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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WHEN THE STORKS CAME HOME by ISABELLA TREE is a gorgeously illustrated and beautifully told story based on real life events – Between the beautiful illustrations and the riveting storyline, this book is sure to grab the attention of parents and children alike. I recommend this Children’s Book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

I absolutely adore this cover.

Title: WHEN THE STORKS CAME HOME

Series: NATURE’S WISDOM

Author: ISABELLA TREE
https://www.isabellatree.com

Illustrator: ALEXANDRA FINKELDEY
https://artbyscatterbee.com

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 6, 2022

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, BASED ON A TRUE STORY, ENVIRONMENT, NATURE, BIRDS, REWILDING

Number Of Pages: 34

Target Age: 4 to 8 year Olds

Publisher: IVY KIDS – A DIVISION OF QUARTO PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

ISBN: 978-0711272798

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

When The Storks Came Home is a charming, fictionalized retelling of the successful reintroduction of the white stork at the Knepp Estate, a UK native bird that has been brought back from extinction.

In this second picture book from best-selling author and globally significant conservationist Isabella Tree, we meet eight-year-old Beanie, who loves birds. When she discovers that huge white storks used to live in her own village but were hunted to extinction in the UK 600 years ago, she is determined to find a way to bring them back.

But reintroducing a vanished species is not so simple! Storks can fly hundreds of miles, so releasing storks into the local countryside won’t be enough to make them return and stay for good. With the help of other villagers, Beanie hatches a plan…

Beautiful illustrations help bring this powerful and important story to life, teaching children about conservation and their environment in an accessible way.

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https://twitter.com/i/status/1530117229873856515

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MY REVIEW:

WHEN THE STORKS CAME HOME written by ISABELLA TREE and illustrated by Canadian artist ALEXANDRA FINKELDEY is a fabulous children’s book that combines great storytelling with lessons about the environment and about the impact of humans on animal/bird habitats.

Aimed at children ages 4 to 8, this book will also interest older children. Parents will also find the story interesting and with photos and details included at the back of the book, are sure to learn new information about the stork project and about the concept of “rewilding.”

When I saw the illustration of the stork with its neck bent backwards I was surprised. Before reading this book I had no idea how storks mated and how they contort their necks. I found that information fascinating. 

For all of the above reasons I am rating WHEN THE STORKS CAME HOME as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isabella Tree is an award-winning nature and travel author, and conservation pioneer.

Her best-selling adult book Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm (200,000 copies sold) tells the story of Knepp, the groundbreaking rewilding project in West Sussex that she started with her husband, the environmentalist Charlie Burrell.

She is also the author of the critically acclaimed children’s book When We Went Wild, which relates the benefits of rewilding to the next generation of conservationists.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://www.isabellatree.com

GOODREADS
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/665308.Isabella_Tree

FACEBOOK 
https://m.facebook.com/698763606829945

TWITTER 
https://www.twitter.com/isabella_tree

INSTAGRAM 
http://www.instagram.com/Isabella.tree

AMAZON 
https://www.amazon.com/Isabella-Tree/e/B000APD5O8

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The header for Alexandra Finkeldey’s ETSY Store.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Alexandra Finkeldey is an illustrator based in Ottawa, Canada.

She uses both traditional and digital mediums to capture her favorite subjects, which typically include animals, people, plants, and food.

She has long been inspired by nature, animation, travel, and video games, which has translated into vibrant and often unreal color palettes as they appear in her work.

Read a fantastic interview with Alexandra Finkeldey HERE.

To learn more about this illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://artbyscatterbee.com

ETSY
https://www.etsy.com/shop/scatterbee

GOODREADS
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20953730.Alexandra_Finkeldey

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

TWITTER 
http://www.twitter.com/scatterbee

GOOGLE BOOKS

YOUTUBE
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCqYRWmbl2cc5mukCZXTpL3A

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

AMAZON 
https://www.amazon.com/s?i=digital-text&rh=p_27%3AAlexandra+Finkeldey&s=relevancerank&text=Alexandra+Finkeldey&ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_2

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Ivy Kids produces beautiful books that will get kids making, creating, thinking, playing and dreaming.

