FROM THE ASHES by Métis Canadian Author JESSE THISTLE has become One of my Favorite Books of All Time. ENTER TO WIN A COPY OF THIS BOOK. Open Worldwide

Title: FROM THE ASHES

Subtitle: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way

Author: JESSE THISTLE

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, ADDICTION, MENTAL HEALTH, MÉTIS, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, HOMELESSNESS

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: AUGUST 6, 2019

ISBN: 9781982101213

Price: $24.99 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

From the Ashes is a remarkable memoir about hope and resilience, and a revelatory look into the life of a Métis-Cree man who refused to give up.

Abandoned by his parents as a toddler, Jesse Thistle briefly found himself in the foster-care system with his two brothers, cut off from all they had known. Eventually the children landed in the home of their paternal grandparents, whose tough-love attitudes quickly resulted in conflicts. Throughout it all, the ghost of Jesse’s drug-addicted father haunted the halls of the house and the memories of every family member. Struggling with all that had happened, Jesse succumbed to a self-destructive cycle of drug and alcohol addiction and petty crime, spending more than a decade on and off the streets, often homeless. Finally, he realized he would die unless he turned his life around.

In this heart-warming and heart-wrenching memoir, Jesse Thistle writes honestly and fearlessly about his painful past, the abuse he endured, and how he uncovered the truth about his parents. Through sheer perseverance and education—and newfound love—he found his way back into the circle of his Indigenous culture and family.

An eloquent exploration of the impact of prejudice and racism, From the Ashes is, in the end, about how love and support can help us find happiness despite the odds.
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MY REVIEW:

FROM THE ASHES is written by the uber-talented Métis-Cree Canadian author JESSE THISTLE. This is a touching and incredibly honest  memoir written by the man most people believed would not live long enough to straighten out his life.

Those people have been proven wrong and FROM THE ASHES tells Jesse’s life story so far.

FROM THE ASHES by Jesse Thistle is one of the most well written and honest memoirs I have ever had the pleasure to read.

Jesse is a Métis Canadian and although he never once blames his situation on colonization, his story and the situations his family was forced into by the Canadian government are perfect illustrations of it’s cause and effect.

Jesse’s memoir is written with bone-jarring honesty and will get under the reader’s skin. Only a sociopath would be able to read this book and not feel the power of the written word.

This is the story of a young man who turned to drugs and alcohol to try to push down the pain he felt inside. It is a story that seems bleak at times, but ultimately shows the strength of the human spirit. It is the story of the struggle, literally, for Jesse’s survival.

Without giving away too much of Jesse’s story, I want potential readers to know that this memoir is one that will remain with them long, long after the final page. To go from homeless to becoming a celebrated memoirist is a feat worthy of legend.

Jesse Thistle might not agree, but I see him as a modern day Theseus, fighting his way out of the labyrinth of poverty and Addiction.

This book is one of my Top Ten Best Books of the Modern Era.

To win a softcover copy of this book, leave a comment on this post, then click HERE for ways to get additional entries into the Giveaway. OPEN WORLDWIDE. ENDS FEBRUARY 29, 2020.

You can also enter to win this book on my Instagram account: http://www.instagram.com/Amiesbookreviews
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photography Credit:
LUCIE THISTLE

JESSE THISTLE is Métis-Cree, from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

He is an assistant professor in Métis Studies at York University in Toronto.

He won a Governor General’s Academic Medal in 2016, and is a Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar and a Vanier Scholar.

He lives in Toronto with his wife, Lucie.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

AWARDS WON BY JESSE:

  • Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Award – Ph. D., Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation. 2016 – 2019 ($240,000; $40,000 per year of study, plus $20,000 annual research and travel budget).
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS SSHRC) – Ph.D., Canadian Institute of Health Research and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2016 – 2019 ($150,000 – $50,000 per year of study).
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) – Doctoral of Philosophy, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2016 – 2019 ($105,000 – $35,000 per year of study). (Declined because he took the Trudeau Award and the Vanier CGS SSHRC Award).
  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) – Master’s, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. 2015 ($17,500).
  • 2016 Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada Post-Secondary Student of the Year Award—Nation-wide. (Prestige).
  • Dan Watt Scholarship (Awarded to the Master’s level graduate student with the top GPA entering Waterloo’s Master’s program) – Master’s, Waterloo University. 2015 ($1,500).
  • President’s Graduate Scholarship, University of Waterloo, 2015 ($10,000).
  • Odessa Essay Prize for the Study of Canada (York University, university wide). 2015 ($1000).
  • The Robert J. Tiffin Student Leadership Award, York University. 2015 (Prestige: Name inscribed on Vari Hall Rotunda, Keele Campus).
  • The Dr. James Wu Prize Best Honours Thesis/Major Research Paper for York University’s 3rd Annual Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Fair 2015 ($1000).
  • Miziwe Biik: Aboriginal Education Award, 2015 ($1000), 2014 ($1000), 2013 ($2000).
  • Desmond Hart Memorial Essay Award Winner. History; York University, 4000 level, 2014 ($200).
  • Indispire: Building Better Indigenous Futures Post-Secondary Education Award, 2015 ($7500), 2014 ($5000), 2013 ($6900) & 2012 ($2000).
  • The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Essay Prize Winner, York University, 3000 level Anthropology, 2014 ($100).
  • York University Faculty Association Foundation Undergraduate (YUFA) Scholarship, highest cumulative grade point average in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. GPA 8.59 and Major GPA 8.73. 2014 ($3500).
  • International Scholar Laureate Nominee. Golden Key IHS: 2013.
  • Arthur Francis Williams Award in Canadian Studies, 2013 ($500).
  • Morris Krever History Prize Winner, History, York University. 2013 ($1000).
  • The Enbridge Inc. Scholarship Award, 2013 ($2365).
  • The Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Toronto Award Winner, History, York University. 2013 ($300).
  • William Westfall Canadian Studies Essay Prize, History, York University, 3000 level, 2013.
  • York PhD Graduate Scholarship, York University, 2017 ($3000).

