THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING by Award Winning Hmong-American Children’s Author KAO KALIA YANG and Illustrated by the Incomparable KHAO LE – a multi-award-winning Vietnamese artist is based on the author’s own childhood. This Family may not have much money, but they have something better – A LOT OF LOVE – Available to Pre-Order Now!!!

One of the most beautiful children’s book covers

Title: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING

Author: KAO KALIA YANG 

Illustrator: KHOA LE

Genre: CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST, FAMILIES, MULTIPLE GENERATIONS

Length: 32 PAGES

Publisher: CAROLHODA BOOKS – A Division of LERNER PUBLISHING GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 6, 2020

ISBN: 9781541561915 (Hardcover)

Price: $17.99 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Drawn from author Kao Kalia Yang’s childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, this moving picture book portrays a family with a great deal of love and little money.

Weaving together Kalia’s story with that of her beloved grandmother, the book moves from the jungles of Laos to the family’s early years in the United States.

When Kalia becomes unhappy about having to do without and decides she wants braces to improve her smile, it is her grandmother―a woman who has just one tooth in her mouth―who helps her see that true beauty is found with those we love most.

Stunning illustrations from Vietnamese illustrator Khoa Le bring this intergenerational tale to life.

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MY REVIEW:

MOST BEAUTIFUL REVIEW & LINKS

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL is a gorgeously illustrated,  intergenerational, story about a Hmong-American family who left their ancestral homeland in hopes of a better life.

The story is told from a young girl’s point of view. Her family home includes her parents, her siblings and her grandmother.

As the child gets older, she will occasionally ask for something expensive from her parents. However, despite the fact that they worked hard, there was no money left over for extras. Her Grandmother is always around and tells stories of her own childhood and the hardships she faced. Obviously, the grandmother’s situation was much more dire than that of the narrator.

The author has perfectly captured the aging of both the young girl and her grandmother. She also conveys the child’s emotional intelligence and her maturity levels with perfect ease.

The illustrations in this book are nothing short of brilliant. In fact, I would love it if the artist offered prints of each of her layouts. I, for one, would 100% purchase them.

I should rate this book as 5 Stars, however I felt the ending could have been better. However, please DO NOT let this deter you from buying this book. We need more books from diverse and multicultural authors. It is imperative that children have access to books they can personally relate to. Also, children from other cultures should be exposed at a young age to books from diverse backgrounds.

Books such as THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING are important in a multitude of ways. I am rating this book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. She holds degrees from Carleton College and Columbia University. Yang is the author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir winner of the 2009 Minnesota Book Awards in Creative Nonfiction/Memoir and Readers’ Choice, a finalist for the PEN USA Award in Creative Nonfiction, and the Asian Literary Award in Nonfiction.

The book is a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read title and on the roster of the American Place Theatre’s Literature to Life Program.

Her second book, The Song Poet won the 2016 Minnesota Book Award in Creative Nonfiction Memoir, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Chautauqua Prize, a PEN USA Award in Nonfiction, and the Dayton’s Literary Peace Prize. The story has been commissioned as a youth opera by the Minnesota Opera and will premiere in the spring of 2021.

Yang’s debut children’s book, A Map Into the World is a American Library Association Notable Book of the Year, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, winner of the Northstar Best Illustrator Award, and now a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

Her co-edited collection titled What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Indigenous Women and Women of Color is a groundbreaking work that centers the poetry and prose of women whose voices have been neglected and silenced on the topic despite the fact they experience these losses disproportionately. The book was one of the ten best books of the fall of 2019 by the Star Tribune and forty other national papers.

In 2020, Yang will publish her second children’s book The Shared Room, a collective memoir about refugee lives, Somewhere in the Unknown World, and another book for children, The Most Beautiful Thing.

Kao Kalia Yang is also a teacher and a public speaker.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://kaokaliayang.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

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ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Khoa Le has illustrated picture books published in a number of different countries.

She is also an author, a graphic designer, and a painter. Khoa has a passion for travel, an eagerness to learn about different cultures, and a desire to discover the beauty of the world.

Her inner moth makes her attracted to any source of light, but her dream is to one day see the northern lights.

She lives in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, with her five cats.

She is the winner of the Grand Prize Samsung KidsTime Authors Award 2015 (Singapore) and the second runner up of The Scholastic Picture Book Award 2017 (Singapore).

Khoa also has a passion for travel, an eagerness to learn about different cultures, and a desire to discover the beauty of the world.

To read an interview with Khoa Le click HERE.

Freelance illustrator, graphic designer and painter based in HCMC, Vietnam

Graduated from HCMC University of Fine Art, Graphic design department

Exhibitions:

Exhibition of Graphic Design Department, HCMc University of fine art 2008 -Group exhibition Myth and sleepwalker, digital art 2008

Group exhibition Small 2009 -Biennale of the young artist 2009 (group exhibition)

Solo exhibition Unravel 2010

Group exhibition Cyber space 2010

Group exhibition My sister, San art 2011.