Covering all sorts of areas, including cool, contemporary kids’ crafts, awesome art activities, and fresh nonfiction topics, our books will get kids of all ages imagining, innovating, and above all, having fun!

Ivy Kids brings you beautiful, sustainably printed books to rewild your child, nurture creativity, and foster a deep connection with the living world. 

Winner of the Sustainability Award at the Independent Publishers Guild Awards 2022.

Ivy Kids books are planet-friendlyprinted on 100% post-consumer recycled paperlocally to where they will be sold.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
http://www.quartoknows.com  

GOODREADS
https://www.goodreads.com/TheQuartoGroup

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

TWITTER 
https://twitter.com/quartoknows

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

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

YOUTUBE
https://www.youtube.com/c/QuartoKnows

TIKTOK
https://www.tiktok.com/@quartobooks

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#AmiesBookReviews #BookReview #tbr #BookReviewer #bookish  #ReadAndReview #bibliophile #UK  #bookstagram #bookstagrammers #AuthorsOfInstagram #author #NewBook #MustRead #BookNerd #book #books #reading #storks  #instagramhub #amreading #tbr  #BookRecommendations #tbrlist
#BookRecs #biology #England #Britain #rewild #rewilding #KidLit #ChildrensBook #illustrated #illustrators #illustrator #NetGalley  #IllustratorsOfInstagram
#WhenTheStorksCameHome

https://www.facebook.com/independentpublishersguild

https://www.linkedin.com/company/independent-publishers-guild

THE ISLAND by Adrian McKinty – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Title: THE ISLAND

Author: ADRIAN McKINTY 
http://adrianmckinty.blogspot.com
 

Narrator: MELA LEE
https://www.melalee.com/

Release Date: MAY 17, 2022

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 8.9 HOURS

Publisher: HACHETTE AUDIO

Received From: NETGALLEY

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A FAMILY VACATION.

A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT CHANGED EVERYTHING.

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF UNTIL THEY COME FOR YOUR FAMILY.

After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.

When they discover remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.

But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare. 

When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.

Now it’s up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don’t trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.
Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.

SOON TO BE A HULU ORIGINAL SERIES

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MY REVIEW:

Growing up on Goose Island watching the lights of Seattle, Heather knew she wanted more from life. And so, she moved to Seattle.

Working as a massage therapist, she falls in love with one of her clients. Tom, a widower, is everything she has ever dreamed of in a partner and they get married.

Tom has two children from his deceased wife and they want nothing to do with their Dad’s new wife. However, despite their feelings, they decide to accompany their Dad and Heather on a trip to Australia where their Dad is the keynote speaker at a medical conference.

That trip changes the lives of every single one of them.

Heather never really wanted kids, at least not at the age of 24. She is too close to the kids’ ages for them to view her as an authority figure.

But, when an accident happens and the family finds itself in a situation none of them were prepared for, it is Heather who steps up. It is Heather to whom the kids must trust to keep them alive.

This action packed audiobook is freaking fantastic!!! Narrator Mela Lee brings the characters to life with exceptional skill. It is evident that Mela is an experienced and professional voice actress. She makes narration seem easy which it certainly is not. Her pacing is sheer perfection and draws the listener deeper into the story. I rate Mela Lee’s narration as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

It is hard to believe, but this is my first time reading a book written by Irish Author Adrian McKinty, it will NOT be the last.

The author does a commendable job of creating a believable teenage girl, as well as a snarky, twelve-year-old boy. It makes me wonder if he, like myself, has had first-hand experience of the cutting wit of a boy of this age. If so, I feel for him.

DeliverancemeetsThe Fugitive mixed with Bear Gryls Man vs. Wild.

THE ISLAND is a high octane thrill ride filled with non-stop action.

