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.

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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

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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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