Group exhibition Eperantopolis 2011 – Group exhibition Art Expo Malaysia 2012

Asia Contemporary Art Show, Hong Kong 2012, group exhibition

To learn more about this highly talented Illustrator visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://khoale.daportfolio.com

GOODREADS

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Artwork by Khoa Le
Artwork by Khoa Le

HANDS UP by Stephen Clark has been released and is a story that seems ripped from the headlines. You NEED to check out this book

Title: HANDS UP

Author: STEPHEN CLARK

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, SOCIAL THEMES

Length: 290 PAGES

Publisher: WiDō PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947966-20-8

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

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MY REVIEW:

This is a timely novel because of the very real increase in the number of police shootings of unarmed, young black men in the United States.

HANDS UP begins with Tyrell Wakefield being shot by rookie police officer Ryan Quinn. According to the police, the young man had punched Ryan’s older partner and was attempting to grab his gun.

However, Tyrell’s sister, Jade, finds that story very unlikely, as does her mother. So, Jade is determined to find out what really happened.

When Jade’s maternal Aunt turns Tyrell’s death into a #BlackLivesMatter rallying cry, the press get ahold of the story and it becomes bigger than Jade ever expected. It also brings an unexpected person back into the lives of Jade and the rest of her family and he is definitely NOT welcome.

Meanwhile, Ryan Quinn is horrified with what he has done. He never wanted to shoot anyone and he has never thought of himself as the racist monster he is being portrayed as. In fact, his police officer father was killed in the line of duty when Ryan was young, so he is accutely aware of the pain caused by losing a loved one to gun violence. Now, Ryan has a decision to make. Should he be loyal to the police and his partner? Or should he follow his heart and his conscience?

I enjoyed this book even more than I had anticipated. I had some idea of how the tale would unfold, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is not a predictable read and author Stephen Clark has created characters of depth and complexity.

In addition to the obvious issue of police shootings, several other social issues are also part of this story. In my opinion, this makes the story seem even more realistic. Police shootings do not happen in a vacuum and there are almost always several factors that contribute to the tragedy.
In DON’T SHOOT, racism by the police is not the only problem. The area in which the shooting takes place is poverty-stricken due to lack of education and employment opportunities, gang violence, a lack of social programs and much more.

On top of the above problems, this story also talks about homelessness, single parenting, divorce, abandonment, addiction, cutting, and even suicide. The author does a fabulous job of describing these issues and how each of them has affected the lives of the characters, and how a single issue can affect different individuals in different ways.

With non-stop action, current events, exquisitely complicated characters and a twisting plot, HANDS UP is a fantastic and must read, newly released novel.

This IS most definitely a book worthy of being on your “To Read” list. In fact, I will not be surprised when HANDS UP becomes an award-winning novel.

I rate this book as 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would like to thank the author for sending me a copy of this book.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the Washington, D.C. bureau of FoxNews.com. As a reporter for the Utica Observer-Dispatch, he won a New York Newspaper Publishers Association Award of Distinguished Community Service for his investigation into the financial struggles of nonprofit services.

He also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for Investigative Reporting at the Stamford Advocate for his series exposing an elderly grifter’s charity organization.

Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son.

He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Arcadia University and a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ONE NURSE UNIVERSE by Susan Turnage, R.N. is a memoir written as a collection of tales of her 30 years as a nurse. Heart-warming, Heart-Breaking and Absolutely Hilarious – An awesome mix of stories you won’t want to miss

Title:ONE NURSE UNIVERSE

Subtitle: RECOLLECTIONS FROM THE BEDSIDE

Author: SUSAN TURNAGE, R.N.

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, HEALTH CARE

Length: 281 PAGES

Publisher: DOG EAR PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JUNE 10, 2019

ISBN: 9781457567421

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

My occupational memoir reveals one nurse’s bedside observations on where nurses come from, how we are educated, treated in the workplace and how we learn to do what can never be taught in a curriculum. When a patient vomits explosively onto your chest how you may unexpectedly vomit right back. How to explain to a deaf patient where a suppository goes while an audience of staff and visitors listen in from the hallway. How to collect your thoughts and make a plan when you arrive for a home care visit to find your elderly confused patient has ingested a full bottle of liquid laxative and left evidence of those results all over the walls, floor and Barco lounger in the home. It is where medical science meets nursing artistry. Where technology meets humanity. Where hearts open and wounds heal. Through selected vignettes, I recognize modern nurses’ courage to lean into discomfort and hard emotions. I acknowledge the power they hold in their healing hands and throw forward a lifeline of hope to renew their faith and joy in their vocation. And to my many non-nurse readers, come experience a nurse’s day; what we see, feel, hear and touch. Have a peek behind the bedside curtain.

MY REVIEW:

ONE NURSE UNIVERSE is a collection of anecdotes written by a retired registered nurse. These short stories run the gamut from heart wrenching and heart breaking to hilarious.

For a debut author to so skillfully write stories from her own life, it takes a knack for storytelling as well as an innate knowledge of which details need to be included and which can be left out.

