NEW RELEASE — GULLY DIRT: A MEMOIR by Robert Coram will make you laugh, it will make you cry and you won’t want to put it down.ย 

Title: GULLY DIRT

Subtitle: On Exposing the Klan, Raising a Hog, and Escaping the South: A Memoir

Author: ROBERT CORAM

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHY, MEMOIR

Length: 266 PAGES

Publisher: FIVE BRIDGES PRESS 

Release Date: JANUARY 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9983820-0-5

Price: $15.99 (Softcover on Amazon)
Price: $6.05 (EBOOK on Amazon)

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ


“A lot of romantic claptrap has been written about the South. I was born in rural Georgia and grew up there during the 1950s, and I never saw the romance. All I ever saw were people who were as mean as uncovered cat shit, people who took pride in being on the losing side of just about everything, people who could quote the Bible one minute and go into a violent rage the next.”    

Paragraph one and I was hooked.

This is a pull-no-punches memoir that does not shy away from the ugly truths about growing up dirt poor in the South in the 1950s. 

GULLY DIRT is cleverly written and filled with vignettes of his pre-teen and teen years beginning at the age of 12.  Robert Coram has achieved an excellent balance between humor and drama and readers will swing between wanting to laugh and wanting to cry.

Growing up in the deep South in a tiny town, Robert dreamed of escaping his retired military father and the blatant favoritism of Robert’s younger brother. He may have despised his father, but like all boys on the cusp of adulthood, he both needed and craved his fatherโ€™s love and attention.

Author Robert Coram describes his birthplace as “… a place that has always been separate from the rest of the world.” The stories in this book prove that to be true.

Because Robert grew up in the 1950s, he grew up in a time that is completely foreign to how we live today. His hometown of Edison had its own prejudices and they held onto them as tightly as possible.

I read this book in a 24 hour period because I did not want to put it down. Some of the phrases the characters say in the novel will make you chuckle audibly. For example, saying that he was as “…mean as uncovered cat shit…” I mean, really, who talks like this? The answer is that in the 50s, that is exactly how the residents of Robert’s town spoke.

If you are: 

A) Easily offended by books that contain swearing or if 

B) you are offended by the word “nigger” then you might want to skip this book. However, the only reason the “n” word is used in the book is because that was what Robert’s parents called black people and so he called them the same. It is historically accurate speech and it is not meant to be offensive. 

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ    

If you are interested in an authentic accounting of growing up in the deep South with an overbearing and uncaring father and yet somehow turning out normal, then this is a must read. 

* I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley


MY FAVOURITE QUOTES:


“…mean as uncovered cat shit…”

“This land, this place, this searing furnace, marks its children more indelibly and more visibly than does any other part of America.”

“Once this land was sea bottom. But not even the ocean liked this place …”

“Gully dirt ain’t good for nothing.”


“…that August I discovered the MAGIC of books, how words on a page could bring tears to my eyes or fill my heart to overflowing.”

“That summer I learned that the contents of a book could resonate in the heart and linger in the memory.”


“I realized at some subliminal level that a book is more than pages covered with printed words. A book is a package of wonder, a container of bliss, a vale of emotion, an unexploded bomb. A book can not only draw the reader into a new world and toward new friends but also separate him from the old world and old friends.”

“One book can change a person’s life. A library can change the world.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert Coramโ€™s career as a writer began in Edison, GA, a town of about 1200 located deep in the southwestern part of the state. Edison is a farming town. Most young people leave as soon as possible. Coram is the only person from Edison ever to become a writer.

Coram was hired as a reporter for The Atlanta Journal when he was a sophomore in college. Like many who suddenly discover their lifeโ€™s work, he was enthusiastic and prolific. He was a general assignment reporter & also wrote features, book reviews, travel stories, & aviation stories. He covered the civil rights movement in Atlanta during the 1960s and he wrote freelance articles for the Atlanta Magazine, for aviation publications, and for national magazines.   

For several years Coram wrote for McGraw-Hill publications out of the Atlanta bureau. He covered the early days of the environmental movement and he covered the civil war in Biafra.

