MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM:

Title: MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM 

Subtitle: TWENTY-FIVE TALES OF TRUE CRIME AND DARK HISTORY

Author: MIKE BROWNE

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Length: 337 PAGES

Publisher: HARPER COLLINS CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781443461597

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

https://omny.fm/shows/dark-poutine-true-crime-and-dark-history/did-they-get-it-right-the-rafay-family-murders/embed

DESCRIPTION:

Mike Browne, host of the popular Canadian podcast Dark Poutine, chronicles some of his all-time favourite stories of true crime and dark history from Canada and around the world.

Divided into four sections —Murders with a Twist, Perpetual Puzzles, The Madness of Crowds and Notable Disasters — all the stories in this collection (except two) are brand new and haven’t been covered by the podcast.

In Murders with a Twist, Browne recounts seven true crime stories with atypical elements, including weird motives, unusual perpetrators and bizarre murder weapons. In one case, we meet a man who is willing to kill to possess a human voice. In another, two women play a deadly game to prove their love to each other.

Perpetual Puzzles covers six stories that remain unresolved and will leave you with more questions than answers. They include the archaeological find of the century, which turns out to be something far more sinister, as well as the discovery of a dead man on the beach with a mysterious clue in his pocket.

The Madness of Crowds reveals that murder and mayhem are sometimes a group effort. We meet two young Canadians who leave home one summer to find work and instead end up on a murder spree, and a bizarre California cult that asks its members to topple the Mormon church.

The book concludes with Notable Disasters, which describes some of the most tragic and deadly events in history, including the deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, as well as the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London in June 2017.

The book includes a foreword by Alan R. Warren, bestselling true crime author and host of the House of Mystery Radio Show.

MY REVIEW:

I am a True Crime fan. I listen and subscribe to several true crime podcasts. As I live in Canada, I am extra interested in those podcasts which are Canadian based. It is through that medium that I first became aware of Mike Browne.

Mike Browne is the host and creator of the “Dark Poutine” podcast. When I learned he was planning to author a book of true stories, I was immediately intrigued. I wondered if he would simply convert episodes of the podcast into written form or if he planned to tell all-new tales.

I now have my answer.

Instead of rehashing stories he had previously covered, MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM is filled with new and fascinating true stories.

The book contains a total of 25 stories, which have been divided into four categories.

Those categories are:

MURDER WITH A TWIST: which contains seven stories that prove that truth really is stranger than fiction. The strangest is the story about spelling out the word M-U-R-D-E-R.

PERPETUAL PUZZLES consists of six stories that remain mysteries to this day. These tales are guaranteed to leave readers wondering.  

THE MADNESS OF CROWDS delves into the weirdness that can develop when twisted people join together. This section includes the story of the “Heaven’s Gate” cult.

Last, but not least, is the section called Notable Disasters.

NOTABLE DISASTERS is not a typical chapter you would find in any other true crime book… This is a good thing. I love that Author Mike Browne included such events as the horrific Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, and the story of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, England that took the lives of 72 people and injured more than 60 others in June of 2017.

The Grenfell Tower Fire

You will definitely want your friends and family to read this book so that you can discuss it with them. If you work in an office, this book is sure to heat up conversations around the water cooler.

One of the characteristics that I most appreciate about Mike Browne is that he does not cheapen his stories by resorting to shock value. He includes enough details to ensure the reader understands the magnitude of what the victims suffered, but does not include gratuitous gore.

Mike Browne is a fabulous podcast host, and now he has expanded into being a fantastic author as well.

I look forward to his next book as well as to the next episode of Dark Poutine.

I rate MURDER, MADNESS AND MAYHEM as a solid 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

*

https://omny.fm/shows/dark-poutine-true-crime-and-dark-history/sins-of-the-father-the-delorme-affair/embed

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

MIKE BROWNE’s curiosity, love of storytelling, and lifelong interest in the true-crime genre led him to create the popular, award-winning Dark Poutine podcast in 2017.

New episodes released weekly cover true crime and dark Canadian history, with a smattering of stories from around the world. Mike’s experience as a trauma survivor is evident in the compassion and thoughtful connection he brings to the stories he writes and voices.

Mike is also a regular co-host on the radio show The House of Mystery, which plays nightly on KCAA in Los Angeles.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

DARK POUTINE PODCAST

GOODREADS

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

https://omny.fm/shows/dark-poutine-true-crime-and-dark-history/refrew-county-rampage-carol-culleton-anastasia-kuz/embed

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To learn more about the DARK POUTINE Podcast Click on the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

FACEBOOK GROUP – YUMBER YARD

TWITTER

PATREON

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PUBLISHER – HARPER COLLINS – VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:

INSTAGRAM

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

UNSILENCED: A Teacher’s Year of Battles, Breakthroughs and Life-Changing Lessons at Belchertown State School by HOWARD C. SHANE is an unforgettable and compelling story of finding hope and inspiration in the most unlikely of places – THE MOST IMPORTANT MEMOIR YOU WILL READ IN 2021 – 5+ STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: UNSILENCED

Subtitle: A Teacher’s Year of Battles, Breakthroughs, and Life-Changing Lessons at Belchertown State School 

Author: HOWARD C. SHANE   

Genre: NON-FICTION, DISABILITIES, HISTORY, MEMOIRS, DISCRIMINATION

Length: 254 PAGES

Publisher: BROOKES PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 1, 2021

ISBN: 9781681255156

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

https://m.facebook.com/watch/?v=898640163601782&_rdr

DESCRIPTION:

The year is 1969, and fresh-out-of-college smart-aleck Howard Shane has just landed his first teaching job—at Belchertown State School, a bleak institution where people with disabilities endure endless days of silence, tedium, and neglect.

