ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY by Emmy Award Winning Canadian Actor and Author JOANNE VANNICOLA – If you only read one book this year, make sure it is this one. 5+ Stars – Compelling, Heart-rending, and Emotional. This is a MUST READ.

Title: ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY
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Author: JOANNE VANNICOLA
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Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, MENTAL HEALTH, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, LGBTQIA

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Length: 232 PAGES

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Publisher: DUNDURN PRESS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: JUNE 25, 2019

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ISBN: 9781459744226

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Price: $19.99 USD

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Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Joanne Vannicola grew up in a violent home with a physically abusive father and a mother who had no sexual boundaries.

After Joanne is pressured to leave home at fourteen, encouraged by her mother to seek out an acting career, she finds herself in a strange city, struggling to cope with her memories and fears. She makes the decision to cut her mother out of her life, and over the next several years goes on to create a body of work as a successful television and film actor. Then, after fifteen years of estrangement, Joanne learns that her mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, she visits with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.

Joanne relates her journey from child performer to Emmy Award–winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing her own sexuality, from conflicted daughter and sibling to independent woman. All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a testament to survival, love, and Joanne’s fundamental belief that it is possible to love the broken, and to love fully, even with a broken heart.

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MY REVIEW:

*** WARNING – TRIGGER WARNING***

This book contains scenes of child sexual abuse and physical abuse of children. If any of these topics cause emotional triggers for you, I strongly suggest you do not read this book.
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There are many memoirs that contain disturbing subject matter and ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY is no exception. However, the difference between other memoirs and that of Canadian Joanne Vannicola is that Joanne somehow managed to live through her horrific childhood and yet still emerge into adulthood full of compassion for others. Rather than allow her abusers to keep her ‘small,’ she has gone on to have a phenomenal career. To my way of thinking, Joanne being happy and successful is the best revenge. Her strength and determination are a big “F” you to her abusers. She didn’t let them win.

Not only that, but she has also become an advocate for LGBTQ youth. According to Joanne, “[Her] role meant [Joanne] could impact their lives, provide a little hope for others even though [she] still hadn’t learned to hold on to it [herself]…and it provided a deeper purpose…”

Joanne says in the book:
“I could not erase my own pain, but if I could help other kids, it meant healing was possible.”

This memoir is powerful. It is horrific in parts, especially when readers learn how Joanne was treated as a child, but it also includes some wonderful and touching moments and shows the power of friendship.

I do not want to give away too much with my review because I am hoping that everyone who reads this review runs out to buy/pre-order a copy of ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY.

YES, this book will make you shake in anger at the people who were supposed to love Joanne the most, but who turned out to be the perpetrators of her abuse, BUT I BELIEVE THIS IS A BOOK THAT NEEDS TO BE READ.

There are children suffering at this very moment, and people who see these things happening are often afraid to call Children’s Aid in case they are wrong. BUT … What if a child dies or suffers irreparable harm because you did not make that simple phone call? How would you feel? Could you ever forgive yourself?

PLEASE MAKE THE CALL. If it is determined that there was no abuse, then you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing. A bit of embarrassment is nothing when a child’s life and/or his/her mental health is on the line.

This book is not only about abuse. It is also about growing up and trying to come to terms with your sexuality. Joanne came of age not too long ago, but it was long ago enough that being gay, bisexual, trans, or queer was not acceptable to society at large. In fact, the phrase “non-binary” did not even exist. People kept their sexual orientations quiet and this fact made Joanne question what exactly was “wrong” with her. This memoir follows her journey from questioning her sexuality to accepting it and to become an advocate and role model for other LGBTQ youth.

Joanne’s life has been full of pain and agony, but it has also been a life filled with many triumphs, including her winning the her battle with anorexia.

I could go on and on about how amazing Joanne Vannicola is (all based on her book as I have not met her yet.) Instead, I will encourage everyone reading this review to pre-order her book immediately. Don’t wait to do it. Order it immediately. You will not be disappointed. ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN’T SAY is a 5+ Star Book and you will continue to think about Joanne and her life long after the final page has been read. It is impossible not to. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning Canadian actor and writer, who has been working in film, television, and theatre since she was eight years old. She has also been nominated for a Genie, a Gemini, and an ACTRA award.