I rate THE ISLAND audiobook as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Adrian McKinty was born and grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He studied philosophy at Oxford University before moving to Australia and to New York. He is the author of more than a dozen crime novels, including the Dagger and Edgar-award nominated debut Dead I Well May Be, the critically acclaimed Sean Duffy series, and the award-winning standalone thriller The Chain, which was a New York Times and #1 international bestseller.

​McKinty’s books have been translated into over 30 languages and he has won the Edgar Award, the International Thriller Writers Award, the Ned Kelly Award (3 times), the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, the Macavity Award, and the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

OVERDRIVE

TWITTER 

INDIEBOUND  

KOBO

ITUNES

AUDIOBOOKS.COM

AUDIBLE

GOOGLE

HACHETTE AUDIO

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ABOUT THE NARRATOR:
(Description copied from her website)

“I won the lottery when it comes to dream jobs. I get to be a professional voice actor and vocalist for film, television, and games. You might have heard my voice in a favorite commercial, animated or live action series, or game franchise -including Lifeline in Apex Legends, Jade for Mortal Kombat 11, Imperial Pilot – Star Wars Squadrons (Star Freakin’ Wars), Tikki in Miraculous Ladybug and Kikimora in Owl House both for Disney.” 

https://playlist.megaphone.fm/?e=LIT8203153731

I’ve got some super exciting roles with Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Amazon, and Netflix that I’m totally fan girling over, but I can’t say anything because of signed NDA’s/Confidentiality Agreements. But I promise – they will be so worth the wait. I cannot wait to share them with you. 

Mela’s other passions include baking, hiking, camping, math (definitions a nerd), and volunteering for her favorite charities.

To learn more about this Narrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 
https://www.melalee.com

MELA IS THE LEAD SINGER FOR THE BAND – MAGNOLIA MEMOIR

BEHIND THE VOICE ACTORS

ANIME VOICE OVER WEBSITE

WIKIPEDIA

GOODREADS

OVERDRIVE

FACEBOOK  

ITUNES

YOUTUBE

TWITTER  

INSTAGRAM  

IMDb

CAMEO

SPOTIFY

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#NetGalley #AmiesBookReviews #BookReview #tbr #BookReviewer  #ReadAndReview #bibliophile #bookstagram #bookstagrammers #AuthorsOfInstagram #author #NewBook #MustRead #BookNerd #book #books #reading #arc  #instagramhub  #audiobook  #Narrator #MustListen

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

CATCH THE SPARROW- A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder by Author, Poet, and Artist RACHEL REAR – RELEASED TODAY – Buy your copy today of this 5 Star Read NOW 📚

Title: CATCH THE SPARROW

Subtitle: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder

Author: RACHEL REAR

Release Date: TODAY

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

Number Of Pages: 256

Publisher: BLOOMSBURY USA

Received From: NETGALLEY

ISBN: 978-1635577235

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

The gripping story of a young woman’s murder, unsolved for over two decades, brilliantly investigated and reconstructed by her stepsister.

The photo of Stephanie that her dad
gave police in 1991.
COURTESY OF RACHEL REAR

Growing up, Rachel Rear knew the story of Stephanie Kupchynsky’s disappearance. The beautiful violinist and teacher had fled an abusive relationship on Martha’s Vineyard and made a new start for herself near Rochester, NY. She was at the height of her life-in a relationship with a man she hoped to marry and close to her students and her family. And then, one morning, she was gone.

Rachel Rear with her step-father in 2008

Around Rochester-a region which has spawned such serial killers as Arthur Shawcross and the “Double Initial” killer-Stephanie’s disappearance was just a familiar sort of news item. But Rachel had more reason than most to be haunted by this particular story of a missing woman: Rachel’s mother had married Stephanie’s father after the crime, and Rachel grew up in the shadow of her stepsister’s legacy.

A photo of Stephanie’s beloved cockatiel, Chubie.