Howard is stunned by the conditions at Belchertown and the challenges of his new job, but as he gets to know his diverse, endearing, and intelligent students, he becomes consumed with a mission: to unlock their communication skills and help them reach their full potential. Pitting his youthful idealism and passion against the rigidity of a rule-bound administrator, Howard battles his way to small joys and victories with his students—and, along the way, learns just as much as he teaches.

A stirring and spellbinding memoir from internationally renowned AAC expert Howard Shane (Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School), Unsilenced is a candid look at a pivotal era in disability history and a deeply personal account of how all human beings can flourish when we care for each other and fight for change.

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MY REVIEW:

“It began in 1969, at a school with a name that’s repellent to modern ears: ‘Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded.’ Located in the sleepy town of Belchertown, Massachusetts, it was a grim institution where children with a wide range of disabilities were warehoused for nearly a century. At that time, parents of children with disabilities had few alternatives when it came to raising and educating their children.”

This fantastic memoir is an important addition to the history of people with disabilities. This is a story that MUST be told.

A scan of a 35mm slide taken of one of the dorms at BSS likely in the late 1970s.

Howard Shane was only 22 when he took a teaching position at the Belchertown State School. Much has been written about the institutions where “disabled” people were warehoused in the past. However, this book is completely unlike any other.

Ruth Sienkewicz-Mercer – Born in Northampton, MA, Ruth suffered a severe bout of encephalitis at five weeks old and at 13 months was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Ruth was admitted to Belchertown as a teen and spent the next 8 years in a bed on a ward for schizophrenics. In 1969, Ruth was introduced to a new teacher, Howard Shane, who, with the help of the physical therapist, created the first alternative communication device that allowed Ruth to communicate more widely. By then, the nurses on the ward had already figured out that Ruth communicated using eye movements and facial expressions.

Institutions such as the Belchertown State School were not places of learning as one would expect from the name. It’s full name says much about the commonly held attitudes of the time: The Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded. These were NOT places where hope or inspiration could be found. Instead, the residents were taught either only the basics of self-care, or were taught nothing at all.

Residents (patients) were often left with little or no access to external stimuli and had little access to educational materials.

When Howard Shane arrived to begin his teaching position, he had no idea that it would shape his entire future.

With A and K Building demolished, the worst conditions could be found in the other two large scale residential buildings: G Building and the Infirmary shown here where residents far outnumbered staff and there was little day to day activity on the wards to enrich the residents’ time there. The residents of the infirmary rarely left their beds unless it was to spend time on mats that were spread out on the floor. From Instagram.

Determined to actually educate his students, who were the most severely physically disabled residents of the “school,” Howard devised a way for the non-verbal students to actually communicate. This invention changed the lives of his students in untold ways.

In the early 1940s the residents attended the Belchertown fair and enjoyed riding the carousel so much that the administration decided to purchase one for the school. In 1948 they purchased a c. 1912 Stein & Goldstein Carousel from Forest Lake Park in Palmer. Obtained from the Belchertown State School Friends on Instagram

His dedication to actually educating his students caused him to butt heads with the administration continuously. His views were seen as radical and his goals for his students were seen as unrealistic and a waste of time.

This book will grab your attention and is 100% unputdownable. Readers will find themselves rooting, not only for Howard Shane, but also for the students in his unconventional classroom.

This book is important. We need to remember the past and how people with disabilities were viewed and treated. This knowledge is essential so that society is never allowed to slip back into believing the uneducated views of the past.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who believes that every person, despite their physical and mental disabilities, are important and deserve the chance to be happy and to live a fulfilling life.

I am very much hoping that Dr. Howard Shane decides to write a follow up to this memoir. I would be extremely interested in hearing more about his career and the devices he helped to create. In my view, Howard C. Shane is an exceptional human being and his life and work need to be celebrated.

I rate this book as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be eagerly awaiting the next volume of his memoirs.
.
*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

* Hear an Excerpt Read by Howard Shane, Ph.D. here: 

https://products.brookespublishing.com/Unsilenced-P1285.aspx

*

From: AsylumProjects.org

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Howard Shane, Ph.D.,is an associate professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and the director of the Center for Communication Enhancement and the Autism Language Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

He has designed more than a dozen computer applications used widely by persons with disabilities and holds two U.S. patents.

Dr. Shane has received Honors of the Association Distinction and is a fellow of the American Speech and Hearing Association.

