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 Today’s society is slowly beginning to cast off its outdated and uninformed opinions around the topic of disAbility.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. ***

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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

SMITHY by Indie Author AMANDA DESIREE is a triumph. This exceptional book is one of the best “horror” titles I have read in years and is truly unique – DESTINED TO BE THE SLEEPER HIT OF 2021

Title: SMITHY

Author: AMANDA DESIREE 

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, MYSTERY, THRILLER

Length: 500 PAGES

Publisher: INKSHARES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 13, 2021

ISBN: 9781950301218 (Paperback)

Price: $18.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Photo By: Erik Müller

DESCRIPTION:

In 1972, renowned researcher Dr. Piers Preis-Herald brought together a group of collegiate researchers to study the inner lives of man’s closest relative—primates. His team would undertake their study by raising a young chimpanzee and teaching him American Sign Language.

The primate selected was born chimpanzee #710642 at the Kohlberg Center for Primate Research. He would eventually be known to the world as Smithy.

Photo By: Francesco Ungaro

Nearly fifty years after the Smithy Project ended in tragedy at Trevor Hall, the question remains: Was Smithy a hoax? A clever mimic? A Rorschach projection of humanity’s greatest hopes and fears? Or was he indeed what devotees of metaphysics have claimed for so long: a link between our world and the next?

Written in epistolary format, this novel powerfully evokes time and place, recalling not only the controversial psychology of the early ‘70s, carried out in projects like the CIA’s MKUltra and the Stanford Prison Experiment, but also the budding of the horror genre itself. Steeped in a decade that gave us Amityville and The Exorcist, Smithy blends the mundane and the supernatural to earn its place beside such classics.

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MY REVIEW:

One of the most unique and we’ll executed horror novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Set in the early to mid 1970s, the story follows a study in which a chimpanzee is taught sign language. The chimp is nicknamed “Smithy” based on the fact that he is a wordsmith.

The setting is an aging mansion in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Gatehouse

The author tells the story through excerpts of letters, diary entries and descriptions of research video clips. This format was the perfect choice for this tale and readers will be pulled into the story.

Photo By: @felipepelaquim

At 500 pages, this is a lengthy book, but the action is so consistent and the story so engrossing that readers will feel it is all too short and will yearn for more.

This is an Indie Author who has an extremely bright future ahead of her. I will be adding her to my list of favorite authors.

Although this book is considered “horror” I feel that it is important to let potential readers know that it is NOT a blood and gore slasher book, nor is it anything like other horror titles. In my opinion, “SMITHY” could just as easily fit into the Mystery, or Thriller genres. If you are not usually a fan of horror, you should give this book a chance. It would be a terrible shame to overlook this incredibly fascinating story just based on its supposed genre.

I believe this book is going to be the sleeper hit of 2021.

SMITHY would make an incredible movie and would likely be a Blockbuster Hit.

I rate SMITHY as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be spreading the word about this book as far and wide as possible because I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and was loathe to stop reading it, even to go to sleep.

In short, READ THIS BOOK. You will not be disappointed.

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

Another one of the magnificent mansions in Newport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amanda has had a lifelong fascination for real ghost stories and once aspired to be a parapsychologist but settled for being a psychology major in college.

She currently lives in the Los Angeles area.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

GOOGLE BOOKS 

BOOKSHOP.ORG 

FANTASTIC FICTION

AMAZON   

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Recently called “the future of publishing” by The Wall Street Journal, Inkshares is a book publisher that uses reader engagement instead of agents and acquisitions editors to decide what to publish.

Their community of readers can read sample chapters, share, and pre-order a book project on Inkshares.com to help determine what gets published, Inkshares brings the book to life by providing editorial services, design, production, national distribution, and marketing.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK  

TUMBLR

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

Newport, Rhode Island

THE ART OF DYING – A multiple award winning Horror novel that will have you sleeping with the lights on for a very long time ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Five Stars out of Five

Title: THE ART OF DYING

Series: A RAY HANLEY CRIME THRILLER BOOK 1

Author: DERIK CAVIGNANO

Genre: FICTION, THRILLERS & MYSTERIES, HORROR

Length:  322 PAGES

Publisher: DARK CORNERS PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 20, 2019

ISBN: 9781733873307 (Paperback)

Price: $12.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A CRIME THRILLER REMINISCENT OF THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS AND THE DEPARTED.