In Catch the Sparrow, Rachel Rear writes a compulsively readable and unerringly poignant reconstruction of the case’s dark and serpentine path across more than two decades. Obsessively cataloging the crime and its costs, drawing intimately closer to the details than any journalist could, she reveals how a dysfunctional justice system laid the groundwork for Stephanie’s murder and stymied the investigation for more than twenty years, and what those hard years meant for the lives of Stephanie’s family and loved ones. Startling, unputdownable, and deeply moving.

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MY REVIEW:

CATCH THE SPARROW by author, teacher, and artist Rachel Rear is a True Crime book that is truly unique. 
I have read literally hundreds of true crime books and stories. They all follow a prescribed pattern and almost all are written by journalists. The best true crime books contain interviews and photos provided by the victim’s family. However, this book rises above the rest.

In it, Rachel Rear writes the story of the disappearance and ultimately the murder of Stephanie Kupchynsky. So, what makes this book so unique you ask. Well, Rachel Rear happens to be Stephanie Kupchynsky’s stepsister. That in itself is interesting and offers an inside look into the story. To make this book even more compelling is the fact that Rachel and Stephanie did not become stepsisters until after Stephanie had gone missing. 

In no other book have I been so enthralled. It is difficult to believe that this is Rachel Rear’s first book. CATCH THE SPARROW is researched with the meticulousness of a seasoned journalist. This research makes the book a true deep dive into the disappearance and murder. Rachel’s familial connection offers readers a view into what happens to a family who go years, and even decades without answers as to what happened to their loved one.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Whether or not you are a fan of true crime, you need to read this book.

The detail with which Rachel delves into her stepsister’s life cannot help but have readers invested in finding Stephanie’s body and in determining exactly who was responsible for taking this vibrant young woman’s life and in seeing that justice prevails.

The feeling and love that Rachel feels for her deceased stepsister comes through loud and clear in her writing.

I recommend this book with the highest possible rating. I am 100% convinced this book will be on the NY Times Best Seller List for many, many weeks.

I rate CATCH THE SPARROW as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo by Elena Mudd

Rachel Rear, a New York City public school teacher and actor, holds an MA from Columbia University and an MFA from the New School.

She has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and numerous other publications, however, this is her first book.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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http://www.rachelrear.com/

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Bloomsbury has a tradition of publishing literary fiction from all over the world, and a wide range of distinguished non-fiction from memoir, biography, and history to politics, science, food, and sport.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

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CATCH THE SPARROW – A Search For A Sister and the Truth of Her Murder by RACHEL REAR releases in 8 days – A True Crime Tale Like No Other

Title: CATCH THE SPARROW

Subtitle: A Search for a Sister and the Truth of Her Murder

Author: RACHEL REAR

Release Date: FEBRUARY 1, 2022

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

Number Of Pages: 256

Publisher: BLOOMSBURY USA

Received From: NETGALLEY

ISBN: 978-1635577235

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

The gripping story of a young woman’s murder, unsolved for over two decades, brilliantly investigated and reconstructed by her stepsister.

The photo of Stephanie that her dad
gave police in 1991.
COURTESY OF RACHEL REAR

Growing up, Rachel Rear knew the story of Stephanie Kupchynsky’s disappearance. The beautiful violinist and teacher had fled an abusive relationship on Martha’s Vineyard and made a new start for herself near Rochester, NY. She was at the height of her life-in a relationship with a man she hoped to marry and close to her students and her family. And then, one morning, she was gone.

Rachel Rear with her step-father in 2008

Around Rochester-a region which has spawned such serial killers as Arthur Shawcross and the “Double Initial” killer-Stephanie’s disappearance was just a familiar sort of news item. But Rachel had more reason than most to be haunted by this particular story of a missing woman: Rachel’s mother had married Stephanie’s father after the crime, and Rachel grew up in the shadow of her stepsister’s legacy.

A photo of Stephanie’s beloved cockatiel, Chubie.

