSE BOOKS, LGBTQ

Number Of Pages: 193

Publisher: SECOND STORY PRESS
http://www.secondstorypress.ca

Received From: THE AUTHOR

ISBN: 978-1-77260-201-2

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

What was it like growing up as a smart girl in a world of 1970s suburban conformity?

What family secrets were hidden behind the vertical blinds and sliding glass doors, or swept under the orange shag carpets?

Is it possible to move from married mother-of-two to lesbian feminist activist without passing heartache?

In her bittersweet memoir, Mary Fairhurst Breen sketches scenes from a life darkened by four generations of mental illness and addiction.

Despite the odds, Mary’s sense of humor and willingness to practice “radical acceptance” see her through the chaos to a life full of friends, art, and the joys of being a grandmother.

Ultimately, she must face her greatest challenge of all when her daughter becomes one of the tens of thousands of people every year to die of an opioid overdose.

This is a journey of awakening and activism, and a portrait of a life to be celebrated in all its complexity.

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Watch Mary Fairhurst Breen on
The Social:

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MY REVIEW:

ary Fairhurst Breen may be a translator by trade, but she missed out on her true calling … until now. 

I believe she was always destined to be a writer, and not just any ordinary, run-of-the-mill kind of writer. Her writing has the potential to change lives for the better.

Mary’s life experiences are vast and varied. The lessons she has learned throughout her unconventional life contain wisdom that can be applied to every one of us.

The title of this memoir offers readers a clue as to exactly what kind of luck the author has had in her life. The title of her memoir is based on the saying:

If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any kind of luck at all.

What could easily have been a book filled solely with times in Mary’s life when she experienced grief and pain, is instead, filled with poignant moments and life events.

Some moments are sad, some happy, and some downright hilarious. Somehow author Mary Fairhurst Breen has hit on the perfect formula to appeal to a wide variety of readers. 

Mental illness and addiction have gripped members of Mary’s family for generations. Her most devastating loss to date is the death of her beautiful, creative, and special adult daughter Sophie to opioid poisoning.

We all like to think our generation will be the one to set old family patterns ablaze, to toss the whole damned drafting table onto the bonfire and dance around the ashes completely cleansed. But we instinctively gravitate toward the familiar, for better or worse. New research into intergenerational trauma, and the Indigenous understanding that our decisions affect the next seven generations, can at least shed light onto what’s going on in the present. We can’t eliminate the pain we are bequeathed; we can only deal with it better as time passes.”

The author could easily be forgiven for curling up into a ball of depression and spending her days in bed; but she doesn’t do any such thing. Instead, her determination and will to survive the many traumas she has endured allows her to continue living her life with “radical acceptance.” She has channeled her grief into a call for action.

Author Mary Fairhurst Breen has written a beautifully written and exquisitely honest memoir of a life that has been anything but easy. She documents her life and the moment she chose to admit what had always been inside her.

I rate ANY KIND OF LIFE AT ALL as a solid 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

The fact that June is Pride Month means this is the perfect time to pick up a copy of this book. Also, don’t forget to enter to win a paperback copy on my blog and social media sites.

HOW TO ENTER TO WIN:

1. Leave a comment below to earn one entry into the giveaway.

2. Visit my Instagram page and click FOLLOW to gain a second entry.

3. Earn an additional entry by commenting on the giveaway post on my Instagram page.

Giveaway starts today

Ends on June 30th, 2022

QUOTES I LOVE:

“… I see not a wrinkly, plump, postmenopausal woman in the mirror, but rather someone fortyish, of average build. I have conceded that my breasts no longer point straight ahead, but instead indicate a spot on the floor a couple of metres in front of me, where I have perhaps dropped something important.”

“[Mary and her mother] never talked about orgasms, whereas my daughters were quite unselfconscious about discussing theirs with me. I remember my daughter Sophie cheerfully bringing up the topic of female ejaculation at breakfast one morning. She asked, ‘Which hole does the stuff come out of?’ I helpfully spurted coffee from my nose.”

“There are so many things one has to let go of past fifty, but an equal number of things one gets to let go of at the half-century mark. It is fantastically liberating to cease giving a fuck as one ages. I’ve been giving ever fewer fucks since my early forties, but why must it take so long to get to this place?”