When the bizarre death of a mob foot soldier sparks an escalating war between Boston’s Irish and Italian mafia, Detective Ray Hanley’s relentless search for the truth uncovers evidence of a serial killer obsessed with the art of human suffering.

As the body count rises, Detective Hanley must navigate a minefield of crime families, dirty politicians, and crooked cops, while matching wits with a deranged serial killer.

But temptation, betrayal, and death threaten to derail the investigation… and justice doesn’t come without a price.

MY REVIEW:

The Granite Rail Quarries hadn’t been used to mine granite since the ’60s. Since then, the sheer cliffs and onyx waters made it a favorite dumping ground for stolen cars, shipping carts and, of course, the occasional body.”

THE ART OF DYING begs to be made into a movie. When and if a movie is made based on this book, it will be an instant Blockbuster. With the visual aspect of the killer’s crimes, and the book’s exceptional detail, it almost seems as if this book was written with a future movie script in mind.

I tried to think of books or other authors that I might be able to compare to THE ART OF DYING and the book that instantly came to mind was “Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris. That bestselling book has a creepiness factor that is often missing in contemporary horror novels. That “creepiness factor” is amped way up in THE ART OF DYING which makes it an unforgettable reading experience.

In fact, in trying to think of  additional comparisons, I was transported back to the first time I read “CARRIE” by Stephen King. The unexpected element of “Carrie” was probably the most haunting. In this, “The Art of Dying” actually surpasses “Carrie.”

THE ART OF DYING is not just a scary book. It is much more than that. Horror is definitely the appropriate genre for this book. However, I do not want to mislead potential readers. This is NOT a Gore-Fest. (Although there are some extremely grisly details where the story demands them.) It is a meticulously plotted thriller and mystery and is a study in the intricacies of the depravity that can exist within the human mind.

The plot is fast-paced and will keep your heart racing throughout. The characters are dynamic and terrifying in equal measure and readers will be happy to know that they have not seen the last of Detective Ray Hanley.

This is a book that readers will remember for a very long time. However, if you are at all squeamish, you should probably pass on reading this book.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for an exclusive look at one of the scenes of the book.

Once I started reading “The Art of Dying” I was unable to put it down. It hooked me instantaneously and, even more importantly, it held my fascination right to the final page.

I recently discovered that Author Derik Cavignano is hard at work on the next book starring Detective Ray Hanley and I am hoping to snag an early copy.

I rate this book 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:

Derik Cavignano is an award-winning author who writes character-driven stories in a variety of genres, including horror, sci-fi, and crime.

His novel, Colony of the Lost, was a 2016 Silver Falchion Award Finalist for best horror, and The Art of Dying: A Ray Hanley Crime Thriller was the 2019 American Fiction Awards Winner in the Horror: General category.

A native of Boston, Derik currently lives in Florida with his wife, two children, and an angry cat who won’t stop biting him.

The Art of Dying was released on September 20, 2019.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK – THE AUTHOR

FACEBOOK – JKS COMMUNICATIONS  

TWITTER    

AMAZON

‘TIL NIAGARA FALLS is based on the true story of Annie Edson Taylor who planned to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Did she do it? And if so, did she survive?

Title: ‘TIL NIAGARA FALLS

BASED ON THE TRUE STORY OF:                            ANNIE EDSON TAYLOR 

Author: KATERIE MORIN

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, BASED ON A TRUE STORY

Length: 287 PAGES

Publisher: Po84 PRODUCTIONS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: 2018

ISBN: 978-1-948133-00-5 (EBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Photo from the Francis J. Petrie Collection – Located at the Niagara Falls Library

DESCRIPTION:

1901. When a train robbery destroy’s Annie’s plans for a quiet life, she reinvents herself as a redheaded daredevil and heads to Niagara Falls, determined to be the first person to survive going over it in a barrel – or to die trying.

But when Annie arrives in Niagara, she unwittingly walks into a turf war between two crime bosses vying to control the illegal gambling, extortion and prostitution that hum below Niagara’s honeymoon veneer.

As Annie comes to realize that water is not the only danger in Niagara, her relationship with a riverman threatens her plans to fall.

Based on the true story of Annie Edson Taylor

MY REVIEW:

Annie Edson Taylor. Does this name mean anything to you? Have you ever heard of her?

