MY PUDDLES – A Memoir by Thai Peck – MY REVIEW of this fascinating new Memoir.





Length: 97 PAGES


Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: GOODREADS

Release Date: MAY 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-0899-1

ASIN: B072M4Q161

Rating: 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐+0.5


My Puddles is a true story. It’s a short anecdote recalling a tale of growing up from childhood to the age of seventy and a woman’s journey through time, places, and self-discovery.


Neither the title, nor the description really give any information about this book.

MY PUDDLES is a memoir written by Thai Peck about her life. She only briefly remarks upon her unhappy childhood in Vietnam.

At the tender age of seventeen, she met and eventually married an Australian War Correspondant named Brian Peck. Thai had two children, a boy and a girl and despite life’s ups and downs, they remained married until the sad day in 2015 when Brian passed away.

Thai eloquently expresses just how much they loved each other in the book’s first chapter:

“In September 1968 … At Singapore airport about to board an Air Vietnam flight, among the crowd, a couple of Americans…through them I met this Australian reporter. While each man offered to carry one of my bags, only one remained faithfully carrying them through our many journeys for the rest of his life. Until one morning in April 2015 when he took his last breath in my arms. His name was Brian Peck. He was my best friend, my confidante, and my all. He brought happiness into my everyday life for 45 years.”

Besides her relationship with her husband, Thai also writes about her travels to many countries and her life as a diplomat’s wife. She candidly describes the hippocritical nature of those events – glitz and glamour on the surface, but lonliness on the inside.

I enjoyed reading about Thai Beck’s life and as a self-published book, she has done a good job. What she does need, however, is a good proofreader and editor. It is readily apparent that the memoir is written by someone whose first language is not English. There are quite a few places in this book that need to be edited.

The need for proofing and editing are significant, but by filling this autobiography with numerous photographs and copies of Thai’s paintings, the joy of reading this book increases immensely. I rate MY PUDDLES as 3.5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐ +0.5


To learn about this author, visit the following links:









BALBOA PRESS is a Division of HAY HOUSE. It is a book publishing company that helps aspiring self-help and transformational authors self-publish books and achieve their dreams. Offering professional cover design, editing, marketing and more, authors can publish a self-help book ready for print on demand. Specializing in the mind, body and spirit genre, Balboa Press is your gateway into the world of publishing.






AMSTERDAM EXPOSED by David Wienir is a book that will open your eyes to a world





Length: 207 PAGES


Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2018

ISBN: 9780999355909

Price: $12.95 USD (PAPERBACK)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

1. This book is NOT suitable for readers under the age of 18 due to language and sexual situations.In fact, the author states: “Lastly, if you are under 18 and reading this, best put it down until you come of age.”
2. According to the author, “for those politically correct readers or those who are easily offended, it is my sincere hope that you will love this book, but be forewarned it is very real. I didn’t soften the edges – at all… So hold on tight as we dive in deep, and apologies to anyone rubbed the wrong way. That was not my intention.”


Amsterdam Exposed tells the true one-of-a-kind story of an innocent exchange student who moves to Amsterdam hoping to write a book about the red light district and everything that follows. It’s an American abroad story, and also a love story; it’s an uplifting tragedy, full of humor from beginning to end; it’s an Amsterdam survival guide; a sympathetic look at a societal problem; a little piece of policy; a sweet farewell to a world just about gone; and, ultimately, as close as you can come to a free trip to Amsterdam without leaving your couch.

In sum, Amsterdam Exposed takes readers deep into the district on a journey never before possible, forever reshaping their understanding of one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, and the women who work there. If you’ve ever spent time in Amsterdam, or dreamed of doing so, this book’s for you.


Firstly, I have to warn potential readers that this book contains frank discussions and detailed descriptions about adult issues and is 100% NOT SUITABLE FOR READERS UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN.

** This book also contains details of several trauma triggers. Included topics include drug use, rape, child abuse, suicidal thoughts, and detailed sexual encounter descriptions.**

The author began working on this book in 1999 when he was in Law school; studying in Amsterdam for a semester.

Anyone who has ever given thought to Amsterdam has to admit to being at least mildly curious about its “coffee shops” and it’s notorious “Red Light District.” Author David Wienir was curious as well, and had gone to Amsterdam not only to study Law, but also with the express intent to write a book about it’s prostitutes and how they had ended up ‘working the windows’.