Joanne is a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ community and has an essay in the anthology Cuarenta y Nueve, a book by 49 artists for the 49 victims of the Orlando Pulse club massacre. She is the Chair of the first LGBTQ+ committee for the actors union, ACTRA, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee at ACTRA for women in film and television.

Joanne’s forthcoming memoir, All We Knew but Couldn’t Say (Dundurn Press) will be available 1 June 2019.

She is a recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Grant in 2016—Writer’s Works in Progress for her memoir. Joanne was selected for the Diaspora Dialogues Program in 2013 and worked with author David Layton for six months. Her short screenplay His Name Was Steven, was selected for the Queer Ideas Screenplay competition.

Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, between 2004-2009, to raise awareness about child abuse and sexual violence.

Equity issues have always been at the forefront of Joanne’s work both in her artistic world and in her personal/political life and she is very passionate about youth, women, and LGBTQ equity and rights.

To learn more about Joanne Vannicola visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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OFFICIAL AUTHOR WEBSITE
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BLOG
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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK
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INSTAGRAM
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DUNDURN PRESS ON INSTAGRAM

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TWITTER
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DUNDURN PRESS TWITTER

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IMDb

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AMAZON
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CHAPTERS
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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
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WANT TO ATTEND THE OFFICIAL BOOK LAUNCH???

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****This book is my “A” entry in the GingerMom’s 2019 A to Z Reading Challenge****


MATHEMATICS OF ETERNITY by Canadian author DAVID M. KELLY is science fiction as it should be. 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: THE MATHEMATICS OF ETERNITY

Series: JOE BALLEN – BOOK ONE

Author: DAVID M. KELLY

Genre: SCIENCE FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, CANADIAN AUTHOR

Length: 318 PAGES

Publisher: NEMESIS PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: 2017

ISBN: 9780995329416

Price: $14.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

The future’s about to get a lot more action-packed!

Meet former space engineer, Joe Ballen. These days, he’s scraping a living flying cabs in flooded-out Baltimore, trying to avoid the clutches of his boss and the well-meaning advice of an old friend.

When one of his passengers suffers a grisly death, Joe is dragged into a dangerous web of ruthless academic rivalry centered on a prototype spaceship.

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A NOTE ABOUT THIS REVIEW:

I had the privilege of meeting David at the Word on the Street Festival on Toronto’s waterfront. This festival is an annual event and is held every September. At the event David was gracious enough to give me an autographed copy of “Mathematics of Eternity” so that I could read and review it. Due to unforeseen medical issues I am extremely late in posting my review, but I did not want to dash off a quick review, I wanted to make sure to write an in-depth review of this terrific book.

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MY REVIEW:

MATHEMATICS OF ETERNITY is the first book in the Joe BALLEN sci-fi series written by the talented Canadian author David M. Kelly.

Set in Baltimore in the year 2143, life is unlike what we are accustomed to. The West Coast no longer exists, except underwater and even Baltimore is mostly flooded beyond redemption. The bottom floors of many highrises are now underwater. Barely anyone lives there, and those who do are extremely unwelcoming to anyone who sets foot in their domain.

Unfortunately, there are some things that, no matter how many years have passed, have remained the same. That is the fact that “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”

It is in this post-catastrophe world that Joe Ballen lives and works. He used to work in space as a construction foreman, but, an almost fatal accident put an end to that career, and almost put an end to his life. Now, he flies a taxi for a living.

One night he picks up a fare and ‘drives’ him home, only to end up as a witness/suspect in the man’s death. Now, the police want him arrested and someone wants him dead. All in all, Joe Ballen wishes he had never let the man into his cab.

With twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats, this story is both thrilling and full of excitement. This is futuristic sci-fi as it should be.

The world-building is phenomenal and I love the fact that there are a variety of genders and sexual orientations represented, including one major character who just happens to be a hermaphrodite. I completely agree with main character Joe Ballen when he says “I’ll never understand why some people feel they can treat others like property. Everyone should be able to follow their own path, so long as they’re not hurting others.” He goes on to say, “Everyone has a right to make their own choices – good or bad. Forcing your ideals on someone else is the ultimate in egotistic selfishness.”

The characters are so well developed that they will linger in the reader’s mind long after the book is finished. This, in my opinion, is the mark of a great writer. Kudos to author David M Kelly for creating such characters.

I rate MATHEMATICS OF ETERNITY as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I am thrilled that Book Two of the Joe Ballenger series is already available.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David M. Kelly writes fast-paced, near future sci-fi thrillers with engaging characters, cynical humor, and plausible science.