I hadn’t. But after reading ‘TIL NIAGARA FALLS, I can guarantee that I will never remember her from this day forward. 

I live in Ontario, Canada and have visited the city of Niagara Falls more than fifty times over the years. Yet, somehow the fascinating tale of retired schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor had never reached my ears. It makes me wonder if Annie had been a man, would I have heard the story? Sadly, I believe the answer to that question is a yes.

Although this is a fictionalized version of her story, the key facts are historically accurate.

Annie was unique. She was not the “typical” woman of her era. Firstly, she was educated in many subjects including mathematics and the sciences which were often seen as the realm of men. She was a retired schoolteacher with a keen mind and she exceptionally good at physics and engineering.

Annie was as unlike the daredevils who preceded her in attempting to survive going over the Falls in a barrel, as night is to day. She applied everything she had learned into figuring out a way she could (hopefully) survive the “Fall.”

The author has included many wonderfully colorful characters into the story, many of whom were based on real people.

This story has everything readers could possibly hope for in a work of historical fiction right down to historically accurate descriptions of outfits of the era and the attitudes as to what was “proper” at the time.

If you have ever been to Niagara Falls, or have even just seen the Falls in photographs, I highly doubt any one of us would ever consider going over that massive waterfall, even with the best safety gear available. To think of the complete lack of availability of safety equipment in 1901, it is little wonder that many people perished in that swirling maelstrom of water. Annie was one very brave and very determined woman and I salute her.

Cave of the Winds
To get super close to the Falls—and to feel their power—a must-do attraction is Cave of the Winds. You walk down wooden stairs to stand directly in front of Bridal Veil Falls. Then you walk up to the Hurricane Deck, where you are literally standing underneath the thundering waterfall. It’s a great way to get a sense of the power and amount of water that drops every second. It’s interesting to note that the decks are removed and rebuilt every year to prevent ice damage in the winter. When rebuilding the decks, the workers can work only 20 minutes at a time because the water is so frigid.

You should pick up a copy of this book at your first opportunity. It is a heart-pumping, thrill ride of a read and you will find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat thanks to the non-stop action. 

I have no choice but to rate ‘TIL NIAGARA FALLS as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ It deserves nothing less.

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

*** DOWNLOAD A FREE PDF PREVIEW OF THIS BOOK ***

Annie Edson Taylor, who was about 62 when she became the first, and oldest, person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katerie Morin is an award-winning playwright whose work has been produced in the U.S., broadcast in New Zealand, and published in China. With musician Pan Morrigan, she created the radio play Castles of Gold, which was later released as a spoken word album on Green Linnet Records, featuring performances by Frank McCourt and Roma Downey. 

Katerie received her M.F.A in Playwriting from the University of Washington and her B.A. from Smith College. She lives outside of Boston with her family.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

TWITTER

AMAZON

AUDIBLE

ITUNES

CHAPTERS

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Rare portrait of Annie Taylor
Description from a cracked stereocopticon slide

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Test barrel

Title Annie Taylor’s barrel being taken out for an experimental trip over the falls
Creator Zahner, M. H.
http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=93169&b=1

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Photo showing anvil

Annie Taylor’s barrel with an anvil attached to the bottom so she would float through the Rapids
Medium Photograph
Extent 5″ x 5.75″ black & white photograph
Description photograph has diagonal lines running through it
Notes The intention of the anvil was to ensure that Annie would go over the Falls head up
Date October 4, 1901.
Collection General Photograph Collection
http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=90555&b=1

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The barrel and its living freight being towed to the starting-point / Annie Taylor
Creator Zahner, M. H.
Medium Scan from book
Description Scan from book
Notes Scanned from Over Niagara in a Barrel by Orrin E. Dunlap. Published by World Wide Magazine, 1902
Provenance Local History Collection
Date 1901.

http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=93172&b=1

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Mrs. Annie Edson Taylor ready to start above the Falls
Medium Photograph
Extent 3.75″ x 3″ black & white ‘ a copy from a stereo image by M. H. Zahner Publisher in the Library of Congress Washington D.C.
Description negative A41475 436
Provenance Library of Congress Washington D.C.
Collection Niagara Falls Heritage Foundation Collection
Old Call Number NFHAP v.6 p.53
Rights Library of Congress Washington D.C.
http://www.nflibrary.ca/nfplindex/show.asp?id=89292&b=1