This initially sounded to me like a young, red-blooded male giving himself an excuse to visit and obtain the services of prostitutes under the guise of writing a book. That supposition was quickly proven wrong. David was serious about his book and, early on, he set firm rules for himself which included not paying prostitutes to talk and never becoming a “customer” no matter how much he might have been tempted.

The book details his difficulty in finding women who were interested in being part of his book – for free, and also explains his eventual luck in finding a prostitute who was willing to open up to him.

In addition to David’s writing for his book, he also describes his time in Amsterdam – the friends he met, the adventures they had and the places they visited. This book is part travelogue, part exposé and all riveting.

David Wienir has crafted an extremely readable tale that will both fascinate and horrify readers in equal measure.
Whatever your thoughts are regarding the morality of prostitution, this book is something that everyone should read.

I guarantee AMSTERDAM EXPOSED will make you think more deeply on many issues and since the events chronicled in this tome take place twenty years in the past, readers will be be transported to an earlier, more carefree era.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and commend David Wienir for having the courage and compassion to write about a topic that most people pretend not to see.


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



David Wienir is a business affairs executive at United Talent Agency and entertainment law instructor at UCLA Extension. Before UTA, he practiced law at two of the top entertainment law firms where he represented clients such as Steven Spielberg and Madonna. This is his fourth book. Previous books include Last Time: Labour’s Lessons from the Sixties (co-authored with a Member of Parliament at the age of 23), The Diversity Hoax: Law Students Report from Berkeley (afterword by Dennis Prager), and Making It on Broadway: Actors’ Tales of Climbing to the Top (foreword by Jason Alexander).

Before becoming a lawyer, he was a professional river rafting guide, a speechwriter in the British House of Commons, and a host of Estonia Today on Estonia National Radio. He is also a founder and the first musical director of the Oxford Alternotives, Oxford University’s oldest a cappella close harmony group. He was educated at Columbia, Oxford, The LSE, Berkeley Law, and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and is married to Dr. Dina, a pioneer of the medical cannabis movement and the inspiration for the Nancy Botwin character in the show Weeds. They live in West Hollywood with their teacup Brazilian Yorkie named Lola.

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













Since 1997, SMITH PUBLICITY has forged a reputation as one of the finest book marketing agencies in the industry. They have worked with thousands of books and authors both traditionally and self-published from every genre.

Through innovative strategies and a unique promotional methodology, they have established a stunning, unparalleled track record of book marketing success.

They have offices in New Jersey and Toronto. Their reach is international, and their influence in the publishing world undeniable.

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






MISSIONARY KID by Margaret H Essebaggers Dopirak is a fascinating true tale of growing up white in India





Length: 260 PAGES


Type of Book: SOFTCOVER


Release Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9971576-1-1 (Softcover)

ISBN: 978-0-9971576-6-6 (EBook)

Price: $17.95 USD (Softcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


This is a fascinating memoir of a childhood unlike any most of us could possibly imagine. It is a tale of a bygone era that is so engrossing it reads like fiction.

Born to white missionary parents during their first mission to India during the years when India was still ruled by the British Empire.

Margaret Essebaggers has written this memoir of her childhood with startling detail. No one remembers their early years with any degree of detail, but through family journals, photographs, and letters she wrote home from boarding school her parents saved, Margaret has been able to write an exquisite account of growing up in India in a time now largely forgotten.

I loved seeing the pictures and I do not think this book would be complete without them. Reading about her childhood as an MK or “Missionary Kid.”

Because I was literally unable to put this memoir down, I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.


Margaret H. Essebaggers Dopirak is the daughter of missionaries and was brought up and schooled in India. She received her early education at Highclerc, a boarding school for children of missionaries, situated in Kodaikanal, South India.

Subsequently, in the United States, she completed three years of nurses’ training at Illinois Masonic Hospital, Chicago, and attended Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Illinois, where she earned a BS in Nursing. She later received a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Connecticut School of Community Health, Farmington, CT.

Being born and raised in India, Margaret realized early on that her childhood experience of growing up in a foreign country was very different from that of her contemporaries in America. Over the years, she was frequently reminded, through the curiosity and interest of strangers and friends, as well as family, that she might, indeed, have a unique story to tell. So, after a rewarding 40 year career in the field of hospital infection control and epidemiology – and during which time she raised her three lively sons – she turned her attentions to writing this memoir.