He is the recipient of the Goldenson Award for Innovations in Technology from the United Cerebral Palsy Association and has authored numerous papers and chapters on severe speech impairment, lectured throughout the world on the topic, and produced numerous computer innovations enjoyed by persons with complex communication disorders.

https://images.app.goo.gl/WfN2yAadxXCmtzgi8

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

WIKIPEDIA

BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

BROOKES is the premier publisher of practical, research-based resources that support children’s healthy development and boost the learning and success of all people, with and without disabilities. We partner with pioneers and fresh voices to inspire readers and provide them with the tools needed to help all learners achieve academic success and work toward a bright future.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL:

Photograph obtained from http://www.asylumprojects.org
This photo shows dinner being served in one of the women’s buildings at the Belchertown State School in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Food was prepared for residents at a central kitchen and delivered to the various dormitories.
Note the Buster Brown haircuts on most of the women–the preferred style because it was said to be easier for the staff to do than anything else. (Photo courtesy of the Clapp Memorial Library)
In this 1972 photo, empty beds at the Belchertown State School are pictured. James Shanks reported in his 1970 expose on the conditions at Belchertown State School where men slept in large barracks, beds touching head to foot, with only a narrow twelve-inch aisle separating rows. Sometimes residents had to climb over one another to get to and from their beds. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Albertson/CORBIS)

The Following Photos and Links have nothing to do with Dr. Howard Shane’s memoir. They are included here as additional content I found interesting:

INFORMATION ON THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL

From: The ATLAS OBSCURA WEBSITE

THE BELCHERTOWN STATE SCHOOL FOR THE FEEBLE-MINDED was founded in 1922.

The 845 acre campus comprising some 57 buildings must be called scenic, if nothing else—the Holyoke Range is visible from the campus, and many of the original structures were old farmhouse cottages (five farms were purchased to build the school).

After its establishment, the school became the only institution for developmentally disabled children in Western Massachusetts. Conditions deteriorated over the next few decades. Wards were overcrowded and attendants overworked. As a result, patients were often left to soak for hours in their own excrement. Sometimes, handicapped patients had their teeth removed to facilitate feeding.

In 1992, the school was finally closed after decades of reported human rights violations. In 1994, the campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the buildings are all boarded up. Graffiti and vandalism are rampant. Many of the ward rooms have been destroyed. Weather has also done its fair share of damage. The buildings have asbestos and, while possible to walk in, aren’t structurally sound.

However relics remain of the old school. One room in a large dormitory building still has plastic mats nailed to the walls—a padded cell. Large recreational rooms on either side of the dormitory halls get the most sun. The light is fractured by old-fashioned wheelchairs. In the basement of one building, a piano is lying on its back like a sleeping horse.

And, while the town of Belchertown may have forgotten this nasty piece of its history in the few decades since the state school was closed, it is possible the former residents still remember. In an upper floor, a note was scrawled on the floor, on top of which were human feces. “We were here. Now we’re gone,” it read. “Clean this place up. It’s a mess!”

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

The grounds are conveniently located right behind the Belchertown Police Department. There are No Trespassing signs, and the local paper reports trespassers being arrested on a weekly basis.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you might find the following links interesting:

ARTICLE: Abandoned New England: Photos from inside the old Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded by Matt Hester, Freelance Photographer on MASSLIVE website

Book: Crimes Against Humanity: A Historical Perspective. It was written by Benjamin Ricci, who sent his six-year-old son Bobby to live there not knowing what the conditions were like, and who was involved in the initial 1972 lawsuit.

Another book with vivid descriptions of Belchertown is Ruth Sienkiewicz-Mercer’s I Raise My Eyes to Say Yes. She was a resident of the school in the 1960s and 1970s. Ruth was one of Howard Shane’s students.

BOOK: THE BOYS AND GIRLS OF BELCHERTOWN by Robert Hornick

RELEASED TODAY – Creative Crochet Projects – 12 Playful Projects for Beginners and Beyond by the uber-talented Stephanie Pokorny CROCHET AT IT’S MOST CREATIVE

Title: CREATIVE CROCHET PROJECTS

Subtitle: 12 PLAYFUL PROJECTS FOR BEGINNERS AND BEYOND

Author: STEPHANIE POKORNY 

Genre: NON-FICTION, CROCHETING, CRAFTS AND HOBBIES

Length: 96 PAGES

Size: 8.5″ X 10.8″

Publisher: LANDAUER PUBLISHINGA DIVISION OF FOX CHAPEL PUBLISHING 

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2021

ISBN: 9781947163638

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

You’ve never seen a crochet book like this before!

Whether you want to learn how to crochet or you’re looking for new projects to try, Creative Play with Crochet is for you! Featuring 12 projects that start easy and introduce a new technique one design at a time, this exciting guide contains crochet patterns you won’t find anywhere else!

Filled with personality and color, follow step-by-step instructions and skill-building tutorials to create a collection of charming crochet projects, from a beehive mobile and a kitchen play mat to toys, beanies, scarves, and more!

Crochet with creativity!

– 12 fun crochet projects with a charming, offbeat sense of style
– Create kids’ toys, beanies, buntings, scarves, a beehive mobile, and more
– Step-by-step instructions, coordinating photography, and skill-building tutorials
– Beginner-friendly introduction to common stitches and crochet basics.

Author Stephanie Pokorny has a one-of-a-kind style that has both wide appeal and originality.