Coram spent four years as a staff writer for Atlanta Magazine. Then he moved to Cumberland Island, an island off the Georgia coast. The first year he was a house sitter & the second year he was a ranger for the National Park Service. Thus, he is one of the few writers who also has been a federal officer. During his two years on Cumberland he wrote for Sports Illustrated and did several travel pieces for the Sunday New York Times.

He returned to Atlanta in the mid-1970s and resumed his freelance career. He wrote a media column, the first in Atlanta, for the weekly Atlanta Gazette.

A piece he wrote for Esquire in 1976 was the first piece about narcotics trafficking in a national magazine. The latter part of the 1970s he traveled extensively in Colombia, Jamaica, the Turks & Caicos Islands, the Bahamas, and south Florida, writing about narcotics trafficking.

These articles resulted in his being asked to become a reporter for The Atlanta Constitution. The first year he received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his stories about drug smuggling. The second year he covered the war in El Salvador. He received another Pulitzer Prize nomination for a series of articles that stopped the National Park Service from developing Cumberland Island. The third year he was fired by a new assistant managing editor who said Coramโ€™s interviewing techniques were too aggressive.

Coram now had the unique distinction of having been fired from both The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution. The two papers later merged, so his feat can never be duplicated.

While he was at the paper he became a part-time instructor at Emory University and taught writing courses there for 12 years.

He also resumed his freelancing and, at the same time, began writing books. He wrote five books before he published his first one. The five were not proposals nor were they a few chapters; they were 400-page manuscripts. That they were not published he considers proof God is sometimes merciful toward the reading public.

Signet published his โ€œNarcsโ€ series. These three books were based on his experiences writing about drug smuggling. Then came four police novels based in Atlanta. Woven among the novels were three non-fiction books: an investigative book about Antigua, a book about an Irish woman who works in Saigon with street children, and a fishing book for National Geographic.

As the 1990s drew near the end, Coram looked back over his books. He said that writing 10 books in 10 years was both good and bad: good in that it showed a certain professionalism, bad in that rarely are lasting books written at such a speed.

Today Coram lives in Atlanta with his wife, business owner Jeannine Addams, president of J. Addams & Partners, a public relations company.

When Coram is not writing, he is fly fishing on the Georgia coast.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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OTHER BOOKS BY ROBERT CORAM: 

MY AWARDS FROM NETGALLEY

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

Title:  THE LAURAS   

Author: SARA TAYLOR

Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ

Publisher: CROWN PUBLISHING, HOGARTH  

Release Date:  AUGUST 1, 2017  

EDITION: HARDCOVER

ISBN: 9780451496850

Price: $26.00 (USD)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ    

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wish there was a way to give more than 5 out of 5 stars, because this book is a masterpiece of fiction and I have no doubt that it will win many awards and will end up on Bestseller Lists everywhere. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 

THE CHARACTERS:

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

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

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

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

MORE

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

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

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

IN CONCLUSION:

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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Read an interview with Sara Taylor HERE.


  

A GIRL CALLED OWL by Amy Wilson releases on Thursday – A magical read for ages 8 and up

Title: A GIRL CALLED OWL 

Author: AMY WILSON     

Illustrator: HELEN CRAWFORD-WHITE    

Genre: MIDDLE GRADE FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Length: 336 PAGES

Publisher: MACMILLAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Release Date: JANUARY 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5098-3246-0

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

“When you have a kid, don’t call it something stupid. Don’t call it Apple, or Pear, or Mung Bean. Don’t call it Owl. This advice is a bit late for me. Because she did. She did call me Owl. Thirteen years ago she looked down at a tiny little baby – me – and decided that Owl would be a good way to go.”   

This Middle-grade novel contains  everything that kids aged 8 to 12 want in a story.

Owl may be an unusual name, but it fits since her life is anything but ordinary.  Living in a single parent household, Owl has always been curious about her father. Throughout her childhood, she repeatedly asked her Mom for information about him and was told fairy tales about how wonderful he is and how he cannot leave his kingdom.

 Unfortunately, now that Owl is older, she doesn’t believe the crazy stories her Mom tells to explain his absence from their lives, she wants to know the truth.