RAYMOND THE BUFFALO – A Fabulous Children’s Book by Lou Beauchesne and Illustrated by Kate Chappell is as unexpected as it is wonderful. 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: RAYMOND THE BUFFALO

Author: LOU BEAUCHESNE 

Illustrator: KATE CHAPPELL

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, CANADIAN AUTHOR

Themes: FRIENDSHIP, LOSS, COME TO LIFE, TRANSITIONAL PICTURE BOOK, EARLY CHAPTER BOOK

Length: 48 PAGES

Publisher: ORCA BOOK PUBLISHERS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 11, 2021

ISBN: 9781459826175

Price: $19.95 CDN / $19.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Raymond is a brave, strong and hairy buffalo. Gilbert is a quiet, growing and not-at-all hairy boy. Raymond is the hero of Gilbert’s favorite book, and Gilbert brings his favorite book everywhere. When an unfortunate incident separates the two, Raymond finds himself in a very unusual situation—outside of his book and loose in the local library! There’s nothing for Raymond to do but wait for Gilbert to come find him. But as the days turn into months and months into years, Raymond has to be brave and make a new home in the library shelves and a new friend in the librarian, Nicole.

This adorably illustrated picture book celebrates the love we have for books and the strength of friendship.

MY REVIEW:

RAYMOND THE BUFFALO is a terrific tale, written as an early chapter book.

The story is about a boy named Gilbert who, for years has taken his favorite book with him wherever he goes. That book is called RAYMOND THE BUFFALO and it is from Raymond’s point of view the story is told.

One day, Gilbert discovers (like every young boy I have ever known) the wonderful world of dinosaurs. Gilbert’s mother takes him to the library where he borrows several dinosaur books.

When Gilbert’s mother grabs all of the library books to return them, she inadvertently drops off Raymond’s book as well.

Raymond somehow finds himself outside his book and he meets the friendly librarian and discovers the wonders that exist in a library.

Author LOU BEAUCHESNE has crafted a wonderful story of love, friendship, and loyalty as well as pointing out the wonderous world of the local library.

Raymond may be a buffalo, but he is also a terrific help to the librarian, staying inside his book when the library is open and re-shelving books at night. 

The Publisher of RAYMOND THE BUFFALO is my favorite children’s book publishing company; ORCA BOOKS. Even their logo (a killer whale) is gorgeous and I love that they are based in Canada.

I rate RAYMOND THE BUFFALO as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I recommend it to readers ages six to ten.

Although this book is not being released until May 11, 2021 it is available for pre-order now and would make a fabulous gift for teachers, librarians, and booklovers, in addition to every child aged six and up.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lou Beauchesne is an author and illustrator of over twenty books for young readers, including La princess cowboy and La guerre des suces.

She began writing and illustrating small books that she sold to her neighbors and has been doing this ever since.

Lou writes and draws from her home in Quebec.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Kate Chappell is a freelance illustrator living and working from her home in Lincolnshire, UK.

She graduated from Falmouth University with a degree in illustration in 2013 and uses a mix of traditional textures and digital techniques to create fun, dynamic characters and illustrations.

Kate has created art for Google, Stella Artois, Nespresso, Dove and many others and tries to include elements of humor in her work whenever possible.

To learn more about this Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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Coming February 2nd – THE FOUR WINDS by Bestselling Author KRISTIN HANNAH – Her Best Book Yet plus a sneak peek at the the new Netflix series based on one of her books

Title: THE FOUR WINDS   

Author: KRISTIN HANNAH

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 464 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEB. 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781250178602

Price: $28.99 USD 37.00 CDN

Rating: 10 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

One of “27 of 2021’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away” Oprah Magazine

One of “The 57 Most Anticipated Books Of 2021” – Elle

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“Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind.” — Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library/National Records and Archives Administration
The dust storms filled the air, making it hard to breathe, and destroyed what few crops existed. These dust storms turned the area into a “Dust Bowl.” Picture from the FDR Library, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

MY REVIEW:

Kristin Hannah’s books have all been fantastic and they regularly top Best Seller lists around the world. Her new book THE FOUR WINDS is her best book yet. It is being released in only a few days (on Feb. 3rd) and if it is pre-ordered on Chapters, you get it for 30% off. (I do not get a commission, I just wanted to share the savings I discovered.)

