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.”

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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.

#LifeAtTheDeathHouse #NetGalley #addiction #AIDS #drugs #alcohol #alcoholic #gay #gayfiction #LGBTQIA #LGBT #LGBTQ #HIV #death #dying #hospice #grief #mourning #illness #disease #tearjerker #mustread #children #youth #sexuality #CanLit #Canada #debut #debutauthor #Canadian #CanadianAuthor #author #igreads #Instagramhub #igauthor #igbook #lgbtqfiction #lgbtfiction #instabook #instaauthor #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #Amiesbookreviews #2018 #2018book #bookreview #bookreviewer #readandreview #tbr #tbrlist #amreading #drama #fiction #literaryfiction @weneedmorediversebooks

Eden Robinson’s TRICKSTER DRIFT releases October 2018 and it is a 5 Star phenomenal book. If you only read one book this year, it should be this one.

Title: TRICKSTER DRIFT

Author: EDEN ROBINSON

Genre: FICTION, LITERARY FICTION, CANADIAN FICTION

Length: 385 PAGES

Publisher: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-7343-6 (Hardcover)

ISBN: 978-0-7352-7345-0 (Ebook)

Price: $32.00 CDN (Hardcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Following the Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted Son of a Trickster comes Trickster Drift, the second book in Eden Robinson’s captivating Trickster trilogy.

In an effort to keep all forms of magic at bay, Jared, 17, has quit drugs and drinking. But his troubles are not over: now he’s being stalked by David, his mom’s ex–a preppy, khaki-wearing psycho with a proclivity for rib-breaking. And his mother, Maggie, a living, breathing badass as well as a witch, can’t protect him like she used to because he’s moved away from Kitimat to Vancouver for school.

Even though he’s got a year of sobriety under his belt (no thanks to his enabling, ever-partying mom), Jared also struggles with the temptation of drinking. And he’s got to get his grades up, find a job that doesn’t involve weed cookies, and somehow live peacefully with his Aunt Mave, who has been estranged from the family ever since she tried to “rescue” him as a baby from his mother. An indigenous activist and writer, Mave smothers him with pet names and hugs, but she is blind to the real dangers that lurk around them–the spirits and supernatural activity that fill her apartment.

As the son of a Trickster, Jared is a magnet for magic, whether he hates it or not–he sees ghosts, he sees the monster moving underneath his Aunt Georgina’s skin, he sees the creature that comes out of his bedroom wall and creepily wants to suck his toes. He also still hears the Trickster in his head, and other voices too. When the David situation becomes a crisis, Jared can’t ignore his true nature any longer.

MY REVIEW:

I only discovered Canadian Indigenous author Eden Robinson’s writing just over one year ago, when I had the distinct pleasure of meeting her at the 2017 F.O.L.D. (Festival of Literary Diversity). Eden read from SON OF A TRICKSTER, answered audience questions with the patience of a Saint, allowed us fans to have our photographs taken with her and autographed copies of all of her books until I am sure her petite hands must have been more painful than Jared’s experience in the cave with the river otters … and she did all this with a beautific smile on her face.

One thing I can tell you about Eden Robinson is that she has the most distinctive and infectious laugh of anyone I have ever met. From that day forward, I have been a dedicated fan of her writing and I have been eagerly awaiting the publication of TRICKSTER DRIFT.

I would like to thank #NetGalley for providing me with an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of #TricksterDrift

Firstly, Eden is a hugely talented Indigenous author from British Columbia, Canada. Secondly, she has a talent for writing about realistic situations and infusing them with supernatural and Indigenous aspects.
Thirdly, this amazing woman has the ability to draw the reader so deeply into her story that several hours of reading go by in what seems like the blink of an eye.

One of my favorite quotes from this book comes from Chapter 36, in which Eden describes the tectonic plate upon which North America sits. The quote reads like this:

“The speed at which the North American plate crawls across the planet makes glaciers seem like rabbits on Red Bull.”

If you only have time to read a single book this year, I cannot stress highly enough that you need to chose Eden Robinson as the author to pick.

I rate TRICKSTER DRIFT as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all readers aged sixteen and up.

https://globalnews.ca/video/embed/3266774/

Photo Credit –
Chris Young of The Associated Press

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Want to meet Eden Robinson? If you live in Ontario, Canada anywhere near the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), you will have that chance coming up on:

Thursday, October 25, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, located at 130 Navy Street, Oakville L6J 2Z4

Cost: $25

Description of the event:

“Multi-award winning Haisla/Heiltsuk novelist Eden Robinson discusses her work in intimate conversation at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, including her latest novel Trickster Drift. Q&A and book signing to follow. Books will be available for purchase, courtesy of A Different Drummer Books.

To purchase tickets, call the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts Box Office at 905-338-4161.

This event is part of the Lit On Tour programme.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

EDEN ROBINSON IS AN INDIGENOUS CANADIAN AUTHOR, who has been recognized and praised both nationally and internationally for her amazing works of fiction.

Eden hails from the Kitimat region in the beautiful province of British Columbia, Canada.