But, when frost starts appearing on her skin and other strange things start happening, she begins to wonder if maybe her Mom was telling the truth when she said that her father was JACK FROST.

Readers will join Owl on a quest to find out more about her father which ultimately leads her to find out more about herself as well.

Releasing this book in January was a brilliant move on the part of the Publisher. This book is set in winter and filled with images of both the beauty and the wildness that the season can bring.

Kids who love books about magic, winter, fitting in, feeling different and books about family will love this book.

Not only is this is a wonderful quest-type story, it is also a book that proves that family doesn’t always look the way you think it should, and that ultimately it is love that matters.

I rate A GIRL CALLED OWL as 4 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ 

I highly recommend it to children ages 9 to 13.

โ„Readers will never look at a snowstorm the same way again! โ„

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

  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Amy Wilson has a background in journalism and lives in Bristol with her young family.

She is a graduate of the Bath Spa MA in Creative Writing and has many owls in her house, from drawer handles to cushions.

She is still waiting for them to speak to her…  

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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AMAZON  



BOOK LAUNCH EVENT IN BRISTOL AT WATERSTONES ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 26th, 2017 – CLICK HERE

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Living and working by the sea, she brings projects to life for a range of clients and industries. From publishing to branding, websites to illustration and everything in between.

Originally a graduate of Brighton University, she worked at the wonderful Crush Design for many years as an art director before setting up her own shop. Now with a small studio she is attempting to take over the world and over deliver on every project she gets her hands on.

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

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LINKEDIN 

DISCORD by Katy Haye is a YA Novel that defies categorization. 4 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸย 

Title: DISCORD    

Series: BOOK ONE OF THE ECHOES OF THE EARTH SERIES

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

Length: 250 PAGES

Publisher: PLUMSHINE BOOKS

Release Date: DECEMBER 8, 2016

ISBN: 9781540412430

Price: $3.99 USD (EBOOK)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I rate DISCORD as 4 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ  

   


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katy Haye – In Her Own Words:

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

Iโ€™m fascinated by what makes books work โ€“ what makes a story so vivid the words themselves melt away and Iโ€™m living the characterโ€™s life with them?

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

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

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

MY LIFE HEREAFTER by Lynette Ferreira is a Young Adult book with an interesting take on what the afterlife looks like. 4 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸย 

Title: MY LIFE HEREAFTER 

Author: LYNETTE FERREIRA  

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SUPERNATURAL FICTION

Length: 252 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Release Date: NOVEMBER 7, 2016

ISBN: 9781326846404

Price: PAPERBACK  $10.99 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK (FROM NETGALLEY): 

EVERYTHING LOOKS THE SAME EVEN THOUGH IT SHOULDN’T. Everything is exactly the same as before that day which she can now only vaguely remember. The day her school bus ran over the cliff. The day she and most of her fellow students ended up here. The twins, Mark and David, were also on the bus, but David did not come here with them. David was sent across the valley to the other side. Mark convinces Sunel to help him find his brother, no matter what the dangers might be. Fiction: Supernatural Thriller

MY REVIEW: 

This is a Young Adult / Middle-grade fiction novel that imagines a possible scenario of just what is waiting for us in the afterlife.

When young teenager Sunel finds herself and sixty of her former classmates have died, she is initially in a state of shock. 

To make matters worse, she is the reason the bus crashed. This means she is the reason everyone is dead. 

As the shock wears off she finds herself in a world that is very similar and yet very different from the one she left behind.

My favorite scene is when the teens are led into the Hall of Judgment and are told they will be called in one at at a time. Upon entering the testing room Sunel sees three doors.

 “The first door says Recycle. Next to Recycle, there is Rehabilitation. And next to Rehabilitation, there is Rapture.” I thought this was very clever.

This book touches on many interesting and important topics. It is not often that you find a YA book that openly discusses the afterlife. It seems to be a topic that Young Adult authors do not embrace for some reason, and the few authors who do write about the topic choose ghost story-type tales. 

Kudos to Author Lynette Ferreira for tackling such a controversial topic.

This book also has elements of other issues important to today’s youth such as bullying and peer pressure as well as taking responsibility for one’s actions.