I very much enjoyed the stories Nurse Susan has included in this memoir, and, as was inferred by the author, she no doubt has many more tales to tell. I hope this means that she is already working on her next collection of true stories. If so, I know I will definitely buy a copy.

I admit to being a bit thrown off by the cover, but once I discovered it was a picture drawn many years ago by her son (at age six) it made perfect sense as to why she chose to use that illustration for her book cover. Unfortunately, that might not be apparent to potential readers and I worry it might put them off. If so, they will miss out on a terrific anthology.

I rate ONE NURSE UNIVERSE as 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan Turnage is an RN, E-RYT200, RYT500, and a CYN- Certified YogaNurse®. She has clinical nursing experience in pediatric oncology, pediatric head injury, corrections, home health and case management.

She teaches weekly healing mat and chair yoga classes in her local communities of New Kent and Charles City, Virginia, to a multiethnic population of all abilities.

Susan also works as an art conservation technician, is a volunteer for the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences as a game fish tagger, is an instructor in a yoga teacher training program, creates one of a kind, themed jewelry, is a driftwood sculptor and a writer.

Her husband is an artist who creates porcelain pottery and is also a gardening guru and fishing enthusiast.

She has 2 treasured sons and an elderly German Shepherd.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://susanturnagebooks.com

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LINKEDIN
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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK – AUTHOR
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FACEBOOK – PUBLISHER .

INSTAGRAM
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TWITTER – PUBLISHER
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AMAZON
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CHAPTERS
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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
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YOGA NURSE ACADEMY

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New Release – TRUE PLACES by Sonja Yoerg is Now Available – This is the perfect book for your first Book Club choice for 2019.

Title: TRUE PLACES

Author: SONJA YOERG

Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 347 PAGES

Publisher: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 1, 2019

ISBN: 9781503904781

Price: $24.95 USD

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A girl emerges from the woods, starved, ill, and alone…and collapses.

Suzanne Blakemore hurtles along the Blue Ridge Parkway, away from her overscheduled and completely normal life, and encounters the girl. As Suzanne rushes her to the hospital, she never imagines how the encounter will change her—a change she both fears and desperately needs.

Suzanne has the perfect house, a successful husband, and a thriving family. But beneath the veneer of an ideal life, her daughter is rebelling, her son is withdrawing, her husband is oblivious to it all, and Suzanne is increasingly unsure of her place in the world. After her discovery of the ethereal sixteen-year-old who has never experienced civilization, Suzanne is compelled to invite Iris into her family’s life and all its apparent privileges.

But Iris has an independence, a love of solitude, and a discomfort with materialism that contrasts with everything the Blakemores stand for—qualities that awaken in Suzanne first a fascination, then a longing. Now Suzanne can’t help but wonder: Is she destined to save Iris, or is Iris the one who will save her?

MY REVIEW:

Forty-two-year-old Suzanne Blakemore has the perfect life. She lives in a stunning house that could easily be featured in a magazine. She has a husband named Whit whose career is thriving, and she has both a son and a daughter; the perfect nuclear family.

One day she is driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stops to take in the scenery. She notices something out of place and is shocked to discover a girl burning with fever and all alone.

Suzanne rushes her to the hospital and discovers that the girl, despite her diminutive stature, is sixteen years old. Her name is Iris, and like a modern day version of Mowgli from the Jungle Book, she has never experienced civilization.

Unable to find any living family members, Suzanne welcomes Iris into the home and lives of her family members. She believes that she is saving Iris, but as the story evolves, it seems likely that it just might be the other way around.

As a mother who has experienced both the joys and the challenges of raising teenagers, I was able to relate to Suzanne. Her whole life is, and has always been, about taking care of the children and ensuring that their busy lives run as smoothly as possible. It is easy to lose sight of yourself and your own wants and needs when you are too busy to even notice that you are not feeling fulfilled.

Author Sonja Yoerg has immense talent for description, and as a mother I found the following quote one that I understood completely.

“… That morning Brynn had leveled her with a look so contemptuous Suzanne had been certain her daughter was possessed.”

What parent of a teenager has not had the exact same thought? The answer is: none that I know of.

Set in and around the gorgeous the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, the author paints a beautiful picture of the area where this story takes place. Readers find themselves immersed in not only the sights, but also in the sounds and even the smells of the region. The author’s love of the area is obvious and shines through in every description.

Released only four days ago on January first, this book is a terrific choice for one to begin the New Year with and is especially perfect for Book Clubs.

I rate TRUE PLACES as 4.5 Stars out 5, but will round up so the rating is 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

In the back of the book the author has included a discussion guide which is perfect for those who choose TRUE PLACES as a selection for their book club.

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SONJA YOERG grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge.

She earned a PhD in biological psychology from the University of California, Berkeley; and wrote a nonfiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox, before deciding it was more fun to make things up.

Her previous novels are House Broken, The Middle of Somewhere, and All the Best People.