A first time author, Ms Dopirak aspires to continue writing about her life-experiences and her family history.

Having traveled the equivalent of one and a half times around the world by the time she was sixteen, Margaret’s appetite for seeing new sites and destinations continued throughout her life.

During her retirement years, in particular, she has traveled extensively with her husband, Bill, who is also a seasoned traveler. (Bill spent 20 years in the Navy as a submariner, affording him the opportunity to visit Scotland, Spain, Italy, and Guam.) Together, Margaret and Bill especially enjoy taking road trips within the United States, and have driven Historic Route 66 twice, visited all 50 State Capitols, and toured more than 150 National Parks. Trips and or cruises to the Panama Canal, Costa Rica, Prince Edward Island and other Canadian destinations, Norway, and Europe have been among their international travel destinations.

Margaret is a grandmother to 9 grandchildren and a four-time great-grandmother. In keeping with writing her memoir, it is no surprise that she has an avid interest in genealogy, and has accumulated a wealth of family history which she hopes to pass on to her progeny and descendants.

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








Coming September 28th is the incredibly gorgeous photography book HUMAN TRIBE by Award Winner Alison Wright – 5 Stars are just not enough 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟




Length: 180 PAGES

Size: 8 x 8 inches

Publisher: SCHIFFER BOOKS    

Received From: NETGALLEY    

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7643-5396-3   

Price: $29.99 USD / $45.00 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     


“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

Margaret Mead 

According to author and photographer Alison Wright, “The emotive beauty and grace of the human face, in all its diversity, will never cease to inspire … This book is a celebration of the universal human spirit within us all.” 

Containing photographs taken in many countries around the world, this book is a stunning work of art that is being published at the perfect time. 

With political upheaval and divisiveness at an all-time high, the photographs in this book serve as a reminder that people are just that – people. We need to embrace the diversity that makes our world so amazing. 

Alison Wright has taken these pictures over the span of many years and many countries. 

Photographs of Monks in Cambodia, poor children in Nepal, elderly farmers in Cuba, geisha in Japan, Norwegian huntsmen, Burmese migrants in Thailand, Indigenous peoples in Alaska and many more people, from many more countries, all have one thing in common – their faces, and eyes may be different colors, but one thing is always the same; those faces, and especially their eyes showcase their humanity. 

This gorgeous book will take pride of place on anyone’s coffee table and is guaranteed to get people talking. Any book that is able to remind us, at a glance, that regardless of race, we are really all the same.    

It would also make an incredible birthday or Christmas gift. I rate this photography book as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 and I highly recommend buying at least one copy for yourself and a few extra copies as gifts. 

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


Photograph by Steve Bly

Alison Wright, a New York-based documentary photographer, has spent a career capturing the universal human spirit through her photographs and writing. For many of her projects Alison travels to the remotest regions of the globe photographing endangered cultures and people while documenting issues concerning the human condition. 

Clients & Representation

Wright’s photography is represented byNational Geographic Creative and has been published in numerous magazines including National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Islands, Smithsonian Magazine, American Photo, Natural History, Time, Forbes, Oprah and The New York Times.


Wright has photographed a number of books including “Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit”, “The Spirit of Tibet: Portrait of a Culture in Exile”, “The Dalai Lama: A Simple Monk”, “Faces of Hope: Children of a Changing World”, and National Geographic Traveler books on China, London and Great Britain.

On January 2, 2000 Alison’s life was nearly cut short during a horrific bus accident on a remote jungle road in Laos. Wright’s memoir, “Learning to Breathe; One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival”, chronicles this inspirational story of survival and years of rehabilitation, and her ongoing determination to recover and continue traveling the world as an intrepid photojournalist.

To learn more about Alison Wright click on the following links:










TRAPPED IN ICE by Canadian Author Eric Walters – A 5 Star YA Historical Fiction Thriller based on a true story. A MUST READ.




Length: 225 PAGES


Release Date: 1997

ISBN: 978-1-77049-994-2 (Softcover)

Price: $12.99 CDN ($8.91 on the website)   

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I sometimes wonder why we don’t learn more Canadian history in high school. I am 100% sure that if TRAPPED IN ICE was read in history class, not one student would complain of boredom.