He is the author of the Joe Ballen series and the short story collection Dead Reckoning And Other Stories. He has been published in Canadian SF magazine Neo-opsis.

David’s interest in science and technology began early. At the age of six his parents allowed him to stay up late into the night to watch the television broadcast of Neil Armstrong stepping on to the surface of the moon.

From that day he was hooked on everything related to science and space. An avid reader, he worked his way through the contents of the mobile library that visited his street, progressing through YA titles (or ‘juveniles’ as they were known back then) on to the classics of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Harry Harrison.

David worked for many years in project management and software development. Along the way his interests have included IPSC combat (target) pistol shooting, crew chief on a drag racing team, and several years as bass player/vocalist in a heavy rock band. He also managed to fit in some real work in manual jobs from digging ditches and work on production lines to loading trucks in a haulage company.

Originally from the wild and woolly region of Yorkshire, England, David emigrated to Canada in 2005 and settled in Northern Ontario with his patient and supportive wife, Hilary. Foot surgery in 2014 temporarily curtailed many of his favourite activities – hiking, camping, piloting his own personal starfighter (otherwise known as a Corvette ZR-1). But on the plus side, it meant a transition from the world of IT into life as a full-time writer—an opportunity he grasped enthusiastically. David is passionate about science, especially astronomy and physics, and is a rabid science news follower.

Never short of an opinion, David writes about science and technology on his blog davidmkelly.net. He has supported various charity projects such as the Smithsonian’s Reboot The Suit and the Lowell Observatory Pluto Telescope Restoration. He also contributes to citizen science projects such as SETI@home.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK
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INSTAGRAM
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YOUTUBE
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TWITTER
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AMAZON
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MORE BOOKS BY DAVID M. KELLY

PERIMETER-JOE BALLEN #2

Deceit has no boundaries Joe Ballen is working on a new ore-processing platform in the harsh environment around Mercury. But then the security forces come calling. Vital starship engineering files are missing, and without them Earth has no hope of escaping Atoll domination. Someone has to locate the files, and Ballen is bulldozed into the not-so-choice assignment. But he’s not the only one in the hunt. As Joe struggles to find the data, he becomes tangled up in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. It’s a journey that will take him to the perilous depths of space, where no one is quite what they seem. Can old enemies ever make good allies? And can Joe trust even the people closest to him? Ballen’s back in another action-packed sci-fi noir thriller, guaranteed to keep you turning the pages.
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DEAD RECKONING AND OTHER STORIES

Looking for SF that’s intelligent, action-packed, and humorous?

This collection of ten short stories features a cast of characters all in need of some serious therapy.Hector discovers life after death ain’t easy when your shorts itch and your ass belongs to a whip-wielding giant. And Murphy’s fighting to keep the peace as his team of geeky scientists and a gung-ho lieutenant investigate a mysterious alien ship—all while dealing with his own case of Murphy’s Law. First Contact is always complicated, especially when you have to call in cranky old relic, Casteneda, to bail you out. Fresh off the battlefield, Matt Holbrook is also grappling with a perplexing new species, but all he wants is to make it home. And Earl Duarte is in for some interesting pet therapy in How Much Is That Doggy?

Discover Dead Reckoning And Other Stories. SF with attitude!

Copyright (C) David M. Kelly. http://davidmkelly.net/my-books/

This book is my entry for the letter ‘M’ in the GingerReads 2019 A to Z Reading Challenge.

GRIT & GRACE – Uncommon Wisdom For Inspiring Leaders Designed To Make You Think NOW AVAILABLE. This book makes an awesome gift for every woman on the planet. Check it out here…

Title: GRIT & GRACE

Subtitle: Uncommon Wisdom For Inspiring Leaders Designed To Make You Think

Author: QUOTABELLE INC. = PAULINE WEGER and ALICIA WILLIAMSON

Genre: NON-FICTION, INSPIRATIONAL, QUOTES, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS

Length: 236 PAGES

Cover Design: PHILIP BUCHANAN

Publisher: QUARTO KNOWS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63106-530-9

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Grit & Grace is a collection of quotes, thoughts, and advice from female pioneers to inspire young girls and women who want to lead.