Sonja lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

LINKEDIN

AMAZON

BOOKBUB

CHAPTERS

The Blue Ridge Mountains

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QUOTES:

“Reality offered unvarnished truths…”

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“Her stomach churned a slurry of acid and grief, her soul limp… Mama was gone.”

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“That was, in fact, what time was: a narrow container for a relentless succession of tasks.”

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“Time was a squeezing bitch. It never expanded, never gave up any slack…”

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“How could an expression that hateful, and directed at Suzanne, appear on the face of the child who had once – no, hundreds of times – looked upon her mother with love so pure it made her life … almost too beautiful to bear?”

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“No one gives in without giving something up, and nothing is given up without cost.”

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QUICK NOTE:

The author mentions a “Tulip Tree” in the book and I had never heard of this type of tree before. I live in Ontario, Canada and as far as I know, we do not have those trees where I live.

Anyway, I was intrigued, so I searched online and found some pictures and information about this tree on Wikipedia.

For those who are interested, here are some photographs of the Tulip Tree (obtained from Wikipedia):

#2019AtoZChallenge

#GingerMoms

https://gingermomreads.com/2019-challenges/2019-atoz-challenge/

THE HIDDEN VILLAGE BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, INTERVIEWS AND MORE 4.5 Stars for this HISTORICAL FICTION EPIC.

Author: Imogen Matthews

Narrator: Liam Gerrard

Length: 9 hours and 48 minutes

Publisher: I M Associates

Released: May 31, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Wartime Holland.

Whom can you trust?

Deep in the Veluwe woods lies Berkenhout, a purpose-built village of huts sheltering dozens of
persecuted people. But the Germans can find no proof of its existence. The whole community
pulls together to help the Berkenhout inhabitants adjust to a difficult new life and, above all, stay
safe.

Sofie, a Jewish Dutch girl, struggles to adapt to living in Berkenhout, away from her family and
friends. As weeks turn to months, she’s worried they’ll abandon her altogether. Young tearaway
Jan likes to help, but he also enjoys roaming the woods looking for adventure and fallen pilots.

His dream comes true, until he is found out. Henk is in charge of building the underground huts
and organizing provisions to Berkenhout, but his contact with the Germans arouses suspicions.

Whom can you trust? All it takes is one small fatal slip to change the course of all their lives forever.


Imogen Matthews is English and lives in the beautiful University town of Oxford.

Before she wrote The Hidden Village, she published two romantic fiction e-novels under her pen name, Alex Johnson.

The Hidden Village is published by Amsterdam
Publishers, based in the Netherlands.
Imogen has strong connections with the Netherlands.

Born in Rijswijk to a Dutch mother and English father, the family moved to England when Imogen was very young.
Every year since 1990, Imogen has been on family
holidays to Nunspeet on the edge of the Veluwe woods.

It was here that she discovered the story of the hidden village, and together with her mother’s vivid stories of life in WW2 Holland, she was inspired to
write her next novel.

Narrator Bio


Liam is an Irish born voice-artist with over 10 years experience
working in every field of the voice industry. His recent varied audiobook work includes the
‘Deception of a Highlander’ series of 3 books, Little Caesar for Audible, A Christmas Carol, The
Tempest and Aviation Training. His regular corporate voice-clients include: Shell, BP, HMRC,
HSBC, Hilton, Mondelez, Cadburys, Green & Blacks and many more. He has performed
many radio-plays, narrations, animations and documentaries; from the Keith Moon biography to
most Shakespeare radio-plays.

He is also an Associate Lecturer in Broadcast Voice
and ‘Acting for Radio’ at Sheffield Hallam University.

He is a communication skills specialist and examiner
for the Royal College of Psychiatry, Royal College of Surgeons, Royal Scottish College of
Surgery and as such is highly fluent in complicated medical reads with Latin
pronunciations.

He is also a highly acclaimed stage and screen actor.
He studied at Lancaster University and then as a classically trained actor at Mountview. He
spent his formative years in the Middle-East which has given him an understanding of different
accents and cultures and is able to perform many accents to a native standard; including most
UK regions, most Irish regions, most of Europe, Australia and North America, (hillbilly, New
York, mid-Atlantic, San Francisco, Chicago, etc.) and is also able to create wildly inventive
characters. He has lent his voice to some of the zaniest cartoons and animations written, from
grumpy old wizards, to heroes, to South-American monkeys and even a sea-horse with a
Scottish accent!

He is currently the youngest actor to play the lead role
of Prospero in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ in London’s West–End. His recent production of
Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh won 4 prestigious Critics Choice Awards. He has worked for the most renowned theatre companies; from The Royal
Exchange Theatre (2 Manchester theatre award nominations) to most regional theatres
throughout the UK, including Alan Aykbourn’s SJT, New Vic, Oldham Coliseum, Donmar,
Dukes, Nottingham Playhouse, Theatre by the Lake and many more. He also played Jerry in
‘Hollyoaks’ and appeared alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones in the Hollywood feature film ‘Death
Defying Acts’. His wide-ranging experience has also seen him perform Opera in ‘Rigoletto’.