ERIC WALTERS has taken the tale of the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and fictionalized it into a tale that everyone should read.

It doesn’t matter if you are a fan of historical fiction or not, this book will draw you in and you will find it nearly impossible to put down.

Thirteen year old Helen lost her father and her home all within the span of a single year. Her mother accepted a job as a seamstress on the Canadian Arctic Expedition and arranged for Helen and her younger brother to join the expedition as well.

Up until this trip, Helen has only ever experienced adventure through the many books she has read. What should have been a moderately scary trip becomes a nightmare when the ocean unexpectedly freezes over early. This catches everyone on board The Karluk by surprise, even the experienced and tough Captain Robert Bartlett. The ship becomes locked in the ice with no chance of a thaw for many months.

Actual photo of the Karluk stuck in the ice in 1913

In fact, it is likely that the ship will sink before the ice thaws enough for it to be released. What follows is a true tale of the ship’s Captain, crew and passengers and their terrifying trek across the ice flow to try to reach land.

Photo of Captain Robert Bartlett at home in Newfoundland before leaving for the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition

Readers will find themselves drawn into this harrowing tale of how Helen and the others push themselves beyond human endurance based solely on their will to survive.

This book is not very long, it consists of only 225 pages and readers will become so swept up in the story that they will want to read it in a single day.

I love the fact that author Eric Walters has chosen to bring to light a part of Canadian history that is largely unknown and I hope that he continues to write more books like this one.

I rate TRAPPED IN ICE as 5 out of 5 Stars and I highly recommend this book to all readers aged ten and older. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

To learn more about The 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition and it’s true story click here

TRAPPED IN ICE won the 1999 Silver Birch Award. 


It all began in 1993 when Eric was teaching a Grade 5 class.  His students were reluctant readers and writers and Eric began to write to encourage them to become more involved in literature.  His first novel, Stand Your Ground, was created for this class.  It is set in the school where Eric was teaching, Vista Heights Public School, and some of the features of the community of Streetsville and many of the names of his students were incorporated into the story.


Since his first novel Eric has exploded on the children’s and young adult scene.  Over the following years he has published over 94 more novels and picture books with more than ten scheduled for the coming years.

These novels have been enthusiastically received by children and young adults and critically acclaimed by teachers, reviewers and parents.  Eric’s novels have won more than 100 awards including eleven separate children’s choice awards. 

He is the only three time winner of both the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch and Red Maple Awards – in which over 250,000 students participate and vote the winner.  In November 2013 he received the prestigious Children’s Africana Book Award – Best Book for young children – for his book The Matatu.  This American award was presented to Eric in a ceremony at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.   

Eric’s novels are now available in places as far award as New Zealand, Australia, India and Nepal and have been translated into more than a dozen languages including French, German, Japanese, Italian, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese.

Eric has presented to more than 1,500,000 students across North America and internationally in Japan and Germany.  His presentations blend drama, storytelling, audience participation and interaction.  He presents to students from K – Grade 12 as well as adult groups and keynote speeches.

 June 2013 Eric became ‘Dr. Walters’ when he was granted the honorary degree of Literarum Doctorem by Wilfred Laurier University.  He gave the address to graduating  B.Ed., B.A. students in the spring convocation.

Eric, along with his wife Anita, and Ruth and Henry Kyatha, are the co-founders of The Creation of Hope which provides for over 400 orphans and disadvantaged children throughout the Mbooni District of Kenya.

100% of money donated by schools goes directly to serve and through the website these schools are shown – school by school, dollar by dollar, item by item – how their donations are spent.

Eric is the father of three (Christina – born 1985, Nicholas – born 1988, and Julia – born 1992) and he and his wife live in Mississauga with their two dogs – Lola and Winnie the Poodle.  In his free time (what little of it he has) he walks, hikes, and plans his next adventure.  He spends time every summer in Kenya at his orphanage.

To learn more about Eric and his phenomenal books visit the following links:








BERKELEY TO PARIS AND BACK WITH TWO STOPS IN NEW YORK by Lynn Snyder is a moving read. 4 Stars -🌟🌟🌟🌟



Type of Book: SOFTCOVER


Length: 101 PAGES


Release Date:

ISBN: 9781530855896

Price: $5.38 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟

* I received a free copy of this book through the 
Goodreads Giveaway program.