In Catch the Sparrow, Rachel Rear writes a compulsively readable and unerringly poignant reconstruction of the case’s dark and serpentine path across more than two decades. Obsessively cataloging the crime and its costs, drawing intimately closer to the details than any journalist could, she reveals how a dysfunctional justice system laid the groundwork for Stephanie’s murder and stymied the investigation for more than twenty years, and what those hard years meant for the lives of Stephanie’s family and loved ones. Startling, unputdownable, and deeply moving.

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

MY REVIEW:

CATCH THE SPARROW by author, teacher, and artist Rachel Rear is a True Crime book that is truly unique. 
I have read literally hundreds of true crime books and stories. They all follow a prescribed pattern and almost all are written by journalists. The best true crime books contain interviews and photos provided by the victim’s family. However, this book rises above the rest.

In it, Rachel Rear writes the story of the disappearance and ultimately the murder of Stephanie Kupchynsky. So, what makes this book so unique you ask. Well, Rachel Rear happens to be Stephanie Kupchynsky’s stepsister. That in itself is interesting and offers an inside look into the story. To make this book even more compelling is the fact that Rachel and Stephanie did not become stepsisters until after Stephanie had gone missing. 

In no other book have I been so enthralled. It is difficult to believe that this is Rachel Rear’s first book. CATCH THE SPARROW is researched with the meticulousness of a seasoned journalist. This research makes the book a true deep dive into the disappearance and murder. Rachel’s familial connection offers readers a view into what happens to a family who go years, and even decades without answers as to what happened to their loved one.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Whether or not you are a fan of true crime, you need to read this book.

The detail with which Rachel delves into her stepsister’s life cannot help but have readers invested in finding Stephanie’s body and in determining exactly who was responsible for taking this vibrant young woman’s life and in seeing that justice prevails.

The feeling and love that Rachel feels for her deceased stepsister comes through loud and clear in her writing.

I recommend this book with the highest possible rating. I am 100% convinced this book will be on the NY Times Best Seller List for many, many weeks.

I rate CATCH THE SPARROW as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo by Elena Mudd

Rachel Rear, a New York City public school teacher and actor, holds an MA from Columbia University and an MFA from the New School.

She has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and numerous other publications, however, this is her first book.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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

GOODREADS

SHOP LOCAL CANADA

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Bloomsbury has a tradition of publishing literary fiction from all over the world, and a wide range of distinguished non-fiction from memoir, biography, and history to politics, science, food, and sport.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE 

FACEBOOK 

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NO NO SQUARE is a children’s book that addresses the issue of unwanted touching – An important topic to discuss with your child.

Title: NO NO SQUARE

Author: JAI’COLBY’E KIRVIN

Release Date: NOVEMBER 30, 2021

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION

Number Of Pages: 28

Publisher: BOOK BABY

Received From: NETGALLEY

ISBN: 9781667803630 (Paperback)

Rating: 3 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

No No Square was written to assist parents and guardians in the tough topic of educating young children on boundaries, while also helping to create a safe space for children to always tell an adult if this happens to them.

It is important to talk to children at an early age about “bad touch” so they can understand not to get taken advantage of.

No No Square does this by using three common examples in a child-friendly way that is easy to understand, which will aid children to recognize when it’s important to say no if strangers, other children, and family members want to touch them inappropriately.

MY REVIEW:

Ok. Let me start by saying that there is a definite need for children’s books that are age appropriate and that teach them about ownership of their bodies and to give them details on what to do if someone (in fact, anyone) tries to touch them inappropriately. However, writing (and illustrating) such a book is an incredibly difficult thing to do.

In NO NO SQUARE the author uses monsters as the “people” who want to do bad things.

The problem with this is that children can be quite literal. They see a blue monster in a book and are told that the monster wants to do bad things. This does not necessarily translate to people.