Set during the Great Depression, this book will transport you to that time and to the Dust Bowl of the farmlands hit by the multi-year drought.

The protagonist, Elsa is a woman who just wants to survive and to perhaps have a small slice of happiness along the way. Despite not believing there is anything special about her, readers will not be able to stop from investing
themselves in her life and hoping that something good will happen for her.

This may be a fictional tale, but Elsa and many real women like her did experience the very same events during the Great Depression. She represents all those bold and courageous women who did anything and everything they could to ensure the survival of their children.

There was a great deal of research done to ensure the events and occurences Elsa and her family go through are based in historical fact.

Kristin Hannah is an artist, her medium is not paint, but words. She has the ability to manipulate her reader’s emotions and to build a relationship between characters and readers. It is exceptionally rare that a book will make me cry, yet THE FOUR WINDS does exactly that.

If you are only going to read one book this year, I cannot stress enough that you must read this book.

At 464 pages, you might assume that there would be times where the narrative became dull, but this is just not so. Every page holds the reader rapt with attention. THE FOUR WINDS is UN-PUT-DOWNABLE.

The normal book review rating scale is based on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the very best. Well, a 1 to 5 scale is just not sufficient for Kristin Hannah’s new book. I am choosing to rate “The Four Winds” as 10 out of 5 Stars which I have never done before. That is how highly I recommend this book. People will be talking about this book for a very long time.

There are lessons to be learned from this book. Lessons that can easily be related to the current pandemic facing North Americans today.

In closing, I say: BUY THIS BOOK.

TO attend Kristin Hannah’s Virtual Book Launch Tour by clicking HERE to find dates, locations and times.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: Kevin Lynch

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, Winter Garden, Night Road, and Firefly Lane.

Her novel, The Nightingale, has been published in 43 languages and is currently in movie production at TriStar Pictures, which also optioned her novel, The Great Alone. Her novel, Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to direct.

Kristin is a former-lawyer-turned writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone novel that brought women together, and The Nightingale, in 2015 was voted a best book of the year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, The Wall Street Journal and The Week.  Additionally, the novel won the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards. The audiobook of The Nightingale won the Audiobook of the Year Award in the fiction category.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://kristinhannah.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

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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”

“Where Is My Happy Ending?” is a newly released follow up to Karen Harmon’s first book. This is a 5 Star read and the perfect, uplifting book to read in these uncertain times.

Title: WHERE IS MY HAPPY ENDING?  

Subtitle: A JOURNEY OF NO REGRETS 

Author: KAREN HARMON

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, HISTORY, CANADIANA

Length: 365 PAGES

Publisher: TELLWELL PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: JULY 2020

ISBN: 978-0-2288-2948-5 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0-2288-2949-2 (Softcover)
ISBN: 978-0–2288-2947-8 (EBook)

Price: $23.00 CDN (Hardcover)
Price: $18.00 CDN (Softcover)
Price: $8.99 CDN (EBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

On her mother’s urging to go on and have a big, beautiful, and adventurous life, Karen leaves her home in the country at the tender age of seventeen. Abandoning her family, her horse, and her teenage dreams, she embraces life in the big city of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Looking for love in all the wrong places while maneuvering through dead-end jobs, the night club scene, and a slew of unsavory characters, Karen finds herself perpetually searching for Mr. Right. Lacking direction in a lifestyle that involves drugs, alcohol, and the wrong men, Karen wonders when her knight in shining armour will arrive.

Where Is My Happy Ending? is a true story about a girl who enters adulthood after having been raised in a home plagued by mental illness.

Left to her own devices, Karen stumbles through the highs and lows, tragedies and turmoils of the 1970s disco scene, ’80s era of modern love, and into the 1990s, not sure how she got there or how to get out.

Karen’s wit, storytelling abilities, and simplicity in looking at life will keep you engaged from start to finish, with an evident reminder—it’s not what the world can bring to you, it’s what you can bring to the world.

MY REVIEW:

According to the author, this book was inspired by the Me Too Movement. She says that: “It dawned on me that every woman I know has had some situations, some unsavory characters in their life, and it felt right to share mine.”