MY REVIEW:

Ever wished you could learn to crochet? Or, are you already an accomplished crocheter? Either way, this is a must-have book.

With 96 pages, of the highest quality photography with detailed instructions for each project, this is a craft book of the highest quality.

To ensure CREATIVE CROCHET PROJECTS will appeal to crocheters of every skill level, author Stephanie Pokorny has included instructions with full colour photographs for each crochet stitch.

It is obvious to me that a exceptional amount of thought went into the creation of this book.

The author even includes information as to how to read other crochet patterns and what each abbreviation that crocheters might run across stands for.

I have seen (and own) dozens of crochet pattern books, but have never seen one (until now) that appeals equally to crafters of all ages and degrees of proficiency.

From a kitchen placemat that looks like a stovetop to a fully stacked hamburger for kid’s play kitchens, each project is unique and beautiful.

The projects include:

Finger Crochet Scarves

– It’s a Chinch One-Hour Cowl


– Squiggles McGee Hat


– Bubble Hue Shift Hat


– Asymmetric Owl Wrap


– Happy Heart Bunting


– Foldable Burger


– Foldable Hot Dog


– Sliceable Watermelon


– Bee-Unified Mobile and a


– Roll-Away Kitchen Placemat

I rate CREATIVE CROCHET PROJECTS – 12 PLAYFUL PROJECTS FOR BEGINNERS AND BEYOND as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephanie Pokorny is the designer and owner of Crochetverse.com that offers a one-of-a-kind original style to the crochet world.

Her elaborate children’s crochet costumes were even acknowledged in the 2019 edition of Ripley’s Believe it Or Not.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  

GOODREADS 

ETSY

FACEBOOK – AUTHOR

FACEBOOK – PUBLISHER

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER – AUTHOR

TWITTER – PUBLISHER

RAVELRY

AMAZON  

YOUTUBE

CHAPTERS

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“Stephanie Pokorny is one of the most creative crochet designers working today and her clever ideas shine through in this book. Every design is innovative, joyous, and most of all, FUN!”
Heather Mann

Download the Free Pattern “Walt The Worry Bear”

RELEASED TODAY – MI’KMAW DAILY DRUM – Mi’kmaw Culture for Every Day of the Week – A children’s non-fiction board book By Famed Mi’kmaw artist ALAN SYLIBOY – A fabulous work of art and a first step toward Reconciliation

Title: MI’KMAW DAILY DRUM

Subtitle: MI’KMAW CULTURE FOR EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK

Author/Artist: ALAN SYLIBOY

Genre: CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION, BOARD BOOK, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, MULTICULTURAL, CANADIAN NON-FICTION

Ages: 0 – 3 years

Length: 12 PAGES

Publisher: NIMBUS PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 30, 2021

ISBN: 9781771088893

Price: $12.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦

DESCRIPTION:

In the style of the wildly popular Mi’kmaw Animals baby board book, shortlisted for the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration, comes Mi’kmaw Daily Drum.

From celebrated artist Alan Syliboy, this vital book for the youngest readers showcases seven of Syliboy’s popular Daily Drum artworks, each paired with a different day of the week.

From Spirit Woman to Caribou to Round Dance, Mi’kmaw culture and teachings are offered up to newborns and toddlers in a vibrant and accessible book.

MY REVIEW:

This is a 7 inch square board book aimed at babies and toddlers. However, with the exquisite artwork and the phonetic spelling of the Mi’Kmaw words, this is a fabulous introduction to Indigenous culture for people of any age.

ALAN SYLIBOY is a well-known Mi’Kmaw artist and musician as well as being an author. His artwork is utterly beautiful and his love for his heritage and culture shines through everything he creates.

It is that love and beauty that will draw both parents and their children to this stunning work of art.

Including this book in home libraries is a terrific way to start children along the path to reconciliation at a very young age.

I rate this book as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alan Syliboy is an established Mi’kmaq artist. His work is influenced by the indigenous Mi’kmaq rock drawing and quill weaving traditions.

Working in acrylic and mixed media, Alan creates vibrantly coloured images exploring the themes of family, searching, spirituality, struggle, and strength.

The use of layering symbols and mark making creates depth and texture in Alan’s work.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://alansyliboy.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

THE ARTIST’S GALLERY:

Click on the links below to view some galleries of Alan’s work:

Drum Series

People of the Dawn

Petroglyph Humans

Abstract

Ingrid Mueller Gallery

Available Work

https://publish.twitter.com/AlanSyliboy

HORSEPLAY – True Crime Memoir – Heroin in the 80s in Vancouver written by the undercover operator who lived it every day. A Fantastic Read and a Must Read for True Crime fans

Title: HORSEPLAY
www.horseplaythebook.com

Subtitle: MY TIME UNDERCOVER ON THE GRANVILLE STRIP

Author: NORM BOUCHER

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, MEMOIR, ADDICTION, HEROIN, UNDERCOVER POLICE WORK   

Length: 272 PAGES

Publisher: NEWEST PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: NOVEMBER 2020

ISBN: 978-1-988732-98-5

Price: $21.95 CDN / $17.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

In his first True Crime memoir, undercover operator Norm Boucher recounts eight months spent infiltrating Vancouver’s heroin scene, a world of paranoia, ripoffs, and violence.