In his spare time Liam is also a musician, playing violin,
drums, piano and percussion, and spends time with Peg, his Springer Spaniel, out in the Peak
District whenever he can get away from the studio!

Set in Holland during Hitler’s reign of terror, this book is unlike any I have read before. I expected it to be similar to “The Diary of Anne Frank” in that the entire tale would take place indoors, however, I was thankfully wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, I loved reading Anne Frank’s diary, it’s just that since then I have read numerous accounts of people in similar situations and I am ready for something different, something I have never heard about, or something completely new.

I had never heard of anything so daring as trying to hide an entire village full of people in a forest. It shocked me that THE HIDDEN VILLAGE was based on a true story.

The author has done a great job of crafting a tale that centers on the people’s lives, rather than on the war itself. Any violence portrayed in this story is there with a purpose – that of moving the story forward.

I was greatly impressed by the narrator and his ability to create and maintain distinct voices for such a large number of characters. His pacing was perfect and he used inflection to create mood. I rate his performance as 5 out of 5 Stars.

I highly recommend this story to anyone who loves not only historical fiction, but a great drama. I think that buying this book in audio book format is the best way to experience this tale.

I rate THE HIDDEN VILLAGE audio book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a
blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Essential
Audiobooks. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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  • Was a possible audiobook recording something
    you were conscious of while writing?

    • Absolutely not! I didn’t even know it would be possible. In
      some ways I’m pleased I wasn’t thinking about how The Hidden Village would sound as it might
      have inhibited my writing. I had a clear idea of how the characters sounded in my head and they
      shaped my writing. However, having turned The Hidden Village into an audiobook, I’m more mindful of how the words will be spoken as I’m writing my next novel (also set in Holland in
      WW2).
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I was introduced to my narrator, Liam Gerrard, through
      Catherine O’Brien, CEO of Essential Audiobooks. After reading and becoming very enthusiastic
      about my novel, she suggested that Liam would be the perfect narrator for the job as he had
      experience in narrating World War 2 novels, has a fantastic CV as an actor and voiceover artist
      and has his own recording studio. It gave me the confidence that he would do an excellent job. I
      asked him to do me an audition of the first chapter which we then discussed in detail, so that he
      could understand what I was looking for in terms of characterisation, pace and style.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before
    and during the recording process?

    • Most of my involvement took place at the beginning of the
      project. Once he began recording for real, he didn’t get in touch with me at all until he’d
      completed the job. I was slightly nervous that I might need to ask him to rerecord sections, but it
      wasn’t necessary. Listening to his narration the first time through, I was amazed at how he’d
      interpreted my writing and really brought the story to life.
  • Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special
    insight into the characters?

    • I made some voice files for Liam which describe the
      characters as well as the pronunciation of Dutch and German words and phrases, names and
      place names. We went through these meticulously and Liam even noticed a couple I’d missed!
      His attention to detail was extraordinary. He had really read and understood the story which
      comes out strongly in his narration.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your
    writing?

    • The Hidden Village is based on a real place in Holland
      which I discovered on one of my many cycling holidays in the area. Deep in the Veluwe woods
      is a memorial to the local people who had risked their lives to help Jews hide from the Germans
      by building a village of underground huts. Not only that, they brought in food, clothing,
      medicines and all other necessities all the time that the German soldiers were patrolling the
      woods looking for Jews in hiding. It was an extraordinary feat and the Dutch community almost
      got away with it. I came across a Dutch book with interviews of people who had lived in the area
      at the time, including those who had helped with the building of the village and others who’d
      gone to live there. It is the determination and courage of these people in the face of evil that
      interested me most.
    • My mother was Dutch and I grew up hearing about her
      experiences and stories of survival during the Hunger Winter in 1944-45. Food ran out, people
      starved to death but my mother and family survived because she cycled into the bulbfields and
      dug up tulip bulbs which they boiled as their only source of nutrition. Her stories were both
      horrifying and uplifting – she was a young woman at the time and often said that she’d found the
      war to be an exciting time. This is what made me want to have young people as my main
      character.
  • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do
    you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

    • I so wanted to get this story down as it’s about my own
      personal history and the place I love to visit most. I visit Nunspeet in Holland with my husband
      and other family members at least once a year and when I’m back in the woods the words really
      flow again.
  • Are you an audiobook listener? What about the
    audiobook format appeals to you?

    • I have to confess I’d never listened to an audiobook before
      my own! (I know, shame on me!). Now, I’ve been through the process, I appreciate just how
      brilliant an audiobook can be. I’ve started listening in the car, grabbing a chapter or two on short
      journeys and more on longer ones and have a feeling that I’m getting my reading in without having to pick up a book. I still love reading books as well and think the two are very
      complementary.