Bursary Awards

  • York University Continuing Student Scholarship Bursary (given to students above 7.00 grade point average), 2014 ($768), 2013 ($576) & 2012 ($864).
  • Aboriginal PSET Bursary, York University, 2012 ($2600).
  • York University Undergrad Bursary, 2012 ($1010).

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TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOMELESSNESS AND/OR TO DOWNLOAD INFORMATION AS WELL AS LESSON PLANS, GO TO THE HOMELESS HUB:

SMACKED – A Story of White-Collar Ambition, Addiction and Tragedy by Award-winning Journalist EILENE ZIMMERMAN Coming Soon – A Story That Will Open People’s Eyes to the fact that Addiction Effects all Socioeconomic Classes and is NOT simply a ‘Poor People Problem’ – AN IMPORTANT AND TIMELY MEMOIR THAT IS A MUST READ FOR US ALL

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Title: SMACKED

Subtitle: A STORY OF WHITE-COLLAR AMBITION, ADDICTION, AND TRAGEDY

Author: EILENE ZIMMERMAN

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, ADDICTION

Length: 272 PAGES

Publisher: RANDOM HOUSE

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 4, 2020

ISBN: 9780525511007 (Hardcover)

Price: $27.00 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A journalist pieces together the mysteries surrounding her ex-husband’s unexpected death from drug abuse while trying to rebuild a life for her family, taking readers on an intimate journey into the white-collar drug epidemic

Something was wrong with Peter. Eilene Zimmerman noticed that her ex-husband looked thin, seemed distracted, and was frequently absent from activities with their children. She thought he looked sick and needed to see a doctor, and indeed, he told her he had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Yet in many ways, Peter seemed to have it all: a beautiful house by the beach, expensive cars, and other luxuries that came with an affluent life. Eilene assumed his odd behavior was due to stress and overwork—he was a senior partner at a prominent law firm and had been working more than sixty hours a week for the last twenty years.

Although they were divorced, Eilene and Peter had been partners and friends for decades, so when she and her children were unable to reach Peter for several days, Eilene went to his house to see if he was OK.

So begins Smacked, a brilliant and moving memoir of Eilene’s shocking discovery, one that sets her on a journey to find out how a man she knew for nearly thirty years became a drug addict, hiding it so well that neither she nor anyone else in his life suspected what was happening. Eilene discovers that Peter led a secret life, one that started with pills and ended with opioids, cocaine, and methamphetamine. He was also addicted to work; the last call Peter ever made was to dial in to a conference call.

Eilene is determined to learn all she can about Peter’s hidden life, and also about drug addiction among ambitious, high-achieving professionals like him. Through extensive research and interviews, she presents a picture of drug dependence today in that moneyed, upwardly mobile world. She also embarks on a journey to re-create her life in the wake of loss, both of the person—and the relationship—that profoundly defined the woman she had become.

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ADD ON GOODREADS

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MY REVIEW:

Part memoir, part exposé, SMACKED takes readers on a journey into the white-collar world of drug and work addiction.

When most people think about the Opiod Epidemic and even addiction in general, they incorrectly assume that the people involved must come from low-income communities and/or broken homes. This book proves just how wrong that assumption is.

Author EILENE ZIMMERMAN thought she knew everything there was to know about her ex-husband. After all, just because they had ended their marriage, didn’t mean they had ended their friendship. They were committed to providing as stable an environment as possible for their two teenage children. They were in constant communication and even attended important events, such as graduations, together.

So, when neither herself, nor the children, had heard from Peter for several days, Eilene went to check on him. What she found upon entering his home permanently changed her life and the lives of her children.

As a journalist, it was not surprising that her reaction to discovering her ex-husband’s drug addiction was to do research. What was surprising is what she uncovered. To find out all the details, you need to read SMACKED.

I am impressed with the writing style and how well the author is able to convey the details, including the emotions both she and her children were experiencing.

It is often difficult for memoir writers to be brutally honest about their experiences. Often, the desire to sugarcoat certain facts is given in to. EILENE ZIMMERMAN does NOT sugarcoat any details. This makes for a much more realistic and believable tale. She articulates her anguish with heart-wrenching clarity.

The fact that Eilene had believed all of Peter’s excuses for the changes in his behaviour in hindsight can clearly be seen as being caused by addiction. However, Eilene, as with others of a high socioeconomic status, had no experience with drug addiction and as such, the idea of it had never crossed her mind.

The more Eilene researched, the more she learned and what she was uncovering shook her worldview. She knew she needed to let other people know just how prevalent addiction is in high achievers. This discovery led to her writing an article for the New York Times which in turn, led to the writing of SMACKED.

Everyone should read this book and it should be required reading for new lawyers, stock brokers, and others who occupy high stress jobs.

I rate SMACKED as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eilene Zimmerman has been a journalist for three decades, covering business, technology, and social issues for a wide array of national magazines and newspapers.

She was a columnist for The New York Times Sunday Business section for six years, and since 2004 has been a regular contributor to the newspaper.

In 2017, Zimmerman also began pursuing a master’s degree in social work.