With powerful words from powerful female forerunners, Louisa May Alcott and Susan B. Anthony have inspired girls and women for generations, there are now more women leading the way in more industries than ever. From the authors of the breakout inspirational book Beautifully Said comes Grit & Grace, a showcase of the brilliant minds, sterling careers, and hard work of women in both well-known and less-visible roles in society.

Grit & Grace is here to inspire young girls and women to pursue their dreams with fearlessness and determination by featuring classic and modern female leaders like Jessica Alba, Courtney Banghart, and Tiffany Dufu. The perfect gift for sisters, daughters, nieces, friends, new graduates, and any other free-thinking young woman in your life, Grit & Grace uses the strengths and successes of today’s women to drive a generation of future leaders to make their talents count. The female voices in Grit & Grace include:

– Reese Witherspoon
– Vera Wang
– Meghan Markle
– Amal Clooney
– Ava DuVernay
– Jane Goodall
– Beatrix Potter
– Diana Vreeland
– Anita Roddick
– Clara Barton
– Susan B. Anthony
– Katharine Graham
– Rose Marcario
– Christiana Figueres

Future female idols, look to Grit & Grace for inspiration as you lead the way.

MY REVIEW:

I have always loved inspirational quotes. I have many, many notebooks filled with quotes I have discovered over the years. There is just something satisfying about reading a quote that captures a topic or emotion perfectly.

A powerful quote can lift your spirits and turn a bad day into a day filled with promise. A quote from someone you look up to can provide inspiration to either follow that person’s path, or to forge an entirely new one.

The quotes contained in this astonishing book are all from females. I am not 100% sure, but I believe it is the only all-female quote collection available today. In researching quotes in general, the editors of this book discovered that “… less than ten percent of the quotations shared every day are from women and girls.” This number is too low and this book seeks to remedy that appalling lack.

quoteur
/kwō tǝr’ / noun
a person who originates a pithy collection of words worth sharing.

GRIT & GRACE not only inspires it’s readers, but as it states in the subtitle, the quotes are; “…Designed to make you think.”

The layout of this book is wonderful. Each time you open the book to a two-page layout. The quote is printed in bold and has a page to itself. On the left side page is the name of the quoteur along with a brief description of who she is and a short biography which highlights her life and achievements. I received as much inspiration from reading about these amazing women as I did from reading the quotes. I also discovered many new role models, women who I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of before now. Who knows? Readers may find their perfect role model just through the reading of this book.

So many of the quotations in this collection spoke to me that I had an extremely difficult time deciding which ones were my favorites. Instead, I realized that each and every quote spoke to me at different times and meant different things. I have decided to only include four quotes in this review, but I highly recommend purchasing GRIT & GRACE since it is a book that can (and should be) read over and over again.

Here are just a few of the included inspirations:

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”
– Marie Curie (Scientist) 1867-1934

“To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?”
– Katherine Graham (Publisher and winner of the Pulitzer Prize)

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“If you don’t fall down, you aren’t trying hard enough.”
-Tenley Albright (1935-____)
(Surgeon, Cancer Researcher, Polio Survivor & First US woman to win a Gold Medal in Figure Skating)

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“One of the more powerful outbreaks of happiness and meaning in your life will occur when you pair your passion and the world’s need.”
– Sue Monk Kidd (Novelist)

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I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I think it would make a terrific Christmas present, especially for those young people who are just learning to find their voices.

ADD TO GOODREADS

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

To learn more about Quotabelle, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.quotabelle.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

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LINKEDIN

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#newbook
#leadership
#FemaleFounders
#entrepreneurlife
#giftidea

SNOWSISTERS – A New LGBTQ Young Adult Novel by Tom Wilinsky and Jen Sternick Releases in 8 Days

Title: SNOWSISTERS

Authors: TOM WILINSKY and JEN STERNICK

Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DIVERSE FICTION

Length: 256 PAGES

Publisher: INTERLUDE PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Cover Art: C.B. MESSER

Release Date: FEBRUARY 15, 2018

ISBN: 9781945053528

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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CONTENT WARNINGS:
***Some of the characters in this book are unreliable narrators. Some have opinions and information about the world which are not well-informed. Others are subjected to that ignorance.***

ADDITIONAL WARNING:

***This book contains transphobic and homophobic language and descriptions of transphobic bullying. It also contains misgendering of a transperson and a description of violent, homophobic child abuse.***

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DESCRIPTION:

High school students—Soph, who attends private school in Manhattan, and Tess, a public school student who lives on a dairy farm in New Hampshire—are thrown together as roommates at a week-long writing conference. As they get to know each other and the other young women, both Soph and Tess discover unexpected truths about friendship, their craft, and how to hold fast to their convictions while opening their hearts to love.