With the variety of characters, readers should be able to find at least one that they identify with. I think that young teens and middle grade readers will enjoy this book and hopefully it will open up dialogue about the issues detailed in it’s pages.


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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

 

Lynette Ferreira is the author of more than twenty fiction novels.

She writes stories about first love, really cute boys, kissing and all the drama.

Her stories always address social issues and are most times set in a supernatural world.

She does not really like the cold, is afraid of the dark, and loves anything in, on or smothered with chocolate.

She lives in Northern Ireland with her family.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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4 Stars for the unique middle-grade novel BRAINWALKER – Ever wondered what it would be like inside your father’s brain? Now you can find out. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Title: BRAINWALKER

Authors: ROBYN MUNDELL and STEPHAN LACAST

Genre: FICTION, MIDDLE-GRADE

Length: 260 PAGES

Publisher: DUALMIND PUBLISHING

Release Date: OCTOBER 1, 2016

ISBN: 9780997652505   

Price:  $9.99

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ


BOOK DESCRIPTION (From Amazon)

One teen’s incredible journey may just blow his fatherโ€™s mindโ€ฆ

Fourteen-year-old Bernard thinks outside the box. The only problem is that neither his school nor his ultra-rational physicist father appreciate his unique ideas. When he reacts to a stressful situation at school by mooning the class, his suspension sends him straight to his fatherโ€™s workplace. After his frustrated father leaves him unattended, Bernard does what any teen would do: wander into the particle accelerator and accidentally get transported through a wormhole! 

Edit It doesnโ€™t take long for Bernard to realize heโ€™s in deep trouble. Not only did the wormhole drop him in the middle of a civil war over a depleted resource, but the battle is actually taking place inside his fatherโ€™s brain. Bernard has one chance to save the dying side of his fatherโ€™s creative brain from the tyrannical left side. Can he use his outside-the-box thinking to save his fatherโ€™s life?

Brainwalker is a young adult sci-fi fantasy novel that turns the world of neuroscience on its head. If you like incredible fantasy worlds, fast-paced entertainment, and the human mind, then youโ€™ll love Robyn Mundell and Stephan Lacastโ€™s amazing journey inside the brain. 


MY REVIEW:

 This middle grade novel is wonderfully written and readers from ages 8 – 12 will love this book.

The author has imagined an entire world inside the brain of a boy’s father.

I loved the fact that the boy and his father were very different and that they had trouble communicating and understanding each other.

When the boy is sucked through a wormhole and ends up inside his father’s brain, he finds himself on a mission to save his father’s life.

During his quest he ends up learning more about his father and more about himself in the process.


A great read with a terrific message.


I rate this as 4 out of 5 stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

  


FAVORITE QUOTES:


“Blind faith is stronger than truth. Far stronger.”


“Remember, what you call luck is the meeting of opportunity and flexibility.”
 


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

 

Robyn Mundell is an award winning playwright. A graduate of New York University, she performed in dozens of plays in New York. She studied with such theater legends as Uta Hagen, Lee Strasberg, and Stella Adler.

Robyn wrote and performed in several of her own plays including Pieces of Oand Traveling Bowls of Soup, produced by Pulitzer-prize winner Beth Henley.Traveling Bowls of Soup opened at the Met theater to rave reviews and received several Drama-Logue awards. Robyn has since been selling original screenplays and TV pilots to major film companies and networks. She is the daughter of Canadian Nobel laureate Robert A. Mundell, and is married to actor-playwright Raymond J. Barry. Together, they have four children.

STEPHAN LACAST

French-Born Stephan Lacast likes to think of himself as a geek, which depending on your  dictionary means either โ€œknowledgeable about computersโ€, or โ€œboring social misfit.โ€ At the age of twelve his idea of fun was building computers and programming, and by fifteen he was a contributor to a computer magazine. A graduate of Paris-Dauphine University, he holds a Bachelor in Economics, a Master in Business Administration, and a Master of Advanced Studies in Information Systems.

After teaching at Dauphine University, Stephan went on to work as a consultant and engineer for one of the top ten Information Technology services companies in Europe, before deciding to leave Paris and move to the United States.