She lives in New York City.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK – PUBLISHER

ABOUT ME WEBSITE

TWITTER – AUTHOR

TWITTER – PUBLISHER

TWITTER – PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

MEDIUM.COM

LINKEDIN

MUCK RACK

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

LIBRO FM AUDIOBOOKS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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“Addiction is a pervasive problem among lawyers,” says Doron Gold, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and former practising lawyer who helped develop the CBA’s online course on mental health and wellness in the legal profession.

– Obtained From THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE

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“The most important thing I want everyone to know is that addiction does not discriminate. What happened to me can easily happen to anyone of you. Guaranteed, someone close to you is struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse.”

Corey Phair

Quote Obtained From: THE POST ARTICLE FOUND HERE

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Click HERE to listen to a short interview with the Author describing her story.

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THE WIVES by Best-Selling Author TARRYN FISHER will be released December 30th A psychological thriller that will BLOW YOUR MIND

Title: THE WIVES

Author: TARRYN FISHER

Genre: FICTION, SUSPENSE, PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

Length: 320 PAGES

Publisher: HARPER COLLINS

Received From: THE PUBLISHER via GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS

Release Date: DECEMBER 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-525-80978-1

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?

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MY REVIEW:

“What has happened to me? How have I become this docile person, living for Thursdays and the love of a man who divides himself so thinly among three women? If you’d told nineteen-year-old me that this would be my life, she’d have laughed in your face.”

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Our protagonist’s name is Thursday. She is a grown woman with a nursing career. She is in decent shape and has large breasts which she knows draw men’s attention, and they are real, not fake. She owns a condo and has renovated and decorated it. She has a husband who adores her and their sex life is amazing.

Her life sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Well, what if you now add in the fact that your loving husband has two more wives. Would you still see her life as a good one?

Thursday does. She has never had an issue with the fact that her husband, Seth, has three wives. He was honest about it right from the beginning of their relationship.

But, it’s human nature to be curious and when she finds a piece of paper in the pocket of his pants that contains the name Hannah, she decides to find out more about her.

Sometimes it is better not to snoop. Once you discover something, you can’t ‘un-know’ it.

Thursday strikes up a friendship with Hannah who does not know that she and Thursday are married to the same man. Or are they? Did Thursday get it wrong?

As the story progresses readers will doubt everything they thought they knew and maybe that is a good thing – or maybe not!!!

This is a psychological thriller of the highest caliber and will no doubt be on many bestseller lists and will more than likely receive multiple literary awards.

I would love to be able to peek inside the brain of author TARRYN FISHER. I imagine it would be a vast and terrifying place full of paths that twist, turn and even double back around each other.

I rate THE WIVES as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Make sure to write down DECEMBER 30th so that you can pick up your copy as soon as it is released. Or, better yet, pre-order your copy from your favorite bookstore now!

****Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with an ARC copy of this book.****

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FAVORITE QUOTE:
“Secrets: I’m good at having them and keeping them.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tarryn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

She lives in Seattle with her children and husband.

Her heart is dark but she loves you with it anyway.

Tarryn is the founder of Guise of the Villain, a fashion blog, and has written twelve published novels.

Tarryn is a Slytherin.

According to Dictionary.com

What does Slytherin mean?

Slytherin is one of the four houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
Each house has a set of traits and characteristics associated with it, and those in Slytherin are known for being ambitious, cunning, and resourceful.
Slytherins are also sometimes regarded as being evil thanks to the fact that many of the most sinister witches and wizards have been associated with this house.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.tarrynfisher.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

INSTAGRAM – GUISE OF THE VILLAIN

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

GOODREADS IS HOSTING A GIVEAWAY FOR 50 ARC COPIES OF THIS BOOK.

– Giveaway only runs until October 31st, so Enter Soon by clicking HERE or on the photo below:

THE FAMILIAR DARK by the mega-talented AMY ENGEL will be released in March 2020. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy and it is AMAZING. Read on to find out more

Title: THE FAMILIAR DARK

Author: AMY ENGEL

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 256 PAGES

Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP DUTTON

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 21, 2020

ISBN: 9781524745950

Price: $26.00 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A spellbinding story of a mother with nothing left to lose who sets out on an all-consuming quest for justice after her daughter is murdered on the town playground.

Sometimes the answers are worse than the questions. Sometimes it’s better not to know.

Set in the poorest part of the Missouri Ozarks, in a small town with big secrets, The Familiar Dark opens with a murder. Eve Taggert, desperate with grief over losing her daughter, takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened. Eve is no stranger to the dark side of life, having been raised by a hard-edged mother whose lessons Eve tried not to pass on to her own daughter. But Eve may need her mother’s cruel brand of strength if she’s going to face the reality about her daughter’s death and about her own true nature. Her quest for justice takes her from the seedy underbelly of town to the quiet woods and, most frighteningly, back to her mother’s trailer for a final lesson.

The Familiar Dark is a story about the bonds of family—women doing the best they can for their daughters in dire circumstances—as well as a story about how even the darkest and most terrifying of places can provide the comfort of home.

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MY REVIEW:

THE FAMILIAR DARK takes place in one of the poorest portions of the Missouri Ozarks.

The story begins with the death of two 12-year-old girls – Best Friends – Izzy and Junie.

Eve Taggert is a single mother. She has loved her daughter Junie with an intensity that surprised Eve and which began when Junie drew her first tiny breath. On that day, Eve’s once wild life was flipped onto it’s head. She knew that she had to be a better mother to Junie than her mother had been to her and her brother Cal (short for Caleb). And ever since that day Eve had showered Junie with love and worked hard to provide for their tiny, two-person household.