Sep. 6th:
Dab of Darkness
Audiobook Reviews

Amie’s
Book Reviews

Sep. 7th:
T’s Stuff
The Book Junkie Reads . . .
Sep. 8th:
Inspiration
Clothesline

Sep. 9th:
Jazzy
Book Reviews

Sep. 10th:
What Is That
Book About

Sep. 11th:
Lomeraniel
Sep. 12th:
Working
Mommy Journal

The
Book Addict’s Reviews

➜Sign up as a host <_ theaudiobookworm.us13.list-manage1.com=”theaudiobookworm.us13.list-manage1.com” subscribeu=”7b9c20bd11606d7d9226712e2&id=fc8d9118ee””>here

SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS by Alisha Sevigny is the Young Adult equivalent to a Nicholas Sparks book. It is the perfect beach read.

Title: SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS

Author: ALISHA SEVIGNY

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT, ENVIRONMENTAL

Length: 264 PAGES

Publisher: KIDS CAN PRESS

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: MAY 1, 2018

Ages: 14 – 18

Grades: 9 – 12

ISBN: 978-1-77138-929-7 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0043-1 (Paperback)

Price: $17.99 USD / $18.99 CDN (Hardcover)

Price: $10.99 USD / $12.99 CDN (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Julia is so ready for summer. Now that her little brother has finally recovered from a serious illness, all she wants to do is enjoy peak season at the lakeside campground her family owns.

Then Julia’s Mom completely blindsided her: a wealthy developer thinks their campground property is the perfect spot for a casino. They have to consider the offer, Julia’s Mom says, because of their crushing medical bills.

Leave the lake? The only home she’s ever known? Heartbroken and afraid, Julia takes her telescope down to the dock one night, seeking solace in the stars.

That’s when she has a chance encounter with Nick, a hot guy who offers some surprisingly sage advice.

Too bad this guitar-strumming stranger is the developer’s son…

As plans for the sale move forward, Julia is desperate to find a way out. Nick, in turn, is desperate to separate himself from his family’s business. Together, he promises, they can save the campground.

But can Julia trust him to conspire against his own father? And could she ever trust him with her heart?

MY REVIEW:

The cover for this wonderful young adult novel evokes thoughts of warm summer nights and burgeoning young love. The cover is 100% perfect for this story.

Poor Julia. In the first chapter alone we discover that just after graduating from high school, her best friend is leaving for the entire summer. Add to that the fact the guy she’s had a crush on since age twelve,and with whom she had gotten close the summer before, has arrived at the campground with his gorgeous new girlfriend in tow. Pile that on top of the fact that she’s worried about her nine year old brother Caleb’s health since he is recovering from a serious bout of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. In fact, it had been so serious that Caleb had spent months hooked up to machines and tubes. And, worst of all, because of their outrageous medical bills, her mother is seriously considering selling their family campground to a developer who wants to erect a casino on the site. All in all, Julia is having a really crappy week.

As Julia seeks comfort from the stars, readers will start to realize just how amazing and special the campground property is.

If you have never been so far into the wilderness that there was no light pollution at all, you are missing out on an incredible experience. Those of us who have been there, will recognize the author’s authenticity. It is impossible to fake a proper description of the vastness of the summer sky at night if you’ve never seen it with your own eyes. This setting is the perfect place for romance to bloom.

The characters are three dimensional and have real world problems. Yes, there is a rich boy, but the main character is a normal girl.

Although the storyline is not rocket-science, it isn’t supposed to be. This is a feel good tale about overcoming adversity when the odds are stacked against you, with a side of young love that will have teen readers sighing with anticipation and older readers looking back at that time in their lives with nostalgia.

I rate this book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and recommend it to readers looking for a book that can be read in a single weekend or for the perfect vacation or beach read.

**I received a free copy of this book from the author.**

My favorite quote from SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS:

“A book always has value, even when it is old and worn.”

*** Alisha is also the author of KISSING FROGS which she discusses in the following video:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Alisha Sevigny holds a degree in Professional Writing and Sociology from the University of Victoria, is a film school graduate, former literary agent and hot yoga lover. A shameless romantic, Alisha and her husband have travelled the world together. On a trip to Panama she fell in love with the country, culture, and their national emblem, the Golden Frog and was inspired to write her first Young Adult novel, KISSING FROGS.

Her second book, SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS is about a young woman fighting to save her family campground while trying not to fall in love, comes out May 1, 2018 with KCP Loft.

Born and raised in Kitimat, British Columbia, Alisha has always had a strong connection to the environment and conservationist spirit. She now lives in Toronto with her family.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

WATTPAD

YOUTUBE

CHAPTERS

AMAZON

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

LIAR’S GIRL by Catherine Ryan Howard releases in February. Mark your calendars and be sure to grab a copy of this engrossing thriller on release day.

Title: THE LIAR’S GIRL

Author: CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD   

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES & THRILLERS

Length: 322 PAGES

Publisher: BLACKSTONE PUBLISHING  

Type of Book: HARDCOVER

Received From: NETGALLEY        

Release Date: FEBRUARY 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5047-8254-8

Price: $24.99 USD (HARDCOVER)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 


DESCRIPTION
:

Will Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin’s elite St. John’s College—and Ireland’s most prolific serial killer. Having stalked his four young victims, he drowned them in the muddy waters of the Grand Canal. Sentenced to life imprisonment when he was just nineteen, Will is locked away in the city’s Central Psychiatric Hospital.