To learn more about BRAINWALKER visit the following links:

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5 Stars for Rรฉmy Simard’s Childrenโ€™s Graphic Novel: SIMONE: THE BEST MONSTER EVER – Perfect for all ages – Coming in April 2017ย 


Title: SIMONE: THE BEST MONSTER EVER 

Author: Rร‰MY SIMARD    

Illustrator: Rร‰MY SIMARD      

Translated from French to English by: KAREN LI   

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, GRAPHIC NOVELS AND COMICS 

Length: 50 PAGES

Publisher: OWLKIDS BOOKS INC

Release Date: APRIL 15, 2017  

ISBN: 978-1-77147-293-7 (Hardcover)

Price: $16.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

Morris is a green, googly-eyed monster. He loves zombie bowling, rain storms, and anything gross or disgusting.

Simone is a cute little girl. She loves sunshine, flowers and cute puppy dogs.

When Simone ends up in Morris’s world she is the scary one. The monsters run away from her horrifying cuteness and her happy smile. In this monster-world everything is topsy-turvey.

Despite his initial terror of Simone, she and Morris end up as best friends and the unlikely pair have a host of hilarious adventures.

Kids will be able to relate to each story. There is school, Halloween, Christmas, sports and much more.

These comics were originally published in French and luckily have now been translated into English. 

The illustrations in this beginner’s graphic novel are sheer perfection. The monsters still look like monsters, but they are not really scary. This will draw the children’s attention without causing nightmares or fear.

The colors are bright, vibrant and bold and the illustrations will make fans of not only the young children, but also their older siblings, and even their parents. 

Each page in this book is its own story, which is told in 4 to 6 comic panels. This format makes this book terrific for bedtime reading since parents can easily read a few pages per night and pick the book up again the next night.

This is an amazing book to introduce children to the joy and wonder of graphic novels without having to worry about non-age-appropriate content.


I rate this visual treat as 5 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ and I highly recommend it to children of any age from 4 to 99.


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

       



 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR and ILLUSTRATOR: 

 

Rร‰MY SIMARD is an award-winning illustrator and author of many books and comics for children.

When he is not busy creating, Rรฉmy loves zooming around the streets of Montreal, Quebec on his motorcycle.

To learn more about him, click on the following links: 
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5 Roaring Stars for THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET by Stephanie Morrill – A mystery thriller set in 1920s Chicago – Fashion, Mobsters, Flappers and Speakeasys will enthrall readers.

Title: THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET

Author: STEPHANIE MORRILL

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERY

Length: 352 PAGES

Publisher: BLINK by HARPER COLLINS   

Release Date: FEBRUARY 7, 2017

ISBN: 9780310758389   

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

SYNOPSIS 

Piper and her best friend Lydia attend the prestigious Presley’s School for Girls located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois.

The year is 1924 and Piper has  embraced the new freedoms that women are experiencing. “This is 1924, after all. A girl has the right to be heard.”

 

Of the best friends, Lydia is the more reserved of the two. “Lydia is a darling of the Astor Street district. Not just wealthy and well-bred, but sweet too.” 

This photo is similar to what I think Lydia would have looked like.

So, when Lydia goes missing it is a shock to everyone in the neighborhood – in fact, her disappearance shocks the entire city.  The police are called in and do the best they can to find Lydia before the unthinkable happens.

But, Piper knows that the police are not being given all the information. She has grown up on Astor Street and is well aware that the residents will keep secret any information that might damage their reputation – despite the fact that it may mean Lydia is never found.

So, Piper sets out to find Lydia on her own. She does not care that she might be placing herself in danger. All she cares about is finding her best friend – alive. 
MY REVIEW 

This story is superbly researched. The author has included the prejudices of the era, the way people spoke, the fashions of the day and even the social and societal norms of the 1920s and has done so in a way that comes across as completely natural.

With multiple twists and turns and a varied cast of interesting and compelling characters, THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET is a must read novel.

For anyone who has ever viewed the ‘Roaring Twenties’ as an era of freedom and has thought about it with romanticized notions, this book will both reinforce and shatter those notions. 