But, when Eve learns that Junie and her best friend Izzy had been brutally murdered, she begins to fall apart. After all, what was the point of changing her life and becoming a contributing member of society of her daughter if it led to the death of her only child?

With dogged determination and a fierce need to identify the killer, Eve takes it upon herself to find out the truth about what happened.

As Eve begins to search for answers in her daughter’s slaying, old hurts, secrets and betrayals she had thought long buried are brought to light.

In fact, the twists in this tale are so numerous that readers will have a difficult time figuring out who the killer(s) is/are. As soon as you think you have a handle on all the players, you need to think again.

Author AMY ENGEL has captured perfectly the depth of a mother’s love and protective instincts for her child. She has portrayed the anger and resentment of a mother towards the perpetrator of the murder to perfection.

Although this novel is a mystery, a thriller, a whodunit, it is unlike any other thriller readers have encountered previously. The story focuses on relationships – on family ties.

THE FAMILIAR DARK is also a story about poverty and the fact that when you are poor, your life choices are limited. When you are working hard every day just to put food on the table and a roof over your head, there is little energy left at the end of the day.

Once her child was taken from her in the most violent and traumatic way possible, Eve is devastated. Despite the fact that her brother, Cal, is a cop, Eve decides to launch her own investigation.

As Eve dogs deeper and deeper into the criminal underbelly of her small town, she begins to discover that there are many secrets there and that some people will do anything to ensure those secrets are never revealed.

This story roars along like a high-speed freight train and readers will need to hang on for the ride of their lives.

I rate THE FAMILIAR DARK as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: Trish Brown Photography

Amy Engel is the author of THE BOOK OF IVY young adult series.

A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family.

Photo Credit: Trish Brown Photography

THE ROANOKE GIRLS was her first novel for adults. She also authored THE IVY SERIES of Young Adult books.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://amyengel.net/

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK – AUTHOR

FACEBOOK – PUBLISHER

PINTEREST

INSTAGRAM – AUTHOR

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BARNES AND NOBLE

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Only two days until the release of THE GRACE YEAR by KIM LIGGETT – One of the best books of 2019 and one you do not want to miss

Title: THE GRACE YEAR

Author: KIM LIGGETT

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION, FEMINIST FICTION

Length: 416 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESSWEDNESDAY BOOKS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 8, 2019

ISBN: 9781250145444

Price: $16.99 USD

Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden. Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

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ELIZABETH BANKS TO DIRECT AND PRODUCE THE GRACE YEAR FOR UNIVERSAL PICTURES.

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MY REVIEW:

I just finished reading Kim Liggett’s upcoming novel THE GRACE YEAR which releases in only two days and it has quickly become one of my favorite books of all time.

A mixture of several styles of books including Dystopian fiction, horror, speculative fiction, literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, dramas and feminist fiction, this book is all-around phenomenal. Reminiscent of a mixture of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, Lord of the Flies and Gathering Blue.

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READ THE KIRKUS REVIEW OF THE GRACE YEAR BY CLICKING HERE!!!
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Magic, lies, deception, discrimination, madness, despair and the tiniest flutterings of rebellion abound in this exceptional work of Speculative fiction perfect for our current generation of young women.

Set in a future world where women are the possessions of men. At birth, their feet are branded with the sigil of their fathers. They remain in his possession until the day when a man gives them a veil, signifying the transfer of ownership from father to their betrothed and eventual husband. The women have no choice. They cannot say no. If there are more women than men, the extra women are sent to work in the necessary and difficult menial labor of ensuring the survival of the entire colony.

Sounds horrific already, right? Well, as usually occurs in life, it gets worse. This is due to the ritual of The Grace Year. Every year, the girls who turn sixteen years old are sent out into the wild for a full year. Not all of those who leave the colony will return. The dangers are numerous and since speaking of The Grace Year is forbidden, the girls know almost nothing of the situations they are about to encounter.

Sixteen year old Tierney James is not like the rest of the girls her age who titter and smile coyly at the village’s young men in hopes of receiving a veil from one of them. Tierney has zero desire to be a wife. As she sees it, “There’s no freedom in comfort. They’re padded shackles, to be sure, but shackles nonetheless.”

Tierney dreams of a better life. A better world. One in which the women are free to speak their minds. She hopes for the women to come together and to work together to make everyone’s lives better. Unfortunately, this is exceedingly unlikely.

What the girls experience during their Grace Year changes each and every one of them in different ways, and author Kim Liggett has done a fabulous job of getting into the minds of her characters. I literally could not put this book down. At 416 pages, it should have taken at least a few days to read, but I couldn’t wait that long and finished the book within eighteen hours. Eighteen hours where I chose to forgo sleep and I do not regret a single second. My only complaint is that I wish the next book in the series was available already. If so, I would willingly give up sleep once more just to discover what happens next.

I believe this book will be on everyone’s reading list and that Bestseller status will be bestowed upon it very quickly. Books are rated on a scale of one to five stars, with five being the best. However, this book is deserving of more than just five stars. In fact, I am bestowing upon it my highest, most coveted rating: I rate THE GRACE YEAR as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you very much to #NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City to pursue a career in music. Along with lending her voice to hundreds of studio recordings, she was a backup singer for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80’s.