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo by: Maggie Knaus

A translator by training, I spent thirty years in the not-for-profit sector, managing small organizations with big social change mandates. During those decades, I wrote innumerable newsletters, policy documents and outreach materials, and more grant proposals than I would care to count. After multiple lay-offs due to funding cuts, I launched my own arts business, indulging my passion for hand-making. It was a colossally enjoyable and unprofitable venture. While running the business, I supported myself with extra writing and editing jobs. Its demise gave me the time and impetus to really focus on my own artistic practice. I began with the goal of sharing my family history with my daughters, went on to publish some autobiographical stories, and wound up with my first book, Any Kind of Luck at All.

I had a father incapacitated by bipolar disorder and OCD, and a strong, smart, loving mother who died too young. I had to develop my own strategies to cope with my father’s needs, an alcoholic husband, two traumatized children, ever-worsening financial insecurity, and my shifting sexual identity. I supported my younger daughter through the debilitating mental illness that ultimately led to her death by fentanyl poisoning in 2020. Now a (young) grandmother, I want to pursue art for so many reasons: to support myself, to maintain my mental health, to help others with similar challenges, and to honour those I have lost and those I hold dear.

I am currently working on an oral history-based series of books for middle-grade readers.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://maryfairhurstbreen.ca

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK 

GOOGLE BOOKS  

INSTAGRAM 

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Second Story Press is dedicated to publishing feminist-inspired books for adults and young readers.

Second Story Press is proud to have been publishing award-winning books that entertain, educate, and empower for over 30 years. 

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://secondstorypress.ca s

FACEBOOK 
https://www.facebook.com/SecondStoryPress/

TWITTER 
https://twitter.com/_secondstory

INSTAGRAM 
https://www.instagram.com/_secondstory

LINKEDIN
https://www.linkedin.com/company/second-story-feminist-press

PINTEREST 
https://www.pinterest.com/secondstorypres

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Poem written for the launch of
Any Kind of Luck At All
by Everyday People Typewriter Poems

More Writing by Mary Fairhurst Breen can be found at the links below:

Mary’s article Gigging Toward My Golden Years appeared in the summer 2021 issue of This Magazine, accompanied by this wonderful illustration by Matthew Daley (shinypliers). 
https://this.org/2021/07/12/gigging-toward-my-golden-years/

My First Person essay, A Helping Hand, appeared in the Globe and Mail February 16, 2021. 
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/first-person/article-i-can-live-in-the-moment-when-my-granddaughter-takes-my-hand/

A personal radio essay called Grievous Injuries was published and aired on CBC’s The Sunday Edition on May 3, 2020.  

Mary’s autobiographical essay called Graywood Drive won an emerging writer award through Open Book, Arts Etobicoke and the Toronto Arts Council in 2018 and was published in an anthology as part of the project. 


http://open-book.ca/News/What-s-Your-Story-Read-the-Winning-Texts-of-the-2018-OBPO-Writing-Contest-Winners!-Part-One-Etobicoke

My essay called Why #IBelieveHer was published on the Ms Magazine blog in 2016. 
https://msmagazine.com/2016/04/18/why-ibelieveher

YOU STILL LOOK THE SAME by Multiple Award Winning Canadian Author FARZANA DOCTOR and Narrated by the Incomparable ULKA SIMONE MOHANTY has Finally Been Released – Sample Included With This Post

Title: YOU STILL LOOK THE SAME (Audiobook)

Title: YOU STILL LOOK THE SAME (Audiobook)

Author: FARZANA DOCTOR

Narrators: FARZANA DOCTOR and ULKA SIMONE MOHANTY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2022

Genre: POETRY, DIVERSE BOOKS, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST, CANADIAN

Length: 1 Hour and 21 Minutes

Publisher: ECW PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR 

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A moving collection of poetry about navigating mid-life, full of humour and wit, from acclaimed novelist Farzana Doctor.

This debut poetry collection from acclaimed novelist Farzana Doctor is both an intimate deep dive and a humorous glance at the tumultuous decade of her forties.

Through crisp and vivid language, Doctor explores mid-life breakups and dating, female genital cutting, imprints of racism and misogyny, and the oddness of sex and love, and urges us to take a second look at the ways in which human relationships are never what we expect them to be.