The central mystery of this book will have readers guessing who and why Lydia was taken and every time they think they have it all figured out, a new twist or piece of evidence will be discovered and readers will have to rethink their views.

This is literally a page-turner that will not only keep readers guessing but will also be impossible for them to put down. If you decide to read this book (and you really should read it) then you had better set aside an entire afternoon since you will NOT be able to put it down. 

I do not think this book will be the last we hear about Piper and I can’t wait to read more of her adventures.

I rate THE LOST GIRL OF ASTOR STREET as 5 out of 5 Stars ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ  

 

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

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


 

Stephanie Morrill lives in Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and three kids.

She is the author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book, and the Ellie Sweet series.

She enjoys encouraging and teaching teen writers on her blog, www.GoTeenWriters.com 

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

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The Lost Girl of Astor Street hits shelves:February 7th!

Those who pre-order gain access to fun extras, including a bonus chapter that isnโ€™t included in the book! You can get more details aboutpre-order perks by clicking here.


   


A Chicago Speakeasy – Photo obtained from www.timeout.com 

I loved this image of a 1920s flapper with her cigarette looking glamorous so I just had to include it. 

Flapper with smoke

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

Title: PATHOGEN        

Series: DR. KATE MORRISON MYSTERIES #2

Author: JESSICA L. WEBB   

Genre: FICTION, THRILLER, MEDICAL THRILLER, LGBTQIA

Length: 288 pages

Publisher: BOLD STROKES BOOKS

Release Date: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62639-832-0

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

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

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

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

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  • Repercussions 
  • Coming July 2017


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

The absolutely hilarious book I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY BUTT is a MUST READ for anyone who needs a bright spot in their day.

Title:I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY BUTT

Subtitle: AN ILLUSTRATED BOOK OF BIG THOUGHTS FROM LITTLE KIDS

Author: MARTIN BRUCKNER

Genre: HUMOR, COMICS

Length: 224 PAGES

Publisher: WORKMAN PUBLISHING COMPANY

Release Date: APRIL 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7611-8914-5

Price: $12.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ  

Absolutely gut-bustingly hilarious.

I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY BUTT is a collection of sayings and phrases that have come from the mouths of children.

If you are a parent or even if you aren’t, but have spent any amount of time around small children, then you are aware that sometimes kids say things that make you laugh. These sayings and phrases can be incredibly entertaining. At other times, kids say things that are so incredibly perceptive that listeners find themselves completely dumbfounded at what they hear.

Illustrator Martin Bruckner found himself amused quite often by the things his daughter said. He decided to illustrate some of her more humorous quotes and to put them together in book form as a Mother’s Day present for his wife.

That Mother’s Day present has since changed his life and launched a new brand. He now accepts orders from other people who wish to have their own children’s sayings illustrated as well as including some of them in this book.

Humor books are too often short and can sometimes be comprised of less than 100 pages. I was happy to find that this book is much more substantial, having 224 pages of quotes and illustrations.

Some of my favorite quotes are:

“Volcanoes are the Earth’s butt. That’s how the Earth gets the gas out.”

“I’m not done being bad yet.”

“I can’t have milk. I’m black toast and tolerant.”

And

“My dinner tummy is full, but my dessert tummy is waiting.”

But, it is not just the quotes that make this book so funny, it is also the accompanying illustrations that take the quotes to new heights of laughability.

So, if you need a good chuckle, or if you need a gift for an upcoming event, or if you just want to put a smile on someone’s face, buy this book. Anyone who does not find at least a few of the included illustrations and quotes to laugh it just isn’t human.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: 

Martin Bruckner is an illustrator whose now 4 year old daughter inspired him to create his new brand: SpaghettiToes.

In fact, the name came about one night when Martin, his wife and daughter (who was 2 at the time) were having dinner together. His wife turned to their daughter and said, ” Please donโ€™t put spaghetti between your toes.” And in that instant their new brand was born.

You can shop at his wife’s shop on ETSY where along with her own creations, she also sells SpaghettiToes artwork and even takes requests for custom orders.

Visit any or all of the following links for more information about the author, his family and his brand:

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