Kim spends her free time studying the tarot and scouring Manhattan for vials of rare perfume and the perfect egg white cocktail.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.kimliggett.com

GOODREADS – AUTHOR

GOODREADS – ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

FACEBOOK – AUTHOR

FACEBOOK – ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

FACEBOOK – WEDNESDAY BOOKS

INSTAGRAM – AUTHOR

INSTAGRAM – PUBLISHER – ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

INSTAGRAM – WEDNESDAY BOOKS

PINTEREST

TWITTER – AUTHOR

TWITTER – PUBLISHER – WEDNESDAY BOOKS

TWITTER – MACMILLAN PUBLISHERS

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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

LINKEDIN

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

A HOUSE ON STILTS: Mothering in the Age of Opiod Addiction by Paula Becker is a memoir that will have you riding along on the roller-coaster ride of her eldest son’s Opiod Addiction. This is an absolute MUST READ for every parent – 5 HUGE STARS – AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 15th, 2019

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Title: A HOUSE ON STILTS
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Subtitle: MOTHERING IN THE AGE OF OPIOD ADDICTION
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Author: PAULA BECKER
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Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, TRUE CRIME, ADDICTION

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Length: 176 PAGES

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Publisher: UNIVERSITY OF IOWA PRESS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: SEPTEMBER 15, 2019

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ISBN: 9781609386597

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Price: $18.00 USD

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Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A House on Stilts tells the story of one woman’s struggle to reclaim wholeness while mothering a son addicted to opioids. Paula Becker’s son Hunter was raised in a safe, nurturing home by his writer/historian mom and his physician father. He was a bright, curious child. And yet, addiction found him.

More than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids, some half-million of these to heroin. For many of them, their drug addiction leads to lives of demoralization, homelessness, and constant peril. For parents, a child’s addiction upends family life, catapulting them onto a path no longer prescribed by Dr. Spock, but by Dante’s Inferno. Within this ten-year crucible, Paula is transformed by an excruciating, inescapable truth: the difference between what she can do and what she cannot do.

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MY REVIEW:

I have recently read numerous biographies and memoirs and many of them have focused on the theme of addiction. Addiction was once ‘hush-hush’ and considered to be a dirty little secret. It is now beginning to be viewed not as shameful, but as a disease that is just as deadly as cancer, and one that can (and does) strike anyone at any age.

Many people look down on addicts and their families. They blame the addict’s parents, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, race, religion or any other of a myriad of factors upon which someone can place the blame. Often, in their smugness, they think “we are nothing like that family, therefore addiction will never be part of our lives.” Oh, how wrong they may be.

Paula Becker and her husband were living a charmed life. They were happy and when they added a son, Hunter, to the equation, they felt even more blessed. Adding another son and a daughter, and they were content.

In order to give their children, what they believed to be, an idyllic upbringing, Paula and her husband decided to homeschool them. Her husband was the main income provider and Paula could work as a part-time author from home. So, although it meant that they would have to be extremely smart with their spending, they were willing to do anything it took to ensure their children’s lives would be filled with learning and love.

Does this sound like a home where an opiate addict might come from? If asked, most people would answer “No.” Therein lies the challenge of identifying a person with a predilection toward addiction.

A HOUSE ON STILTS will force readers to confront the fact that addiction can (and does) happen to anyone, regardless of economic status, race, religion, colour, disability, location or any other of the myriad of reasons people have blamed for addiction.

Paula Becker’s memoir A HOUSE ON STILTS is being released at the perfect time. I firmly believe that every parent needs to read this book, and needs to read it NOW!

Paula Becker’s memoir will tug at your heartstrings as she writes about how her family’s life changes as her eldest son first dabbles, then dives headfirst into drugs. As Hunter’s addiction spirals out of control, his parents mourn the loss not only of his mental and physical health, but also the loss of a mother’s dreams for her son.

The Beckers family was lucky in that due to their economic status and health care insurance, they had the resources to get the very best treatment money could buy. Yet despite having so many advantages in life and even in addiction treatment options, they found that no matter what the family tried, that it would not work. They couldn’t wish Hunter better because it is the addict who must want to change.

One of the things I admire most about the author is her candor. She does not sugarcoat or try to justify any actions she has taken, nor does she try to make Hunter sound any better or worse than he really was. I am also happy that she chose to include details as to how Hunter’s addiction impacted his two siblings.

Written with her heart on her sleeve, Paula Becker’s memoir is important and deserves the highest possible rating. I rate A HOUSE ON STILTS as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction (a memoir) will be published September 15, 2019, by University of Iowa Press.

To pre-order a signed copy of A HOUSE ON STILTS, please click HERE.

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

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QUOTE:

“Hunter had been an erupting volcano during sophomore year. Now he was dormant. Barry and I monitored him, volcanologists. There was still smoke, there were occasional rumbles, but for a while Hunter put out relatively neutral readings.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo by David Ryder

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Paula Becker is a writer and historian living in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of the book:

Looking For Betty MacDonald: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I (University of Washington Press)
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She also wrote the following books with co-author Alan J. Stein:

The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair And Its Legacy (Seattle Center Foundation, 2011)

and

Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: Washington’s First World’s Fair (History Ink/HistoryLink in association with University of Washington Press, 2009)
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More than 300 of Paula’s essays documenting all aspects of Washington’s history appear on http://www.HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington state history, where she is a historian.

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Read one of her essays by Clicking HERE
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Seattle Magazine has named Paula Becker as one of “The Six Seattle Authors You Shouldn’t Miss This Fall” in the September 2019 Edition.