So, this green monster I’d supposed to be Maya’s Uncle, but this isn’t known until a few pages later when Maya tells her father about the incident.
My issue with this page (and in several similar pages) is that the monster asks Maya if he can touch her. This is extremely unrealistic. Unfortunately, these disgusting people who would touch a child inappropriately are more than likely NOT going to ask the child for permission. Nowhere in this book is an example of what a child should do in this situation. This needs to be included in any book about this topic.
This is the best part of the book. Yelling is great, and running to tell a trusted adult is great.
Perfect.
This illustration is terrific. Unfortunately, children are often not believed when reporting an incident to their parent, or teacher, or whoever it is that they choose to tell. Again, I would have liked to see a description and illustrations that address this issue – telling the child that if they aren’t believed they should tell another adult they trust and to keep speaking out until someone finally believes them.

Yes, the author says that Uncle is bad, but the picture again shows a monster. I think this could easily go over the heads of children. It might have been better if the illustrations showed that regular people as the ones who might hurt them, not colorful monsters. However, this is just my humble opinion. 

At the beginning of the book, the author writes about the motivation behind wanting to write and publish this book.

I give the author A for effort and kudos for wanting to help teach children that their bodies are private. This is an exceptionally difficult subject, yet an important one.

I did like the illustrations, I just disagree with the choice of depicting the danger as coming from “monsters.” Adults are all to aware of the fact that people are more dangerous to each other than any other species.

I rate NO NO SQUARE as 3 out of 5 Stars ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
(Copied From the Author’s Website)

One day while fishing on a sunny day in the pond behind my grandfather’s house, I looked up to the sky at some birds and thought “I want to fly.”

Birds represent freedom.

They are unbound and at any given moment they can go anywhere. I aim to be as free as possible by acquiring the knowledge and finances to do so.

Then I plan to pass that knowledge onto my sons, Nasir and Zamir.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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THE MOONSTONE GIRLS is destined to be One of the Best Books of 2022 – Pre-order Now to avoid missing out

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  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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.

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

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

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

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 

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#TheMoonstoneGirls #BrookeSkipstone #LGBTQ #DiverseBooks #1968 #Vietnam #DraftCards #Equity #Equality #LoveIsLove

BLOODSUCKER CITY RELEASES TODAY!!! Get your copy now

Title: BLOODSUCKER CITY 

Author: JIM TOWNS

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 121 PAGES

Publisher: CASTLE BRIDGE MEDIA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-17364726-7-5

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Like a female Shawshank Redemption — with vampires.

1933

Falsely convicted of murdering her own boy, Lena—a poor young widow—is sentenced to life imprisonment in the infamous Steelgate Women’s Prison: an ancient stone fortress perched atop a jagged mountain in the middle of nowhere.

Abused by guards and her fellow prisoners alike, Lena is soon introduced to the Wardens of Steelgate. Strange and aloof, these seven men control everything and everybody within the prison. To break their rules brings severe punishment, as Lena soon learns when a misunderstanding sends her to the Hole for three days. There, in the darkness under the prison, she learns the true horror of Steelgate: the Wardens are all vampires, feeding off their women prisoners one by one: forgotten women, whom no one will ever miss.

Aware now that doing life in Steelgate is actually a death sentence, Lena decides she must form a plan to not only escape the prison, but to also bring down the evil that dwells there.

Obtained from the Author’s Facebook Page

MY REVIEW:

I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant to read another story with vampires as the central theme. However, I am VERY HAPPY I decided to go ahead and read BLOODSUCKER CITY by Jim Towns. The fact that he is a horror movie director definitely swayed my interest. The first line of the book’s synopsis also grabbed my attention and piqued my interest. It reads:

“Like a female Shawshank Redemption— with vampires.”

What self-respecting horror fan could pass up a book with that plot?

100% I was in!!!!

I was not disappointed. Jim Towns has crafted a fabulous story of risk, reward, and redemption. This novella has everything required of a great story. There is a gutsy heroine who has been trampled on simply by virtue of being a woman in 1933. There is a story of deep familial bonds, ones that transcend death. There is a women’s prison where those who could not (or would not) conform to society’s expectations of who and what and how a woman should behave.