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MY REVIEW:

FARZANA DOCTOR is a Canadian author and now poet who has won many, many literary awards. Each one was well deserved. 

I admit I am not usually a big fan of poetry. I find much of it to be pretentious, sometimes even condescending to the reader. Thus is 100% NOT the case with “You Still Look The Same.”  In fact I enjoyed listening to Farzana’s debut poetry collection immensely. 

I love the fact that Farzana chose to narrate part of her collection and choosing Ulka Simone Mohantyto narrate the rest of the poems was the perfect choice. Both narrators were easy to understand, as well as speaking clearly and concisely. This allowed the words of the poems to be the listener’s focus … as it should be.

Each haiku and other poems showcased the author’s talent for description. I believe this is because Farzana Doctor wrote fiction books first, before trying her hand at poetry.

In my opinion, one of Farzana’s greatest gifts is her ability to connect with her audience. I found this to be true with her novels, and it is even more evident in her poetry.

It is my belief that audiobook listeners, especially women, will find that Farzana’s experiences will resonate with them.

I was already a fan of Farzana Doctor’s books. With YOU STILL LOOK THE SAME I am now an even bigger fan.

If you have not yet read any of her work, you are doing yourself a disservice. I suggest you run, not walk, to your nearest Indie bookstore to pick up your copy of this collection. While you are there, do yourself a favor and pick up copies of her other books as well. You just might find that you have a new favourite author. 

I rate “You Still Look The Same” as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

*** Thank you to #FarzanaDoctor for choosing me as one of the winners of this audiobook through a #giveaway on her Instagram account. ***

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To read my review of Farzana’s book ALL INCLUSIVE. Click HERE.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

FARZANA DOCTOR was the WINNER of the NOW Magazine Best Author of 2015.

Farzana Doctor is the author of Stealing Nasreen and Six Metres of Pavement, which won the 2012 Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the Toronto Book Award.Farzana is one of CBC BooksTen Canadian Women Writers You Need to Read Now and the recipient of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Grant.

To learn more about this author visit the links below:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK 

TWITTER 

INSTAGRAM 

LIBRO FM

AUDIBLE CANADA

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https://player.vimeo.com/video/675983527?h=96df725851

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

Photographer: Teren Oddo

Ulka Simone Mohanty is an actor, voice actor, dancer, choreographer and occasional professional chef.

This multi-hyphenated artist is known for her voice work on Pixar‘s Oscar and Golden Globe winner Soul, Warner Bros’ Jellystone and NBC Universal‘s Nina’s World; her film and TV work on FOX‘s The Moodys, and a supporting role in the sci-fi movie, Needle in a Timestack; and her choreography work on Disney‘s Rivers of Light,  The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic, and Disney-Pixar collaboration  Up! A Great Bird Adventure.

She has also appeared as a chef on The Food Network‘s Cutthroat Kitchen and has voiced numerous video games and audiobooks.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://ulkamohanty.com

GOODREADS

TWITTER 

INSTAGRAM  

IMDb

VIMEO

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL
ARTICLE AND INTERVIEW

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THE MOONSTONE GIRLS is destined to be One of the Best Books of 2022 – RELEASES TODAY – Get Your Copy Today – You’ll be glad you did

Title: THE MOONSTONE GIRLS

Author: BROOKE SKIPSTONE

Release Date: FEBRUARY 14, 2022

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, LGBTQ

Number Of Pages: 397

Publisher: SKIPSTONE PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

ISBN: 978-1-73700643-5

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Mount McKinley in Alaska – the name was changed and it is now called Mount Denali – Notice the digging bear on the left side of the photo Photographer Daniel Leifheit

DESCRIPTION:

1968, a seventeen-year-old queer girl traveled to Alaska disguised as a boy.

Tracy should have been a boy. Even her older brother Spencer says so, though he wouldn’t finish the thought with, “And I should have been a girl.”

Though both feel awkward in their own skin, they have to face who they are—queers in the late 60s.

When both are caught with gay partners, their lives and futures are endangered by their homophobic father as their mother struggles to defend them.