Shop Indie Bookstores

Playwright Lynn Snyder had decided to give up looking for love. In fact, she even briefly contemplated moving far away from San Francisco to live out the rest of her life on the edges of the High Sierra mountain range.

Thankfully she realized that idea would be taking things a bit too far.

Not long after making this monumental life decision, she heard an announcement on her favorite classical music radio station regarding personal ads for meeting people with the same interests (this was many years before the invention of online dating.) Lynn decided she wouldn’t mind meeting new people and answered an ad that interested her.

It was the best decision she had ever made. It was how she met and fell in love with Leo, which led to them having twenty years together.

I expected this book to be a chronicle of their lives together and nothing more, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that while it was what I expected, it was also so much more.

Leo is eventually diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and at this point in the story it could have taken a dramatic and sad turn. The author instead chooses to use his diagnosis as a challenge. It is one that Leo will inevitably lose, but at least they had each other and they were deeply in love.

Lynn Snyder is an intelligent and interesting person who loves to travel and who is extremely self-aware. I love that she is unapologetic and firm in her beliefs – many of which I share.

The scene I found the most compelling takes place at a Huntington’s Support Group.

Jane’s eighty-year-old mother, Marilyn tells us that Jane has started to become violent.” Obviously this poses great problems for Marilyn since she is Jane’s sole caregiver. “She says that when her physician suggested Jane be placed in a nursing home, Jane protested loudly, demanding that she be allowed to commit suicide.” Marilyn is deeply religious and does not believe in suicide and the resident social worker tells her to trick Jane into going into a nursing home. She also points out that suicide is illegal. I agree 100% with Lynn’s response to this conversation and I applaud her for voicing her opinion in such an emotional matter. When she says that suicide is a crime, Lynn says:

“I’m well aware of that. But deceiving a mentally unstable person should be and isn’t, which doesn’t mean that we, in this group, should be as unenlightened as our society.”

Lynn leaves the support group – never to return. She realizes that she does not fit in, which, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Lynn also does a credible job of articulating the helplessness and despair that is often felt by those who have to watch a loved one deteriorate, knowing there is nothing they can do to save them. This is my favorite quote from the book:

“I want to help him speak and walk. I want to rub strength into his fingers so that he can play the piano. I love him so much, and it seems incredible that I can’t translate my love into restoring what is rightfully his – speech, mobility, everything that allows him to be who he is.”

There is so much emotion in those few short sentences and Lynn’s love for Leo shines like a beacon for the rest of us.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

The one thing that I would have liked to see would have been some photos the couple and possibly some photos of their travels and their homes. 


Lynn Snyder was born in Akron, Ohio. After receiving a degree in political science from the University of Michigan, she became a journalist.

She spent time in London, England, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, before moving to Northern California.

It was there that she met her husband, Leo.

In addition to journalism, Snyder has also worked as a playwright, campaign publicity director, and literature teacher.

Visit Lynn Snyder on FACEBOOK    

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A Must Read – THE SHIP TO NOWHERE by Rona Arato – COMING OCTOBER 4th, 2016 





Type of Book: PAPERBACK


Length: 176 PAGES


Release Date: OCTOBER 4, 2016

ISBN: 9781772600186

Price: $14.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟   

* I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE SHIP TO NOWHERE is the true story of the voyage of the ship THE EXODUS 1947 from Sète, France to Palestine.

Eleven year old Rachel Fletcher has survived the Holocaust along with her mother and older sister. Sadly, her father was killed along with so many other Jewish people during World War II.

Emancipated from captivity, there are many displaced Jews who no longer feel that they are welcome back to their old lives. Many of them dream of returning to the Jewish Biblical Homeland of Palestine.

The people of Palestine are ready to receive any and all Jewish people who arrive on their shores.

Rachel and what is left of her family decide to join 4500 other Jews aboard the ship THE EXODUS 1947.

“They were going to Eretz Yisroel, the ancestral land of the Jewish people. There, for the first time in their lives, they could live freely and safely as Jews.” 