Freshman Sally-Anne Smith moved to the Big Smoke to enroll in St. John’s and soon fell hard for Will Hurley. Her world bloomed … and then imploded when Liz, her best friend, became the latest victim of the Canal Killer—and the Canal Killer turned out to be the boy who’d been sleeping in her bed. Sally-Anne fled to the Netherlands, changed her name, and, in ten years, has never once looked back.

When a young woman’s body is found in the Grand Canal, Garda detectives visit Will to see if he can assist them in solving what looks like a copycat killing. Instead, Will tells them he has something new to confess—but there’s only one person he’s prepared to confess it to.

The last thing Sally-Anne wants is to be pulled back into the past she’s worked so hard to leave behind. Reluctantly, she returns to the city she hasn’t set foot in for more than a decade to face the man who murdered the woman she was supposed to become.

Only to discover that, until now, Will has left out the worst part of all …  


MY REVIEW
:

The fear brought about by the “Canal Killer” will infect readers of this psychological thriller. It will have you constantly looking over your shoulder when walking alone at night.

Despite the fact that it has been ten years since Will was arrested and convicted of the four murders, Sally-Anne wants to know why. Why kill anyone, and especially why would her boyfriend kill her best friend? It is with those questions in mind that she agrees to talk to Will and find out what he has to say to the police about the latest murder.

From that point until the very last page, readers will find themselves engrossed in this fast-paced, mind boggling mystery/thriller.

I thought I had the book all figured out early in the story, but I was wrong. This tale has so many twists and turns that readers will never be bored and will be unable to put this book down.

The author has a knack for character building and for making those characters come to life. It is inevitable that readers become invested in Sally-Anne’s life.

Secrets, murder, friendship, romance, terror, security, love, hate, jealousy, happiness, chills and thrills all abound in this psychological thriller that I rate as 4.5 out of 5 Stars.🌟🌟🌟🌟 I am very much looking forward to reading more books by author Catherine Ryan Howard.


**A special Thank You to Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book.**    


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


Catherine Ryan Howard was born in Cork, Ireland, in 1982.   

Prior to writing full time, Catherine worked as a campsite courier in France and a front-desk agent in a hotel in Walt Disney World, Florida, and most recently as a social media marketer for a major publisher.

She is currently studying for a BA in English at Trinity College in Dublin.

To learn more about this Bestselling Author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE     

GOODREADS        

TWITTER        

FACEBOOK          

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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE   

To Sign up for Catherine’s Email Newsletter click
 HERE.
   




ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: 

Oregon-based audiobook publisher Blackstone has expanded into print with the launch of Blackstone Publishing, which releases classic and original contemporary titles in both print and e-book.   

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

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To follow my reviews, click on the “FOLLOW” link on my blog. 

You can also follow me on INSTAGRAM @Amiesbookreviews  

Or on TWITTER @Amiesbookreview  


Mark Your 2018 Calendar for the release of FISH-BOY by Vanita Oelschlager – AN INUIT FOLK TALE Beautifully Illustrated 

Title: FISH-BOY    
Subtitle: AN INUIT FOLK TALE    

Author: VANITA OELSCHLAGER

Illustrator: MIKE BLANC 

Genre: CHILDREN’S FICTION, MULTICULTURAL BOOKS, INUIT STORIES

Length: 25 PAGES     

Publisher: VANITA BOOKS
http://www.vanitabooks.com

Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-938164-20-0 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1- 938164-21-7 (Paperback)

Price: (HARDCOVER) $15.95 USD

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟
DESCRIPTION:  

The Arctic region of North America is a land of long days, icy cold, hardy people and peculiar creatures.  The Inuit people there have made traditional use of remarkable folk tales to find truth and explain the mysteries of an astonishing world.

In Fish-Boy, An Inuit Folk Tale, Vanita Oelschlager retells a tale passed down by a wise old Inuit. 

Fish-Boy is an origin story involving an odd young boy who has a big heart. On a journey with his new father, he must confront misfortune and the malice of cold hearted villagers.  But he has a way… and a lesson for all in the virtues of kindness and hospitality.

MY REVIEW:   

I have always been fascinated by folk-tales and those told by Aboriginal or Inuit storytellers are some of the very best.

 There were two main reasons that traditional Inuit stories were told. Firstly, stories were used to explain the world around them, and secondly, they were used to teach traditional values to the next generation.

The cover of this book is so beautifully illustrated that I was immediately drawn to it. I believe that children will be drawn to it as well. In fact, the illustration of the boy with the puffin on his head brings to mind Disney illustrations. Mike Blanc is obviously a very talented individual.

FISH-BOY is the story of “… why there are so many sea-parrots on the stony islands of the far North.” 