While the Vietnam War threatens to take Spencer away, Tracy and her father wage a war of their own, each trying to save the sweet, talented pianist.

At seventeen, Tracy dresses as a boy and leaves her parents in turmoil, with only the slimmest hope of finding peace within herself. She journeys to a girl with a guitar, calling to her from a photo, “Come to Alaska. We’d be great friends.”

Maybe even The MoonStone Girls.

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MY REVIEW:

My first thought after reading THE MOONSTONE GIRLS is that it must be somewhat autobiographical. Author Brooke Skipstone has written with such depth of emotion that it is difficult to believe the story is fictional.

Before I get too far into my review I wanted to be sure to mention just how gorgeous the cover of this book is. It is the perfect blend of colors to bring the 1960s to mind. And, the choice to just use silhouettes is 100% inspired. 5 Stars for the cover. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I love that this #book is set in the late #1960s – an era much different than today’s world. So much was different at that time for anyone who was gay, and as hard as it is to fathom, being gay was considered to be against the laws of both God and men. This just highlights how far LBGTQ rights have come (even though society still has a ways to go.)

I cannot fathom the fear and pain experienced by LGBTQ youth at that time in history, especially for men whose arousal is much harder to hide. In the book, both Tracy and her brother Spencer are queer. The good thing is that they have each other to lean on and they have a mother who loves them just the way they are. This is much more than most #queer #youth had in their lives during that period in #history

This book delves into not just LGBTQ history, but also into the #draft and the #VietnamWar #WomensRights #RockAndRoll and the #SexualRevolution

There are some extremely #emotional scenes in The Moonstone Girls and at one point during reading I was literally in tears. It takes a truly talented #writer to be able to evoke so much #empathy and #emotion in their readers. Kudos to Brooke Skipstone for writing such an important and believable book.

Ultimately, this is a tale about hope and about having the courage to fight back in the best way you can against those who would try to stop you from living life on your own terms. It will encourage readers to never settle for second best and to keep trying until they find a place where they belong and where they can live a life of hope and honesty. It also reminds us that there is a person out there for everyone and that everyone has the right to live a happy life on their own terms.

Tracy is a fiery, take-no-prisoners type of young woman. This is the face she shows to the world, but inside, she is suffering and full of shame. This reminds readers that the persona people present to the world is not always accurate and that everyone has an inner world that is invisible. Never judge a book by its cover is a great lesson and one that we often forget.

Although not specifically stated, I get the feeling that the author also wants readers to think about mental health and to realize the depths of despair that people can feel when forced to live a lie just to be “normal.”

All in all I have to say that this book should be on everyone’s Must Read list for 2022 and although it is labeled as Young Adult fiction, this book will appeal to readers of all ages.

I am rating THE MOONSTONE GIRLS by Brooke Skipstone as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ and I highly recommend this book … just make sure you have a box of tissues nearby when you read it.

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

BELOW IS THE MOONSTONE GIRLS PLAYLIST

https://open.spotify.com/embed?uri=spotify%3Aplaylist%3A3FHQ6I55MRmqkIuFhA2mvD

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brooke Skipstone lives in Alaska, where she watches the mountains change colors with the seasons from her balcony.

Where she feels the constant rush toward winter as the sunlight wanes for six months of the year, seven minutes each day, bringing crushing cold that lingers even as the sun climbs again.

Where the burst of life during summer is urgent under twenty-four-hour daylight, lush and decadent. Where fish swim hundreds of miles up rivers past bear claws and nets and wheels and lines of rubber-clad combat fishers, arriving humped and ragged, dying as they spawn.

Where danger from the land and its animals exhilarates the senses, forcing her to appreciate the difference between life and death. Where the edge between is sometimes too alluring.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

GOODREADS

AMAZON  

#NetGalley #AmiesBookReviews #BookReview #tbr #BookReviewer  #ReadAndReview #bibliophile #bookstagram #bookstagrammers #AuthorsOfInstagram #author #NewBook #MustRead #BookNerd #book #books #reading #yalit #ya #instagramhub #YoungAdultFiction
#TheMoonstoneGirls #BrookeSkipstone #LGBTQ #DiverseBooks #1968 #Vietnam #DraftCards #Equity #Equality #LoveIsLove