Image Credit: Hayley Young

From left to right: Timothy Egan, Lindy West, Shin Yu Pai, Shauna Ahern, Paula Becker, Charles Johnson

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To read the full article click HERE.
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Upon the release of A House On Stilts, Paula Becker will be making various appearances around Seattle including an appearance on September 21st at 2 p.m (FREE) at Seattle Central Library, downtown, 1000 Fourth Ave., 206.386.4636;
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and on October 28th (6 p.m., free) at University Book Store, University District, 4326 University Way NE, 800.335.7323
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To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://paulabecker.org/

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GOODREADS
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INSTAGRAM
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AUTHOR’S GUILD
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TWITTER – AUTHOR
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TWITTER – PUBLISHER

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THIRD PLACE BOOKS – ORDER A SIGNED COPY AND/OR VISIT THE STORE ON OCTOBER 1st TO MEET THE AUTHOR IN PERSON
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AMAZON
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CHAPTERS

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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
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Resources for families of people with addiction:

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) patient resources page

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American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) physician search

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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 24-hour a day national help line for treatment referrals

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Shatterproof (a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation addiction causes families)

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Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

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Facing Addiction family and friends portal

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Sam Harris discusses addiction with Sally Satel, M.D., a practicing psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine who examines mental health policy as well as political trends in medicine.

THE MISSING ONES by Edwin Hill is a 5 Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Thriller where fact and fiction collide

Title: THE MISSING ONES
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Series: HESTER THURSBY MYSTERIES: BOOK TWO

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Author: EDWIN HILL
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Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

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Length: 304 PAGES

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Publisher: KENSINGTON BOOKS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: AUGUST 27, 2019

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ISBN: 9781496719331

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Price: $26.00 USD (HARDCOVER)

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Hester Thursby has given up using her research skills to trace people who don’t want to be found. A traumatic case a few months ago unearthed a string of violent crimes, and left Hester riddled with self-doubt and guilt.

Caring for a four-year-old is responsibility enough in a world filled with terrors Hester never could have imagined before.

Finisterre Island, off the coast of Maine, is ruggedly beautiful and remote—the kind of place tourists love to visit, though rarely for long. But not everyone who comes to the island is welcome. A dilapidated Victorian house has become home to a group of squatters and junkies, and strangers have a habit of bringing trouble with them. A young boy disappeared during the summer, and though he was found safely, the incident stirred suspicion among locals. Now another child is missing. Summoned to the island by a cryptic text, Hester discovers a community cleaning up from a devastating storm—and uncovers a murder.

Soon Hester begins to connect the crime and the missing children. And as she untangles the secrets at the center of the small community, she finds grudges and loyalties that run deep, poised to converge with a force that will once again shake her convictions about the very nature of right and wrong . . .

MY REVIEW:

Although this is the second book in the Hester Thursby Series and I haven’t read the first book, it did not hinder my enjoyment of this book in the slightest. In fact, THE MISSING ONES works well as a standalone novel.

Hester Thursby is not your typical heroine. She is neurotic, she is hugely overprotective of her four year old niece, Kate, who has been left in her care. In fact, even though she has a valid reason for being overprotective, it is still over-the-top. In summary, she is a realistic character. She isn’t perfect, not by a long shot, and that is why I like her.

This story is a timely one in that it addresses the Opiod Crisis that has infiltrated every aspect of life in North America. It showcases the fact that addiction crosses all socioeconomic boundaries and can (and does) happen to even the most law-abiding families.

There are multiple twists to this story and as soon as you think you know who the perpetrator is, you discover a new fact that makes you doubt your theory.

I rate THE MISSING ONES as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

(c) Thomas Bollinger

Edwin Hill is the author of the critically-acclaimed Hester Thursby mystery series.

His first novel, LITTLE COMFORT, was nominated for an Agatha Award for best debut.

The second in the series, THE MISSING ONES, will be available in September. He lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts with his partner Michael and his favorite reviewer, their lab Edith Ann, who likes his first drafts enough to eat them.

To hear an Interview with Edwin Hill on the WRITER’S BONE PODCAST click HERE.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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GOODREADS
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FACEBOOK
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TWITTER
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AMAZON
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KOBO
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@

kensingtonbooks #kensingtonbooks #books #independantpublisher #publisher #indie #EdwinHill #NetGalley @Netgalley #TheMissingOnes #book #newrelease #2019book #2019 #Amiesbookreviews #bookreview #bookblog #bookreviewer #hesterthursby #hesterthursbymystery #dontmissthemissingones #mystery #thriller #CrimeFiction #bookstagram #bookstoread #booknerd #bookclubreading #bookclub #readersofinstagram #readingtime #timetoread #mustread
#Reviewathon

LOVE LIKE SKY by Middle-grade author Leslie C. Youngblood is a 5+Star Read. This book will win awards and become a Best Seller. Release Date is November 6th – Mark your calendars now!!!

Title: LOVE LIKE SKY

Author: LESLIE C. YOUNGBLOOD

Genre: MIDDLE-GRADE FICTION

Ages: 8 to 12 YEARS

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: DISNEY BOOK GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 6, 2018

ISBN: 9781368016506

Price: $16.99 USD

Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

G-baby and her younger sister, Peaches, are still getting used to their “blended-up” family. They live with Mama and Frank out in the suburbs, and they haven’t seen their real daddy much since he married Millicent. G-baby misses her best friend back in Atlanta, and is crushed that her glamorous new stepsister, Tangie, wants nothing to do with her.

G-baby is so preoccupied with earning Tangie’s approval that she isn’t there for her own little sister when she needs her most. Peaches gets sick-really sick. Suddenly, Mama and Daddy are arguing like they did before the divorce, and even the doctors at the hospital don’t know how to help Peaches get better.