It is 1983 and the War on Drugs is intensifying. From his barroom observer’s seat, Boucher candidly reveals the lives of heroin addicts who spend each day looking for their next hit. Their dangerous subculture, centred around three gritty hotels on the Granville Strip, becomes Boucher’s domain as he attempts both to gain acceptance in a world far removed from his own and to keep himself safe.

With Horseplay, decorated RCMP officer Norm Boucher takes readers back to the assignment that shaped his outlook on the role of criminal law enforcement and the human side of addiction as it collides with the ruthlessness of the drug business.

MY REVIEW:

True Crime has become a topic of mainstream interest. What was once only followed by law enforcement and dedicated ‘web sleuths,’ has now become a topic discussed by “regular” people all over the world.

This newfound audience has led to the publishing of myriad numbers of books, and also to the creation of thousands of podcasts, ensuring that every subset crime is being covered. I readily admit that I am a ‘True Crime Junkie’ and have been since I was a young adult (which was a thousand years ago if you ask my kids.)

What is underrepresented in this genre is Canadian stories. Yes, there are some, but most seem to focus on serial killers and/or other sensational and well-known murder cases. That is one of the reasons why I was so interested in reading HORSEPLAY.

In HORSEPLAY we get a glimpse behind the curtain of undercover work in Canada. And, lucky for readers, we get the information straight from the undercover operator himself.

Now retired, Norm Boucher has written about one of the undercover operations he worked on in Vancouver in the early 1980s. He was tasked with befriending the heroin junkies and especially their dealers with the goal of making arrests and trying to determine where the bulk of the heroin was coming from.

In the pages of HORSEPLAY readers will be shown the truth of undercover work — that most of it is not the glamorous lifestyle shown in movies or fiction books.

Spending eight months — day after day and night after night on Vancouver’s Granville Strip with addicts whose entire lives centered around shooting heroin. As soon as they used up their supply, they spent their time hustling to find their next hit. All while trying to avoid being ripped-off, robbed or beaten.

What Author Norm Boucher witnessed during that time profoundly changed how he viewed those he interacted with.

Norm pulls no punches when he writes, but I don’t want to give away too many spoilers from the book. Because of that, I humbly suggest that if you have any interest in True Crime, in Addiction, or in the real operations of Canada’s undercover officers that you pick up a copy of this fascinating memoir. This should be required reading for all up and coming law enforcement personnel and for anyone working with people who have addictions.

I feel that this book is so important and so fascinating, I have no choice but to rate it as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Norm Boucher left Montreal at the age of nineteen to begin a long and rewarding career as an RCMP officer mostly dedicated to drugs and organized crime. An active member of the RCMP undercover program for over ten years, his assignments included drug trafficking, money laundering, and homicide. He eventually represented the RCMP as a member of the Canadian delegation to several Regular Sessions of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Commission of the Organization of American States, held in Washington D.C. and Mexico City, where he helped develop a community policing program aimed at drug harm reduction. His varied career included postings on the national anti-terrorist Special Emergency Response Team, as Marine drug enforcement coordinator on Canada’s West Coast, and as liaison officer in Madrid, Spain, and Santo-Domingo, Dominican Republic.

In 1983, Staff-Sergeant Boucher spent eight months infiltrating the heart of Vancouver’s heroin scene. This experience became the subject of his memoir Horseplay: My Time Undercover on the Granville Strip, which he wrote over a period of several years, while continuing to fulfill his RCMP responsibilities in Canada and abroad. In 2012, Norm Boucher retired from the RCMP as a Staff-Sergeant, dedicating his time to writing and his work as a consultant.

Norm Boucher studied literature at the University of Waterloo. He is the recipient of the Governor General’s Medal of Bravery, the Carnegie Medal, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

He is the proud father of four children and now lives in Manotick, Ontario with his wife Sally and their dog Cooper.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
www.horseplaythebook.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM – AUTHOR

INSTAGRAM – PUBLISHER

TWITTER

LINKEDIN

iBOOKS 

AMAZON 

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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THE APOLLO PROGRAM: The Story of Every Mission AUDIOBOOK by SEEKER is Available NOW and is a Fascinating Story

Title: THE APOLLO PROGRAM

Subtitle: THE STORY OF EVERY MISSION

Author: SEEKER

Narrators: MAREN HUNSBERGER and MATT MORALES

Genre: NON-FICTION, HISTORY, SPACE PROGRAM

Length: 1 HOUR AND 15 MINUTES

Publisher: ORANGESKY AUDIO

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 16, 2021

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

In a race against time, the Apollo Program challenged our scientific capabilities and redefined the boundaries of humanity.

To celebrate NASA’s 60 years of exploration, Seeker went back in time to relive each Apollo mission.

Listen along as Seeker dives into the whole story from its WWII origins to its present day possibilities available for the first time in audio.

*****

MY REVIEW:

Fascinating. Full of interesting facts I had never heard of before. For example; I had no idea that when Apollo 12 was launched, it was hit by lightening – not once, but twice.

This Audiobook is a fantastic and informative listening experience.