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MY REVIEW:

Tess is thrilled when she learns that her application to attend the Young Women’s Writing Conference has been accepted. Tess’s life on a dairy farm in a small town in New Hampshire is a far cry from the life led by fellow conference attendee Sophonia. Soph leads a life of privilege and luxury in New York City. In fact, her parents are some sort of exiled European royalty.

The two young women are almost complete opposites in every way. Tess is straight. Soph is gay. Tess writes anonymous Fan Fiction online and Soph writes rhyming poetry. Tess is an introvert and extremely shy. Soph is an extrovert who is a social butterfly. Tess plans to go into the army while Soph is applying to the prestigious Minerva College.

So, when these two girls are thrown together as roommates, neither one is sure of how to befriend the other, but both are determined to try.

Meanwhile, next door to their room are Chris and Orly. The tension between them is thick enough to cut with a knife. Chris fancies herself a feminist and a journalist, while Orly is planning to write a memoir about growing up in a small town. Chris may believe she is a feminist, but she is NOT. Orly is a trans girl which would not bother any true feminist, but Chris constantly refers to as her as “him.” She wants Orly banned from the retreat and her prejudice and discrimination are horrible.

How in the world are these young women all supposed to get along?

I have read some reviews of SNOWSISTERS in which people are upset by the inclusion of misgendering and discrimination in this story. However, it is the character they should be upset with, NOT the authors. This behaviour was included in the story because, unfortunately, there are still many people in the world that act just like Chris (or worse) when it comes to trans people. It is necessary to inform readers of the existence of this type of prejudice so that we can do everything possible to eradicate it. Tess says it best when talking to Soph: “It’s-it’s a hard world, Soph. It’s hard for everyone in different ways.”

As the Writing Conference progresses, so does the bonding between the attendees. Not only do they learn to improve their writing, they also improve their relationships and some form bonds that may last a lifetime.

This book is a glimpse into the lives of young women struggling with their identities and trying to decide what they want for their future. This applies to every teenager, whether gay or straight. They all need to find their place in the world and to do so while dealing with the massive changes in their bodies and minds that comes with adolescence.

The only issue I had with this story was with Soph’s diary entries. They are written in short verse and they seem very juvenile to me and as if they were written by a younger person. They definitely do not seem like they would have been good enough to gain her admittance to an elite writing workshop. Here is just one example of Soph’s diary entries:

“A powerless night with
three turns messy.
I’m surprised what comes
out with Hennessy.”

I believe that more books discussing being gay, trans, or pan and about coming out are necessary, but I look forward to the day when they are no longer needed. #WeNeedMoreDiverseBooks

I rate SNOWSISTERS as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

You can pre-order this book now by clicking HERE.

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ENTER TO WIN ONE OF FIVE Multi-Format eBook Editions of SNOWSISTERS by Tom Wilinsky & Jen Sternick + $25 IP Web Store Gift Card Grand Prize

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!!! Hurry! Giveaway Ends February 27th, 2018

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

JEN STERNICK and TOM WILINSKY met in high-school where they started a conversation which, years later, is still ongoing.

ABOUT TOM: Tom lives in New York with his partner and the world’s most beloved orange tabby cat, Newky.

He likes cold weather, anything with zombies in it and old cars. Never has he ever…been picked first for a team in Phys. Ed… used a selfie-stick… gotten Jen to watch an episode of South Park….

ABOUT JEN: Jen lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two kids and a cranky seven-toed cat named Sassy.

She likes live theater, visiting any place she’s never been before, and admits to a mild Twitter addiction. Never has she ever…won a game of Scrabble…remembered the lyrics to the The Big Bang Theory theme song… been able to convince Tom to read a self-help book…

To learn more about these authors, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

TUMBLR

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Interlude Press is a boutique publisher of award-winning LGBTQ fiction. We publish fiction for Young Adult readers through our imprint Duet.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

TUMBLR

THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE by Tehmina Khan is a story collection featuring characters who are usually ignoredin modern literature. It’s a MUST READ!