Karen left home at the age of seventeen. She moved from a rural property where she had her own horse and moved to Vancouver – the big city. It was the era of disco and Karen embraced the freedom that came with life in the 1970s.

She had her share of crappy jobs and crappier boyfriends and shares her experiences with her readers.

In addition to telling of her own exploits, she seamlessly integrates the trends of the era and her detailed descriptions of the music of the day and the backdrop of historically significant events allows the reader to connect deeply with the story.

There were several times when I actually laughed out loud and ended up reading certain sections to my husband to explain my outbursts. He ended up laughing along with me.

This may be a personal memoir, but Karen is all of us, women (at least those who were born in the 60s and 70s.)

Karen was correct when she mentioned that every woman experiences scary, or at the very least, unsettling situations. I know that I have a few stories that would terrify those who love me if they knew about them.

The author’s ability to paint a picture with words is such that many other authors should be jealous of. For example, when visiting friends of her boyfriend in the resort town of Canmore, Alberta, she describes the scene with vivid clarity. I was easily able to picture the setting in my mind.

Kevin and Patsy were the caretakers for a resort that consisted of ten small cabins, keeping within the Rocky Mountain Alpine theme. The cottages looked like images in a children’s storybook; gingerbread houses that were missing the decorations of gumdrops, candy canes and Smarties. Dark brown miniature log homes, with scalloped white trim and matching window boxes, now void of flowers, were piled with snow to the bottom of the window ledges. These cozy rental dwellings all had chimneys puffing out smoke from the stone fireplaces within.”

Can you see this idyllic setting in your mind’s eye? I know I can.

In the end, although there are some not so wonderful things that Karen experiences, the overall feeling and theme of this book is HOPE.

The author’s message to readers is to “Never give up and never stop believing in yourself.” All of us could use this advice from time to time.

This true story is very much worth reading and I will be patiently awaiting the next book in her series of memoirs. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long.

I rate WHERE IS MY HAPPY ENDING? as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and because author Karen Harmon is Canadian, I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 Canadian Flags

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen Harmon is an author born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, where she resides today.

Educated and employed as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant for the School District of West Vancouver, Karen can also be found teaching a variety of exercise classes as a BCRPA fitness instructor in both North and West Vancouver. Karen takes health, family and fitness seriously but can find humour in almost any situation.

As a mother of three adult children Jessica, Emma and Mackenzie, Karen shares her co-parenting with her husband Paul of twenty-three years.

Karen is passionate about reaching out to the marginalized people in
her community through health and fitness. Her main hobby has been cycling with her “bike trip friends” yearly since 1993 all over British Columbia and parts of the United States.

On social media, Karen has over 8,000 followers and has travelled to Belgium, Germany, Holland, Paris, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia to host events and speak to her many supporters.

She offers an
inspirational message of hope and how to find a successful balance
with family, friends, education, work and play.

Karen is currently accepting invitations for speaking engagements and writing festivals.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

LINKEDIN

CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS

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

https://www.doogood.online/karen-harmon?fbclid=IwAR15x8L7oBCJ86-ZQFZfGXjaQc2JvB6Nh7514MVxs-z3begUgunlDHH-kXo

LOOKING FOR NORMAL by Award Winning Canadian Author KAREN HARMON is available NOW. This memoir will touch your heart and will stay with you long after the final page

Title: LOOKING FOR NORMAL  

Author: KAREN HARMON  

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, HISTORY, CANADIANA

Length: 268 PAGES

Publisher: TELLWELL PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: 2018

ISBN: 978-0228802532 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0228802525 (Softcover)

Price: $23.00 CDN (Hardcover)
Price: $18.00 CDN (Softcover)

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

DESCRIPTION:

It’s been said that we cannot choose our family members, but what do you do when the drama they bring becomes more than you want to deal with?

You hop on the train that will take you to the land of promise, an alluring place across the mountains, called British Columbia.

LOOKING FOR NORMAL is the account of two people, each struggling to leave the desperate and dysfunctional circumstances of their  lives, to establish themselves in a completely different environment and a new location.

This is a sometimes humorous, sometimes sobering, yet always intriguing true story of family drama, and love found in the midst of heartache, addiction, and mental illness.

It takes readers through the Depression Era of the 1930s, on through the War and Post-War years of the 1940s and ’50s, to the Free Love of the 1960s and ’70s.