At only one hour and fifteen minutes in length, this short-form audiobook is the perfect accompaniment to your daily commute.

I believe that listeners will be very interested in the details of the Apollo program. I consider myself to have a decent amount of knowledge about the United States Space Program, but I realized after listening to this audiobook that there were large gaps in my awareness of this topic. I only knew about the most publicized of the Apollo missions and had not heard anything about many of them before.

You do not need to have any background knowledge on the subject to listen to this Audiobook. And you do not need to be a scientist or engineer to understand this book. All information is presented in such a way that anyone listening can understand it.

I rate this audiobook as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will definitely be listening to more audiobooks by Seeker and by OrangeSky Audio.

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

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

OrangeSky Audio is new audio publishing imprint and will allow even more great content to reach listeners wherever they choose to purchase their audiobooks. We publish audiobooks across all your favorite genres including romance, thriller, children’s, nonfiction, and more!

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

FACEBOOK

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CANNABIS DRINKS – Secrets to Crafting CBD and THC Beverages at Home by Cannabis Conneseur JAMIE EVANS is a must for everyone interested in cannabis recipes

Title: CANNABIS DRINKS

Subtitle: SECRETS TO CRAFTING CBD AND THC BEVERAGES AT HOME

Author: JAMIE EVANS

Genre: NON-FICTION, COOKING, BEVERAGES, CANNABIS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS

Length: 176 PAGES

Size: 5.71 in x 7.68 in / 145.03 mm x 195.07 mm

Publisher: FAIR WINDS PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 13, 2021

ISBN: 9781592339747 (Hardcover)

Price: $19.95 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Welcome to the future of beverages!

Infusing cannabis into drinks can be done in a variety of ways. Learn all about it as you craft delicious cocktails, smoothies, lattes, and spirit-free mixed drinks.

Maybe you’re curious about CBD or perhaps you’ve tried a store-bought sparkling cannabis drink already. Either way, you’re here because you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of making deliciously infused drinkables.

This guide, written by Jamie Evans (author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD), will serve as the go-to resource for anyone interested in incorporating phytocannabinoids into a variety of recipes.

Inside, you’ll start your journey with infused mixology. You’ll learn the most essential how-tos and infusion methods, including decarboxylation and heating techniques for those who want to do it all.

Different from other books in this category, this book offers something to both beginners and experts—and crucially, to both those who only want to use CBD and those who want to infuse with THC—presenting many approaches to enhancing drinks.

From adding CBD oils and tinctures to a variety of recipes to crafting more complex cannabis libations behind the bar, you can choose the path that’s right for you.

With an exploration of cannabis terpenes, this book also provides the author’s signature techniques for evaluating cannabis aroma and flavor profiles to curate flavor pairings. As a Wine Enthusiast, 40 Under 40 Tastemaker and Certified Specialist of Wine, Jamie applies the same sensory evaluation techniques she used in the wine world to cannabis, helping readers fine-tune their senses to better understand it as an ingredient—and use it to craft the perfect infused drinks.

Including recipes and tips from leading industry experts, this book has it all.

MY REVIEW:

As a person who suffers from chronic pain due to Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroidism and Degenerative Disc Disease, I am always on the lookout for pain remedies.

The CBD found in the Cannabis plant has been proven again and again to help reduce pain levels, as well as to offer several other health benefits.

CBD and THC are the two most understood ingredients of cannabis. THC is the ingredient that gets the user “high.” CBD, however, DOES NOT result in the user feeling “high.”

I do not fault anyone who wants to use marijuana in any way. That is a personal decision and, here in Canada, cannabis is legal as long as you are of age.

My interest in CANNABIS DRINKS is in being able to make the recipes that are high in CBD to try to alleviate some of my pain. I have been to several Cannabis stores here in Ontario, Canada – both online and in-person, yet I have found it nearly impossible to find cannabis drinks with high CBD levels and little, or no THC, and the few drinks I did find were horrible tasting.

So, it should come as no surprise that when I discovered this book, I was extremely excited.

RECIPES INCLUDE:

Basic infusions: Infused bitters, shrubs, honey, sour mix, simple syrups, and an alcohol-based tincture

COFFEE AND TEA: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Butter Coffee, Turmeric Latte, Summer Berry Palmer, Ginger Lemon Hibiscus Iced Tea, Masala Chai Tea

JUICES, SHAKES, AND SMOOTHIES: Green Goddess Canna-leaf Juice, Garden of Eden Juice, Chocolate Banana Protein Shake, PB&J Shake, Superfood Smoothie, Vitamin CBD Smoothie

SPIRIT-FREE MIXED DRINKS: Raspberry Rickey, Sparkling Rosemary Greyhound, Fuzzy Ginger Fizz, Apple Spice CBD Mule, The Jolly Cranberry, Infused Feisty Mary

I can’t wait to try out this recipe. The photograph makes it look so delicious.

COCKTAILS: Blood Orange Aperol Spritz, Spicy Melon Margarita, CBD Limelight, Strawberry Lime Shrub Soda, Blackberry Bramble, Pisco Papaya Sour, Laid Back Manhattan, Toasty Toddy AND SEVERAL MORE.

I am extremely excited to try out several of these very yummy looking drinks.