The conditions aboard the ship are crowded, but the refugees are hopeful of reaching their destination and finally feeling safe and welcome in a new land where they will be allowed to freely and openly practice their religion without fear of persecution.
Told in sparing prose that will appeal to the target readership  (ages 9-13) and filled with actual photographs from the harrowing voyage, this is a book worth buying.

 The photographs bring home the reality of the voyage much more vividly than words could possibly convey.

Middle-grade readers will be able to relate to the tale as it is told from the perspective of an eleven year old child. Adults who have yet heard this story will enjoy this book as well.

This story may seem not to be relevant to today’s world, but due to the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria, this story is exceedingly relevant. Millions of Syrian refugees are fleeing their war-torn homeland in search of a better, safer life for themselves and for their children – much the same as the Jews aboard THE SHIP TO NOWHERE.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 and I highly recommend it to all parents and educators. 


Purchase online  

Find out more about this book on GOODREADS  

To listen to the author read an excerpt from her book The Last Train click here.


RONA ARATO was born in New York and grew up in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers in Canada and the United States. Rona is the award-winning author of 20 children’s books including The Last Train, a Holocaust Story.

She taught elementary school in Los Angeles and Toronto, adult creative writing for the Toronto District School Board, and has conducted business writing workshops for profit and non-profit organizations.

From 1994-1998, she was an interviewer for SURVIVORS OF THE SHOA, a Steven Spielberg project that recorded the histories of Holocaust survivors.

Rona Arato lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her husband, Paul.

To learn more about this author visit her online at the following links:




5 Star Review, Author Interview & Giveaway for TO BE A CHILD by Debra Schoenberger

To Be A Child by Debra Schoenberger



Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Non-Fiction, Photography, Documentary

Length: 240 pages

Content Rating: G

Release Date: November 30, 2015

Publisher: Blurb Publishing

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Official Book Description:

Give a child a cardboard box and his imagination will turn it into anything but!

Today, it is less common to see children playing in the streets, especially in urban areas. The plethora of ready-made toys should make any child happy.  What usually happens is that the box the toy came in becomes the toy!

This book documents children at play (and at times at work) from 10 different countries. A child’s ingenuity never ceases to amaze me and I hope you will share these images.


This book features pictures taken by the extremely talented photographer Debra Schoenberger.

In ‘To Be A Child’ there are over 300 photos of children  at play. The children in this book were photographed in their own environment and in ten different countries.

This book is a celebration of children at play. The book is the culmination of four years and a trek of over 100,000 km.

This book is a masterpiece. The innocence portrayed in the photographs are sure to touch your heart and will prove that no matter where they come from and no matter what their socioeconomic status is, that children are all the same.

Debra SCHOENBERGER is a talented photographer who has an eye for the perfect picture. Her photography is as real as it gets and because of this I am rating this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ I received a free eBook copy of TO BE A CHILD through iRead Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Buy the book:   Website   Amazon



What was one of your most stressful moments?

I was in China preparing to board my train for Tibet when the Chinese government cancelled my visa to enter Tibet the day before I was to leave due to political activities in Tibet at the time.  My travel plans were to cross through China by train and into Tibet and exit through Nepal and on to India.  Not only would I have missed my Tibetan expedition, I would have to re-do the remainder of my travel plans.   At the very last minute, I was allowed to go through although the Americans in my group were not.  Phew!

What was one of the funniest thing that happened to you?

I was shooting a family session where all three generations were deaf.  I am able to sign so everything was going well.  One of the members asked if they could take some pictures with the family dog as well.  I always think this is a good idea so as I was semi-kneeling on the floor setting up my next shot, a very exuberant retriever bounds into the room and knocks me flat on my back and my legs go flying in the air.  Now this in itself is not so bad, but I was wearing a skirt at the time!

How did you bang up your knees?

In Mongolia there pretty much aren’t any washrooms unless you stay in a tourist tent camp.  One night, at 2:00 in the morning I was walking to my tent (there were no lights and I forgot to wear my headlamp) and I was admiring the stars as I walked.  I hit a piece of cement and fell flat on both knees on a rock and then fell flat on my face and hit my ribs.  Talk about klutz!  There aren’t many doctors in Mongolia so I waited until I got home to get medical treatment.  I’m ok now.  Still klutzy though… (Note to self:  admire the Milky Way standing still!)