Against all odds, Vincent and Frances find each other in the land of promise, and begin the adventure of creating a new, better family experience:  one filled with laughter, hope, and undying love.

They discover that family is not far behind, and through each new episode of dysfunction, they create a lasting legacy of strength, hope, and love within their own children.

This is a heartwarming true story that encourages readers to look on the lighter side of life, to enjoy all that life brings, and to treasure family regardless of what struggles may come.

MY REVIEW:

I have had the benefit of “talking” to the author and she informed me that the original idea behind this book was to create a book that detailed her parent’s lives so her children would be able to feel like they knew them. It is a wonderful idea and I love that Karen decided two things:

1. To not sugarcoat her telling of the lives of her parents,
and
2. To share their story with the world.

Too often when telling others about our parents, or even those who came before them, we edit out the warts of their lives. It is human nature to want people to like us, and somehow that seems to extend to our ancestors as well. No one wants to admit that the blood that flows through our veins or that the DNA in our makeup has any taint to it at all. But, humans are never completely good, or completely bad. And, just because our ancestor did something or had an illness, does not mean that we have the same illness or even the same tendencies.

In LOOKING FOR NORMAL, we learn that Karen’s Grandparents and parents were not perfect (whose were?) We also learn that her parents were determined to create better lives for themselves and to break the family cycle of unhappiness.

The story begins with the following:

“Frances hated her mother. She was taught by the nuns that it was not “Biblical” to hate. So, she decided to leave her mother and the Catholic Church in one fell swoop. Both forces in her life had deceived and criticized her. In Frances’s eyes, both were hypocritical.”

Now, if reading that short paragraph does not entice you to want to read more, well then, you must not have an inquisitive bone in your body. For me, that very first paragraph had we wanting to know more.

Why does Frances hate her mother? What would make someone go to the extreme of saying they hated their mother? What terrible thing or things had she done to Frances? And, why did she hate the church? What had they done to be hypocritical? What did they criticize her about?

So, on I read and what I discovered was a compelling tale which began with Frances (the author’s mother) at the train station in 1941 waiting to catch a train to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“Frances took one last look at her family. Standing on the platform with them, she felt adventurous and defiant, with no fear of the unknown as she bravely embarked on this journey towards her future… She was physically and mentally abandoning this town, her family, and all the narrow-minded, crazy people in it.”

The courage to pick up and move to a city she had never seen, and to do it as a woman alone, was almost unheard of in 1941. That she did this at a time in history when women were viewed as property of their fathers or husbands, says multitudes about her character and fierce determination.

I do not want to give away too much of the story, so suffice it to say that every reader who picks up this book will be rooting for Frances to find love and understanding.

In addition to being a fascinating story, LOOKING FOR NORMAL also transports readers into the past. This book allows us to glimpse what life was like for ordinary people during the last few generations. It is a true gift to read a true story such as this which is set not in the United States, but right here in Canada.

I enjoyed this book immensely and was thrilled to have the next book in the “series” already on hand so that I could continue to follow the history of the author.

I rate LOOKING FOR NORMAL as 5 out of 5 Enthusiastic Stars.

I will be posting my review of the second book – WHERE IS MY HAPPY ENDING? in the next day or two.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen Harmon is an author born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, where she resides today.

Educated and employed as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant for the School District of West Vancouver, Karen can also be found teaching a variety of exercise classes as a BCRPA fitness instructor in both North and West Vancouver. Karen takes health, family and fitness seriously but can find humour in almost any situation.

As a mother of three adult children Jessica, Emma and Mackenzie, Karen shares her co-parenting with her husband Paul of twenty-three years.

Karen is passionate about reaching out to the marginalized people in
her community through health and fitness. Her main hobby has been cycling with her “bike trip friends” yearly since 1993 all over British Columbia and parts of the United States.

On social media, Karen has over 8,000 followers and has travelled to Belgium, Germany, Holland, Paris, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia to host events and speak to her many supporters.

She offers an
inspirational message of hope and how to find a successful balance
with family, friends, education, work and play.

Karen is currently accepting invitations for speaking engagements and writing festivals.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

LINKEDIN

CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS

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

https://www.doogood.online/karen-harmon?fbclid=IwAR15x8L7oBCJ86-ZQFZfGXjaQc2JvB6Nh7514MVxs-z3begUgunlDHH-kXo