I love that there are photographs of the drinks so that I know what they are supposed to end up looking like. The list of necessary items for each recipe is terrific and very helpful. The ingredients are clearly listed and the instructions are easy to follow.

I rate this Cannabis Cookbook as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to try either THC, CBD or both in the form of drinks.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm, a culinary-meets-cannabis blog and lifestyle brand that’s focused on the gourmet side of the cannabis industry. She is an author, entrepreneur, and writer specializing in cannabis, CBD, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world.

As a well-known CBD and cannabis personality, Jamie is best known for her literary work and signature canna-culinary events. She’s also a contributor to POPSUGAR, MARY Magazine, and The Clever Root magazine, specializing in lifestyle features for the modern consumer. Jamie is the co-editor of GoldLeaf’s acclaimed cannabis Cooking Journal and the author of the CBD lifestyle book, The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol (Fair Winds Press).

As an industry leader, Jamie was named as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2018 and as a 2018 Innovatorby SevenFifty Daily. She was also recognized as one of Green Market Report’s “Most Important Women in Weed” in 2020.

Alongside her work in the cannabis space, Jamie is a Certified Specialist of Wine with over a decade of wine industry experience. Having represented a wide array of organizations and wineries including Jackson Family Wines, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, and more, she is well known for producing high-end events and developing top-notch public relations, marketing, and hospitality programs. Jamie has been featured in dozens of different articles and TV segments including Food & Wine, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Cheddar TV, Wine Enthusiast, Robb Report, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, ABC, and High Times, among many others.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS/INDIGO

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

WIN, WIN, WIN. The 18 Inclusion-isms You Need to Become a Disability Confident Employer by TED Talker Tova Sherman is available NOW. This book will change your outlook and maybe even change your life…

Back Cover

Title: WIN, WIN, WIN!

Subtitle: The 18 Inclusion-isms You Need to Become a Disability Confident Employer

Author: TOVA SHERMAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, DISABILITY, BUSINESS PRACTICES, INCLUSION, DIVERSITY

Length: 58 PAGES

Publisher: REACHABILITY

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 26, 2021

ISBN: 9780981323145

Price: $15.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

TOVA SHERMAN—a TED Speaker and thought leader with more than 25 years of experience in diversity and inclusion—is the award-winning CEO of reachAbility, an organization which provides supportive and accessible programs dedicated to workplace inclusion for anyone facing barriers.

As the winner of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Canada Law Leadership Award, Tova is a highly sought-after resource on the laws and challenges of inclusion within today’s swiftly changing employment landscape.

Upon noticing a gap in the arts community, Tova co-founded the Bluenose Ability Arts and Film Festival (BAAFF) in 2015. BAAFF is a festival dedicated to providing the disability arts community a clear voice. Her personal challenges associated with living on the ADHD Spectrum inform her empathy and commitment to equalizing the playing field for those with physical, cognitive, sensory, and mental disabilities.

I LOVE the title of this page

MY REVIEW:

Perfection. This should be required reading not only for business people, but also for everyone serving in any elected position whether in government or in any other organization.

Because it is a mere 54 pages in length, there is little excuse not to read this book.

Disability is finally being discussed and addressed. Today’s society is slowly beginning to cast off its outdated and uninformed opinions around the topic of disAbility. This book is a perfect first step for businesses and organizations who want to become more inclusive, but don’t know how to go about creating that change.

Written in a clear and concise manner, this guide offers practical ways to immediately put inclusive practices to use in their business or organization.

Each of the eighteen “Inclusion-isms” have on the opposite page a theme specific work of art by a disabled artist. For example:

This is the book that the Disability community has been hoping for.

A 5 Star Rating is deserved – with a caveat – If you are looking to delve deeply into the subjects of inclusion and Disability, this is not that type of book. This is the perfect starter/primer and is intended to supply businesses with actions they can implement immediately.

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

*

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

TOVA SHERMAN

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

INSTAGRAM – REACHABILITY

LINKEDIN

FACEBOOK 

AMAZON   

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

THE BABYSITTER: My Summers With A Serial Killer by Liza Rodman and Jennifer Jordan – A True Crime Memoir Unlike Any Other

Title: THE BABYSITTER

Subtitle: MY SUMMERS WITH A SERIAL KILLER

Authors: LIZA RODMAN and JENNIFER JORDAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Length: 352 PAGES

Publisher: ATRIA BOOKS – A DIVISION OF SIMON AND SCHUSTER CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781982129491 (eBook)

Price: $17.99 CDN (eBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A chilling true story—part memoir, part crime investigation—reminiscent of Ann Rule’s classic The Stranger Beside Me, about a little girl longing for love and how she found friendship with her charismatic babysitter—who was also a vicious serial killer.

Growing up on Cape Cod in the 1960s, Liza Rodman was a lonely little girl. During the summers, while her mother worked days in a local motel and danced most nights in the Provincetown bars, her babysitter—the kind, handsome handyman at the motel where her mother worked—took her and her sister on adventures in his truck. He bought them popsicles and together, they visited his “secret garden” in the Truro woods. To Liza, he was one of the few kind and understanding adults in her life. Everyone thought he was just a “great guy.”