It’s up to G-baby to put things right. She knows Peaches can be strong again if she can only see that their family’s love for her really is like sky.

MY REVIEW:

In the opening scene of LOVE LIKE SKY, G-baby is entertaining her younger sister Peaches by repeatedly dancing the “Nae Nae” and the “Dougie.” I defy anyone to read this and not smile. I believe that would be impossible.

LOVE LIKE SKY is set in the town of Snellville, Georgia, where eleven-year-old G-baby, her younger sister Peaches (real names – Georgiana And Patrice) and their mother have moved to a new town after their mother’s marriage to their new stepdaddy, Frank. G-baby had initially been excited about the marriage because it meant she would be gaining a big sister. However, she has since discovered that her new stepsister wants nothing to do with her or Peaches. On top of all the other changes, G-baby misses her best friend Nikki, whom she left behind in Atlanta.

G-baby becomes obsessed with trying to get her new stepsister to pay attention to her. This leaves baby sister, Peaches at loose ends and feeling left out.

When Peaches gets really sick, neither her parents nor her doctors know how to make her better.

G-baby is convinced that she knows how to make Peaches better. She just has to figure out how to convince her that her family loves her as much as the sky is wide.

Blended families are often more common than “traditional families” which means that many readers will be able to relate to the struggles that G-baby and Peaches face. The topic of blended families is only one of the many themes explored in this amazing debut novel. Other themes include:

– Divorce
– Parents fighting
– Death of a sibling (not Peaches, so don’t think I am giving away any plot points)
– Moving to a new town
– Leaving friends behind and trying to make new ones
– Hospitalization and siblings with a serious illness
– Growing up and a girl’s changing body and feelings
– Racial inequality
– Peaceful protests
– Trayvon Martin and the shooting of unarmed young, black men
– Parents getting remarried and jealousy of the new spouse
– and many more.

The author does an incredible job of making the characters feel real. For instance, G-baby’s father has remarried and his new wife’s name is Millicent. Instead of thinking of her by her given name, G-baby has nicknamed her “Millipede.” This is a very typical tween way to rebel against the new spouse. She is too young to conjure up any truly mean-spirited nickname, yet still needs a way to express her jealousy at what she sees as the reason her beloved Daddy doesn’t spend as much time with them as he used to.

The author’s gift for creating believable and unique characters is displayed in one of my favorite scenes – which captures the fierce loyalty six year old Peaches has for her mother. This scene takes place when G-baby comments about Tangie’s cooking and says it is better than their mother’s. “Peaches eyes widened. ‘Nobody cooks better than Mama.'” I loved this scene. In the grand scheme of the book, this scene is minor, but it is so believable that I found it memorable for it’s simple, yet powerful portrayal of familial loyalty.

If I had to choose a single theme to describe this book, it would be EMOTION.

“Why we gotta jump when he’s ready? What about the times we waited on him and he didn’t come? I bet he doesn’t keep Ms. Millicent Parker waiting for nothing. She’s his ‘best girl’ now.”

Kids with divorced parents will easily relate to the characters in this excellent middle-grade novel. Author Leslie Youngblood understands just how perceptive kids can be. This is clearly demonstrated in the following scene:

“Just like Mama, he didn’t know that I could tell a fake smile from a real one. Mama and Daddy’s separation made me an expert, especially when we’d have family dinner and they’d wear their mannequin smiles.”

I apologize for the length of this review, but I felt compelled to explain why I am giving this book the highest rating possible which is 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐. I realize that it is technically impossible to give a rating higher than 5 out of 5, but this book deserves to be in a category above all others.

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

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FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Mama said I got the name G-baby because I’d run to Daddy for every little thing. He’d swoop me up and say, ‘What’s wrong with George’s baby?’ Peaches real name is Patrice, but Mama loved Libby’s sliced peaches when she was pregnant with her, so that’s how she got her nickname.”

“Being a big sister was hard work.”

“Even though Mama says I can always talk to her, she means Mama stuff, like if someone is bullying me, or if a teacher is mean. Not like how to kiss a boy, or when it’s time to sneak a few cotton balls in my bra…”

“I’m supposed to have all the answers. That’s what it means to be a big sister, and why I want one of my very own.”

“When Mama and Daddy first tried to explain {why they were getting divorced}, Mama Said sometimes grown-ups ‘fall out of love.’ The best I can figure it: love is just a big old bed. When you’re not happy, you fall out of it.”

“There’s no reason on God’s green earth a boy should walk down the street with his boxers hanging out.”

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EXCERPT

“Love ain’t like that.”

How is it then?” Peaches asked, turning on her stomach to face me.

“It’s like sky. If you keep driving and driving, gas will run out, right?”

“That’s why we gotta go to the gas station.”

“Yep. But have you ever seen the sky run out? No matter how far we go?”

“No, when we look up, there it is.”

“Well that’s the kind of love Daddy and Mama got for us, Peaches—love like sky.”

“It never ends?”

Never.”

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A former assistant professor of creative writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, she has lectured at Mississippi State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of Ghana at Legon.

She began her undergraduate degree at Morris Brown College and completed her bachelor’s at Georgia State University. After graduation, she served as a columnist and assistant editor for Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine.

She’s been awarded a host of writing honors including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. She received funding to attend the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony in 2011. Her short story, “Poor Girls’ Palace,” was published in the winter 2009 edition of the Indiana Review, as well as Kwelijournal, 2014.