It is the story of a lame Inuit fisherman who one day saw a fish that was unlike anything he had seen before. “It appeared] to have a head like a man and feet behind its tail.” To the fisherman’s surprise, the fish spoke to him saying, “Do not spear me. I am not a fish. I am Fish-Boy … I have no parents, and I am very lonely. I want you to be my father.”

The fisherman was lame, but he had found a way to survive. He wasn’t sure what use an armless Fish-Boy would be, but out of kindness, he took him in and Fish-Boy became his son.

This act of kindness changed both their lives for the better and the pair had amazing adventures.

You will need to read this book to discover exactly what adventures they had, what trials and tribulations they faced and to discover how their story finally reveals the reason that there are so many sea-parrots on the stony islands today. I promise that this is a story worth reading.

I love that this book not only tells the story of Fish-Boy, but also includes details of traditional Inuit life. Also included at the back of the book are definitions of some of the story’s less commonly known words.

In addition to being a fantastic story, another wonderful thing about not only this book, but all books published by Vanita Books is that they donate ALL net profits to “charities where people help people help themselves.” Ten percent of the net profits for FISH-BOY will be donated to The Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis, the other ninety percent will go to other charities. 

I rate this book as 4.5 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

* Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 


VANITA OELSCHLAGER is a wife, mother, grandmother, philanthropist, former teacher, current caregiver, author and poet.

She is a graduate of the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as Trustee. Vanita is also Writer in Residence for the Literacy Program at the University of Akron.

She and her husband Jim received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2006. Vanita also won the Congressional Angels Adoption Award for the State of Ohio in 2007 and was named National Volunteer of the Year by the MS Society in 2008. 

 
To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE      

GOODREADS     

TWITTER        

FACEBOOK               

AMAZON               

CHAPTERS        


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: 


MIKE BLANC is an author and an award-winning illustrator of children’s literature.

His artwork has illuminated countless publications for both corporate and public interests, worldwide. Mike contributes creative direction and illustration.

He lives with his wife, Gail, in sunny Doylestown, Ohio. They enjoy their four children, and five grandchildren.

To learn more about this amazing illustrator, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE       

GOODREADS     

TWITTER         

LINKEDIN        

AMAZON         

CHAPTERS      

DOCTOR MARS by T.A. Uner – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

image
DOCTOR MARS

Author: T.A. Uner

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Elizabeth Phillips

Length: 1 hour and 8 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Release Date: June 10, 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review through Audiobook Blast dot com.

This is the first episode of the Mindcop Dossiers.

DOCTOR MARS is set in the future. The story takes place on the planet of Mars which, after a century of preparation is now fully colonized. In fact, Mars houses a population of five million.

Liberty Rise works for the MCPF (Mars Colony Police Force) as a part of the Mind Cop program. She is a mutant with a unique power which she uses to help solve crimes.

When the mutilated body of a technology student is discovered it is up to Liberty to solve the crime and maybe even save the planet at the same time.

Even though this audiobook is only just over one hour in length, I enjoyed it. It provides just enough details about the Mars Colony to intrigue listeners and to pique their interest in the rest of the series.

The end of this story paves the way for the rest of the series. It does not end on a cliffhanger, it is a completed story which is something I very much appreciate. It is frustrating when an audiobook ends in the middle of a story and the listener is left waiting for the next audiobook to be released in order to finish the story.

The author has done a great job with character development, especially in such a short length of time. Listeners will feel the emotions that Liberty experiences along with her. This is due in part to good writing and in part to excellent narration skills. I would rate the narration as 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Overall I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

HOUSE OF CRIMSON AND CLOVER – BLOG TOUR POST – NEW RELEASE

CCTour

The House of Crimson & Clover Box Set Volumes I-IV
by Sarah M. Cradit
The House of Crimson & Clover #1-5
Publication Date: August 17, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy

Tour: The House of Crimson & Clover Box Set Volumes I-IV by Sarah M. Cradit

Purchase on Amazon

The Sullivans, a family of hard-working Irish lawyers, came from nothing and built a life they can be proud of. The Deschanels amassed incredible wealth by siding with the North during the Civil War, betraying their people. Both New Orleans families have a dark and rich history, painted with secrets, treachery, and colorful, supernatural abilities.

The House of Crimson and Clover unravels the mysteries surrounding both families, pulling us further into their tangled, enigmatic lives.

Add to Goodreads

About Sarah M. Cradit

Sarah M. Cradit

Sarah is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Paranormal Southern Fiction series, The House of Crimson & Clover. The series was born of her combined loves of New Orleans, family dramas, and the mysterious nature of love and desire. Her books combine elements of paranormal, mystery, suspense, intrigue, and romance. She is always working on the next book in the series, and absolutely loves connecting with her fans.

Sarah lives in the Pacific Northwest, but has traveled the world from Asia to Europe to Africa. When she isn’t working (either at her day career, or hard at work at writing), she is reading a book and discovering new authors. The great loves of her life (in order) are: her husband James, her writing, and traveling the world.

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