But there was one thing she didn’t know; their babysitter was a serial killer.

Some of his victims were buried—in pieces—right there, in his garden in the woods. Though Tony Costa’s gruesome case made screaming headlines in 1969 and beyond, Liza never made the connection between her friendly babysitter and the infamous killer of numerous women, including four in Massachusetts, until decades later.

Haunted by nightmares and horrified by what she learned, Liza became obsessed with the case. Now, she and cowriter Jennifer Jordan reveal the chilling and unforgettable true story of a charming but brutal psychopath through the eyes of a young girl who once called him her friend.

TONY COSTA – Picture Obtained from Wikipedia

MY REVIEW:

Chilling. Horrifying. Almost Unbelievable. Terrifying.

I cannot imagine how the author must have felt when she learned that the man who babysat her and her sister when they were young was actually a notorious serial killer. YIKES!!!

Now, as an adult, Liza is obsessed with learning all the details she was unaware of as a child. It is little wonder she was plagued by nightmares for years.

The point of view makes this true crime tale unlike any other and readers will be unable to put the book down.

Not only does this book delve into the crimes and Liza’s tie to them – including a trip to what turned out later to be his personal secret graveyard, it also explores how a child neglected by her family needed someone to pay attention to her. It also highlights just how different life was in the 1960s and how innocent people were back then.

A five out of five star rating is well deserved. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Releasing on March 2nd, 2021 THE BABYSITTER can be pre-ordered now.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photograph by Joel Benjamin

ARTICLE ABOUT SERIAL KILLER TONY COSTA – Written by Kurt Vonnegut

Creative Crochet Projects – 12 Playful Projects for Beginners and Beyond by World Famous Crochet Queen Stephanie Pokorny is a feast for the eyes

Title: CREATIVE CROCHET PROJECTS

Subtitle: 12 PLAYFUL PROJECTS FOR BEGINNERS AND BEYOND

Author: STEPHANIE POKORNY 

Genre: NON-FICTION, CROCHETING, CRAFTS AND HOBBIES

Length: 96 PAGES

Size: 8.5″ X 10.8″

Publisher: LANDAUER PUBLISHINGA DIVISION OF FOX CHAPEL PUBLISHING 

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2021

ISBN: 9781947163638

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

You’ve never seen a crochet book like this before!

Whether you want to learn how to crochet or you’re looking for new projects to try, Creative Play with Crochet is for you! Featuring 12 projects that start easy and introduce a new technique one design at a time, this exciting guide contains crochet patterns you won’t find anywhere else!

Filled with personality and color, follow step-by-step instructions and skill-building tutorials to create a collection of charming crochet projects, from a beehive mobile and a kitchen play mat to toys, beanies, scarves, and more!

Crochet with creativity!

– 12 fun crochet projects with a charming, offbeat sense of style
– Create kids’ toys, beanies, buntings, scarves, a beehive mobile, and more
– Step-by-step instructions, coordinating photography, and skill-building tutorials
– Beginner-friendly introduction to common stitches and crochet basics.

Author Stephanie Pokorny has a one-of-a-kind style that has both wide appeal and originality.

MY REVIEW:

Ever wished you could learn to crochet? Or, are you already an accomplished crocheter? Either way, this is a must-have book.

With 96 pages, of the highest quality photography with detailed instructions for each project, this is a craft book of the highest quality.

To ensure CREATIVE CROCHET PROJECTS will appeal to crocheters of every skill level, author Stephanie Pokorny has included instructions with full colour photographs for each crochet stitch.

It is obvious to me that a exceptional amount of thought went into the creation of this book.

The author even includes information as to how to read other crochet patterns and what each abbreviation that crocheters might run across stands for.

I have seen (and own) dozens of crochet pattern books, but have never seen one (until now) that appeals equally to crafters of all ages and degrees of proficiency.

From a kitchen placemat that looks like a stovetop to a fully stacked hamburger for kid’s play kitchens, each project is unique and beautiful.

The projects include:

Finger Crochet Scarves

– It’s a Chinch One-Hour Cowl


– Squiggles McGee Hat


– Bubble Hue Shift Hat


– Asymmetric Owl Wrap


– Happy Heart Bunting


– Foldable Burger


– Foldable Hot Dog


– Sliceable Watermelon


– Bee-Unified Mobile and a


– Roll-Away Kitchen Placemat

I rate CREATIVE CROCHET PROJECTS – 12 PLAYFUL PROJECTS FOR BEGINNERS AND BEYOND as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephanie Pokorny is the designer and owner of Crochetverse.com that offers a one-of-a-kind original style to the crochet world.

Her elaborate children’s crochet costumes were even acknowledged in the 2019 edition of Ripley’s Believe it Or Not.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE  

GOODREADS 

ETSY

FACEBOOK – AUTHOR

FACEBOOK – PUBLISHER

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER – AUTHOR

TWITTER – PUBLISHER

RAVELRY

AMAZON  

YOUTUBE

CHAPTERS

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“Stephanie Pokorny is one of the most creative crochet designers working today and her clever ideas shine through in this book. Every design is innovative, joyous, and most of all, FUN!”
Heather Mann

Download the Free Pattern “Walt The Worry Bear”