Title: THINGS SHE COULD NEVER HAVE

Author: TEHMINA KHAN

Genre: FICTION, SHORT STORY COLLECTION, LGBTQ, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, DIVERSITY, CANADIAN LITERATURE

Length: 121 PAGES

Publisher: MAWENZI HOUSE

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE PUBLISHER

Release Date: OCTOBER 2017

ISBN: 978-1-988449-14-2

Price: $20.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Accomplished, sensitive, and often disturbing, these stories take us into the lives of modern Pakistanis—privileged and poor, gay, trans, and straight, men and women, in Karachi and Toronto.

“Whisperings of the Devil” takes us into the mind of a mistreated maidservant’s boy who gets seduced into the role of a suicide bomber.

In “To Allah We Pray,” two privileged and educated young men, one of them home from Toronto, gallivant through the streets of Karachi, finally walking into a doomed mosque.

“Things She Could Never Have” is a love story about two young trans women living in Karachi.

“Born on the First of July” opens the door into the home of a Toronto girl who has left to join ISIS and the devastated family she leaves behind.

“The First” will astonish many readers by its depiction of sexual encounters of young college girls in Pakistan.

These and other stories link us into the complexities of a sometimes troubled and often misrepresented Muslim society.

MY REVIEW:

I am aware that the stories contained within this wonderfully written collection are fiction, but it is all too easy to see that they contain at least a degree of truth.

First-time author TEHMINA KHAN has crafted tales that are so believable that you will find yourself wondering if some of them are actually non-fiction. This is the mark of a truly talented writer.

In the story, BORN ON THE FIRST OF JULY, parents of a Canadian born young woman are shocked when she leaves to join ISIS. They “…become news junkies… [and] scour the internet for news on ISIS, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.” “For us, she dies again and again. She is reborn again and again. There is nothing as cruel as hope.” She has taken a topic that is taboo and somehow made it relatable. Great job!

All of the stories in this collection are wonderfully written and will entrance the reader. This book was impossible to put down and I found myself thinking about each of the tales, long after I finished reading them.

Tehmina Khan has given a voice to those people whom modern day literature shuns and ignores. From transgender youth to Muslim women, readers are sure to read about characters they might otherwise never encounter. It is story collections like this one that are necessary now more than ever before.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend it. Tehmina Khan may be new to the publishing world, but I am sure we will be hearing more about her in the near future.

*Thank you to Mawenzi House Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tehmina Khan was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and holds degrees from Kinnaird College, Lahore, and Faculté des Sciences Humaines et Sociales de Tunis.

She has her home in Toronto, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a cat. She is currently working on a novel.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

BLOG

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

GOOGLE PLUS

PICTAGRAM

INSTAGRAM

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Mawenzi House is dedicated to bringing to the reading public fresh new writing from Canada and across the world that reflects the diversity of our rapidly globalizing world, particularly in Canada and the United States.

Our focus is on works that can loosely be termed “multicultural” and particularly those that pertain to Asia and Africa. We publish 6-8 titles of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction (literary criticism, history) per year.

Among our achievements: we have played a role in the formulation of the Indo-Caribbean identity through the publication of several ground-breaking titles; we have kept in print books by major Caribbean writers Sam Selvon, Ismith Khan, and John Stewart; we have published provocative and perceptive social and literary critical works by Arnold Itwaru, Arun Prabha Mukherjee, Chelva Kanaganayakam, and others; the introduction of the important Zimbabwean writer Yvonne Vera; the first historical and critical study of Chinese Canadian writing in English; the first anthologies of South Asian Canadian literature, South Asian Canadian women’s poetry, Chinese Canadian stories, and South Asian Canadian and American women’s fiction.

HISTORY

In 1981, a group of young people, who had been in North America for just over a decade, decided to take the plunge and start the magazine they had always dreamed about as students, at a time in which Naipaul had to be ordered from bookstores, let alone Narayan or Ngugi or Soyinka. The result was The Toronto South Asian Review, which later became the much broader-based The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad and helped entrench a generation of new writers. As an offshoot of this literary magazine, in 1985 TSAR Publications published its first title, a book of essays on South Asian Canadian literature, followed by a book of poetry by Sri Lankan Canadian Rienzi Crusz. Mawenzi House finally emerged, a uniquely diverse and knowledgeable publishing house based in Canada. (“Mawenzi” is the name of the second peak of Kilimanjaro.)

To learn more about Mawenzi House, visit the following links:

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***This book is part of my #2018AtoZChallenge on Ginger Mom’s Blog***