I don’t want to ruin the story for any potential readers, but if you are a fan of horror and/or historical fiction, this is one book that you should pre-order now. It will be officially released on November 2, 2021 and I predict that it will obtain a dedicated cult following. I can’t wait to see how people react to BLOODSUCKER CITY.

I rate this book as a solid 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jim Towns is a writer, director and visual artist. His films include the silent expressionist feature Prometheus Triumphant: a Fugue in the Key of Flesh, the award-winning haunted heist film House of Bad, the post-apocalyptic drama State of Desolation, and the streaming series Immortal Hands.

His short fiction has been published in print and online by Burial Day, Switchblade Magazine, Pulp Modern, Castle of Horror, and many more. He is the author of the non-fiction book American Cryptic, and his collection of poems, writings and photographs, Whiskey Stories, was recently released by Uncle B Publications.

His paintings and mixed media artwork have been exhibited in galleries in Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles.

He currently lives in San Pedro, CA with his wife and two mysterious cats.

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

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THE TEACHING – A Thriller Based on the Author’s True Life Experience of Living In A Cult by T.O. PAINE is Coming Soon

Title: THE TEACHING

Author: T.O. PAINE

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, BASED ON THE AUTHOR’S EXPERIENCE OF LIVING IN A CULT

Length: 381 PAGES

Publisher: DARK SWALLOW BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 3rd, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-9992183-2-7 (PAPERBACK)
ISBN: 978-0-9992183-3-4 (HARDCOVER)
ISBN: 978-0-9992183-4-1 (EBOOK)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Based on the author’s true-life experience living in a cult . . .

Raine Harkins believes everything the Teaching tells her—forgiveness is freedom, there are no dead, and there is no dying. She has lived her entire life in the Haven, a small religious community buried in the hills of northern Nevada, and it’s been a good life.

But when she discovers a frightened teenage girl hiding in the forest, everything changes. Raine offers to help the girl, but gunshots ring out, and the girl runs away, never to be seen again. A week later, Raine finds a letter pinned to her cabin door—God doesn’t want you here. Leave the Haven now, before he runs you down.

Raine can’t bear the thought of leaving the only life she’s ever known, but the threatening letters keep coming, and her search for the missing girl leads her down a twisted path, unraveling the truth behind the Teaching. It’s not a good life—there are dead, and people do die.

MY REVIEW:

Debut author T.O. Paine did exactly what authors are supposed to do: he wrote about what he knows. Since he has lived in a cult, he was able to create a community that is believable and is populated by inhabitants that are so realistic that I had to wonder if they were based on people he had known in his past.

If readers are approaching this story hoping to discover that all the people in Haven are evil, they will be disappointed. However, this is exactly what makes this book all the more believable; it’s acknowledgement that not everything in life is easily classified into simple categories.

The mystery that is the main plot will keep readers guessing and has multiple twists and turns. There are also several other sub-plots that the author seamlessly weaves together which will intrigue readers just as much as the main plot does.

There are five novels planned, of which THE TEACHING is only the first. I have added myself to the Author’s mailing list and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I rate THE TEACHING as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book can be pre-ordered now and the official release date is set for March 3rd of 2022.


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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

T.O. Paine is a suspense novelist whose authentic characters triumph over extreme situations in challenging, true-to-life settings. He enjoys delving into the emotional consequences of his character’s choices and taking his readers along for the ride. Though his novels are contemporary, things always get out of control. Cults are real, anger is a disorder, and everyone loses when a friendly competition becomes an obsession.

His first of five novels, THE TEACHING, is set for publication Spring of 2022.

T.O. holds a master’s degree in information systems, and when he is not writing, you can find him running or cycling through the mountains of Colorado, USA. He has run over thirty marathons, ridden over twenty 100-mile cycling events, and completed an IRONMAN.

T.O. resides with his wife, two children, and a Boston terrier who stares at himself in the mirror, questioning his existence.

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

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