(In her own words)

TO BE A CHILD AUTHOR Debra Schoenberger

Debra Schoenberger aka #girl with camera

“My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fuelled my curiosity for the world around me.

I am a documentary photographer and street photography is my passion. Some of my images have been chosen by National Geographic as editor’s favourites and are on display in the National Geographic museum in Washington, DC.  I also have an off-kilter sense of humour so I’m always looking for the unusual.  Plus I usually have a lot of scars on my knees. ​(sigh…)

I live with my creative director, Miss Pickles (my budgie) in Victoria, BC.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter  Facebook

Connect with the photographer’s website:   Website

iRead Website new logo (2)

Feb 1 –   Corinne Rodriguez – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Feb 1 –   Amie’s Book Reviews – review / author interview / giveaway
Feb 2 –   Giraffe Days – review
Feb 2 –   Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
Feb 3 –   Collecting Moments – review
Feb 4 –   Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
Feb 5 –   Collecting Moments – guest post
Feb 8 –   T’s Stuff – review / guest post / giveaway 
Feb 9 –   Room With Books – review / author interview / giveaway
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TURIN AND ME by Elaine Bertolotti – BOOK REVIEW

Cover image obtained from

Cover image obtained from


Author: Elaine Bertolotti

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Non-Fiction, Travel Memoir

Length: 60 pages

Release Date: October 1, 2014

Publisher: Matteo Victor Parnigiani

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the second book in Elaine Bertolotti’s … And Me series. It is the story of an American girl from Brooklyn living in the province of Turin, Italy.

The first book in the series was the story of Elaine’s time living in Florence. In this book she is married and living in the town of Almese in the region of Piedmont in the province of Turin.

After leaving Florence to return to the United States, she spent two years back in the States before the irresistible urge to return to Italy overcame her.

Piedmont is the second largest region in Italy, with Sicily being the largest. It is surrounded on three sides by the Alps and Monte Rosa and borders France and Switzerland. The capitol city is Turin.

Even though Elaine had learned to speak Italian while living in Florence, she discovered that different regions of Italy had their own dialects and once again she had to learn a new way of speaking. Her husband is a native if Italy, but he comes from a different region, so the local dialect was new to him as well.

Since the couple decided to settle in a small town, it was inevitable that she would become well known. In fact, all the town residents simply referred to her as The Americana.

Once Elaine enrolled her daughter in the local nursery school and the local residents learned that her grandparents were born in Italy they started to accept her.

She goes on to describe many aspects of her life which are sure to make readers wish they could move there themselves.

Elaine should receive kickbacks from the Italian Tourism Board since her writing is sure to bring tourists to their country.

The book includes many humorous anecdotes which are destined to elicit chuckles from readers.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.



Elaine Bertolotti was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her grandparents had been born in Italy and it was this connection that drew her to want to live in Italy.

To learn more visit

* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review


FLORENCE AND ME by Elaine Bertolotti


* I received a free electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

This book is a relatively short travel memoir. I am an avid traveller myself and always keep a journal during my trips so I am always interested in reading memoirs of other people’s adventures. I suppose it is a way to learn about new places in a personal way. Travel websites are too dry to hold any appeal for me and it is through memoirs that I have added many places that I would like to visit onto my bucket list.

A good travel memoir is about experiences rather than places. “Florence and Me” is such a memoir. The author’s love of, and passion for Florence comes across on every page.

The cover of this book states “How the city of Florence befriended an American girl from Brooklyn.” The book delivers exactly that story in an interesting and very readable manner. The events in this book took place in the 1970’s and even though this was many years ago, the story still feels fresh.

I enjoyed the conversational style the author uses in this book. I actually laughed out loud when I read the following line: ” If I didn’t know a word, it didn’t daunt me, I invented. Pushare was my version of to push. I generally bought a frama for a painting, a spoona for my coffee, and put lots of cheesa on my spaghetti.”

The only complaint I have about this book is that there are a few minor proof-reading errors. An example of this is: ” Upstairs, lived a young Greek couple who was studying Architecture at the University.” Instead of “was” it should say “were”.

I rate this travel memoir as 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you enjoy reading about the adventures of others, you will enjoy “Florence and Me” by Elaine Bertolotti.

To find out more about this author, visit her online at


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