In 2010 she won the Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award. In 2016 she landed a two-book publishing deal with Disney-Hyperion for her Middle-Grade novel, LOVE LIKE SKY (Nov.6). She often teaches creative writing classes at Rochester, New York’s literary center, Writers & Books.

Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, New York, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive and family and friends.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
www.lesliecyoungblood.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

LINKEDIN

GOOGLE+

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

BOOKS-A-MILLION

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

LIFE AT THE DEATH HOUSE by Sean E.D. Kerr is a phenomenal 5 Star Read. New Release

Title: LIFE AT THE DEATH HOUSE

Author: SEAN E.D. KERR

Cover Art: NATASHA SNOW

Genre: FICTION, LGBTQ, LITERARY FICTION

Length: 410 PAGES

Publisher: NINE STAR PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: AUGUST 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-949340-51-8 (EBOOK)

ISBN: 978-1-949340-55-6 (PRINT)

Price: $6.99 USD (EBOOK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

The locals call it the Death House, but Carol and Marco designed the New Life House as a home for kids to live, safely removed from the stigmas and judgments of the outside world.

Seventeen-year-old Tyler arrives on the doorstep, hoping that he’s finally found a safe place to die. His arrival causes the other kids to question the futures they’ve been promised, and Carol and Marco must convince them there is life after diagnosis.

Even through struggles with addictions and questions of sexuality, the residents could come to believe in the possibility of living.

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MY REVIEW:

****WARNING ****
This book contains sexual content, which may only be suitable for mature readers. It also contains mature themes such as death, dying, suicide, drug use and more.
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It’s called the “New Life House,” but the locals have their own name for it – they call it the Death House.

Why?

The answer is somewhat complex, but also quite simple. In the late 90s (which is the era when this story takes place) HIV and AIDS were still relatively new diseases and the general populace were spectacularly uninformed.

Rumors were rampant and many people thought that you could catch HIV just by touching an infected person. It was known as the “gay disease” since many of the infected came from the lgbt community.

In 1997, at the age of seventeen, Tyler arrived at the New Life House. “Strange name for a death house, he’d thought. The name just didn’t make sense to him. There was no new life for people like him. There was only death and loneliness. And pain. That’s all there was.”

Imagine being only sixteen and finding out you have a disease with no cure and a near 100% fatality rate. Now, add to this – your family kicking you out of the house and calling you terrible, hurtful names. As if those two things are not bad enough, now add another issue – the fact that you know nothing about this disease other than the fact it is going to take your life. You believe that anyone you touch (even just to give a simple hug) will also become infected, so you swear off physical contact completely. That is one heck of a burden to place on anyone, nevermind on a young teenager.

The longer Tyler and his housemates live at the New Life House, the more they learn – not only about their disease, but about each other, about themselves and about the selfless couple who made the house a reality.

I loved learning about each of the house’s residents and their backstories, including what led to them living away from their families and coming to reside in the New Life House.

I love that there are so many themes examined in the pages of this book. I love the fact that author Sean Kerr does not shy away from topics that might make certain readers uncomfortable. He tackles the issue of homophobia with the depth of feeling that I believe only an LGBTQ author could achieve. I am proud to say that the author is Canadian and I cannot wait to read whatever he writes next.

The only rating that I could possibly give this book is a perfect 5 OUT OF 5 STARS. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

With heart-wretching prose, authentic characters and a story ripped straight out of the headlines of the 1990s, this book should be at the top of everyone’s MUST READ list.

*** I would like to say a special thank you to both NETGALLEY and the Publisher for providing me with an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book. ***

QUOTES:

“Marco was wearing blue jeans and a Nirvana T-shirt. He looked like an old guy who hadn’t accepted his age yet.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sean holds a diploma in Professional Writing from Algonquin College (Ottawa, Canada, 2009). He found his love of writing at the age of ten when he released his first miniseries via Duo-Tang folder to his family and friends. He has another four novels outlined and is working on draft one of a fifth.

In December 2016, he launched the Pontiac & Ottawa Valley Writers’ Circle under the umbrella of the Pontiac Artists Association (PAA). He continues to coordinate the efforts of the POVWC and is enjoying the blossoming of a strong creative writing community.

Sean writes a wide range of genres with a particular focus and interest in literary and upmarket fiction. He specifically enjoys writing stories that deal with how people react to hardships, exploring how they come through them for better or for worse. It’s the experiences and choices that change people that intrigue him the most. Common themes include addiction, mental health, sexuality, grief and hope.

Sean lives on a farm in Bristol, Quebec, with his husband, Glen; their dogs, Suzie, Maxwell and Walker; their goats, Tyrion and Arya; and their llamas, Shadow and Angie.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

LINKEDIN

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

ABOUT THE COVER ARTIST:

Professional Designer of Book Covers.

Natasha Snow

I’m a 28 year old graphic designer turned professional book cover designer living in Edmonton, Alberta.

I graduated from Grant MacEwan University studying Graphic Design with a major in print, which has helped me time and time again when designing (you guessed it) print books.

Since graduation, I’ve worked at a few places as a graphic designer, ranging from working in identity and branding, to advertising for a major company in Canada.

In September 2016, I left my corporate job in advertising to start my own business only designing book covers. I’d found my passion in life, and knew there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do.

To this day, I’ve designed books from many genres, including romance, thriller, horror, LGBTQ, M/M, young adult, middle grade, fiction and non-fiction, and many more.

When not designing book covers (and let’s be honest, that’s practically never), I enjoy playing video games, reading, and pretending I know how to cook something besides toast.

To learn more about this artist, visit her website HERE.

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