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

GOODREADS

CANADIAN ENCYCLOPAEDIA

AMAZON

CHAPTERS
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/contributor/author/eden-robinson/

WRITER’S TRUST
https://writerstrust.com/Awards/Writers–Trust-Notable-Author-Award/Past-Winners/Eden-Robinson.aspx

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/authors/25830/eden-robinson

Photos:

Author Eden Robinson, a member of the Haisla Nation, pauses on the forest trail to the Octopus Beds, just south of Kitamaat Village, BC, June 21, 2012. (Photography by Robin Rowland)

A DIFFERENT DRUMMER BOOKSTORE

RED RIBBONS by twenty year old author Hanne Arts is a 5 Star MUST READ for all young adults (and their parents.) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: RED RIBBONS

Series: The Sequel to JUST PERFECT

Author: HANNE ARTS

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIR, MENTAL HEALTH, EATING DISORDERS, DEPRESSION

Length: 192 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: OCTOBER 2017

ISBN: 978-1-97784-5504

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

As Christina’s eighteenth birthday approaches, she finds herself struggling in recovery. Facing Filip’s recurring depression and Miriam’s increasing presence in her father’s life, she attempts to take reigns over what she can control – food. It is thus that she starts eating less and less, again opening the door to her eating disorder. But can she get her life back on track a second time, and why is it so difficult to accept the help she is given? “Red Ribbons” is a heart-wrenching tale of acceptance and denial, love and loss, mental illness and the road to recovery.

MY REVIEW:

Hanne Arts may be young in years, but she writes with the talent of a consummate professional.

RED RIBBONS is the sequel to her phenomenal debut book, JUST PERFECT. You can read my review of her first book by clicking HERE.

RED RIBBONS draws the reader back into Christina’s world. Having reached out for help and getting treatment at the end of JUST PERFECT, we find that she has not lived happily ever after and that in fact, she is struggling more than ever.

Christina’s depression and anorexia are once again severe and as her eighteenth birthday comes closer, she may not live to make it to age 19. She realizes that “{She} was a puppet to {her} weight’s strings.”

The story unfolds with such realism that it is impossible for the reader to remain aloof. I was once again drawn deeply into the emotions Christina was experiencing.

Mental illness is finally starting to be looked upon like other illnesses and the stigma attached to it is slowly abating, however, there is still a long way to go.

It is books such as JUST PERFECT and RED RIBBONS that are helping to let teens and young adults know that they are not alone in their struggles and that seeking help shows strength rather than weakness.

I rate RED RIBBONS as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I applaud Hanne Arts for continuing to bring awareness to the topics of depression, anorexia and mental illness. I can’t wait to read her next novel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

GOOGLE+

AMAZON

YOUTUBE

BLUE MOON LUCK by Linda Collison AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Title: BLUE MOON LUCK

Author: LINDA COLLISON

Narrator: JOSEPH JOHN RAYMOND ROCCA

Genre: FICTION

Length: 4 HOURS, 26 MINUTES

Publisher: FICTION HOUSE, LTD.

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: FEBRUARY 19, 2018

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

For his entire life, twenty-two-year-old Chance Lee has been dreaming of greatness — something far beyond getting high in his mother’s old farmhouse, and much more prestigious than playing in a twangy West Virginia country band on the weekends. Unlike many other small-town boys with lofty dreams, Chance see his future of musical greatness, with his best friend Tollie by his side, as an undeniable fact. And when a reading from a local fortune-teller seems to affirm his unstoppable luck, it’s not long before he’s ready to break out of Falling Waters and put his plans in motion. But when creative differences and the undeniable pull of home begin to get in the way, Chance is finally given reason to doubt his lucky star — at least, until he finally hits the road alongside an unexpected companion.

MY REVIEW:

Sometime in the 1980s, Chance and his best friend and band mate, Tully, visit a fortune teller on the night of the full moon. That night changes everything. Of course, they were unaware of the changes at the time.

Young men, a bit of weed, raging hormones, a lot of music, women, sex, rock’n’roll, friendship and a desire for something more all come together in the mish-mash of indecision which faces all youth.

Witty and engaging, this fictional memoir will have readers reminiscing about their own youth.

The narrator for this audiobook may be new to the profession, but he did an commendable job and his accent made the scenes come alive. The only issue with the narration was that at one point you hear him grunt which actually provided a bit of comic relief. Also, the pauses between chapters are a bit too long for my taste.

I rate the book itself as 5 out of 5 Stars, but the Audiobook as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda Collison’s fiction, nonfiction, and articles have appeared in a variety of publications. Her debut novel, “Star-Crossed,” was chosen by the New York Public Library as a Book for the Teen Age-and her writing has received awards from the “Literary Fiction Review,” “Foreword Reviews,” “Honolulu Magazine,” and more.

In addition to her career as an author and freelance writer, Collison has worn many other hats-including mother, registered nurse, volunteer firefighter, skydiving instructor, and restauranteur.

Born and raised in Maryland, she lived in Hawaii for many years with her husband Bob Russell. Currently, the couple resides in Colorado.

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BECOMING ANIMALS by Olga and Christopher Werby

Title: BECOMING ANIMALS

Authors: OLGA & CHRISTOPHER WERBY

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION, SPECULATIVE FICTION

Length: 417 PAGES

Publisher: SELF-PUBLISHED

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: DECEMBER 27, 2017

ISBN: 9781981404148

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Humans have always wanted to know what goes on inside the minds of other animals. But what if humans could become animals? Toby’s father leads a team of neuroscientists directly connecting the brains of humans with those of animals. And Toby is a prodigy at throwing her mind into the animal subjects in his lab – she’s the best there is.

But Toby suffers from cystic fibrosis and she’s not likely to live into adulthood. Could a radical plan to embed her consciousness into an animal allow Toby to survive? And what does it mean to live without a human body?

Can Toby and her father solve the problem of fully merging two beings before she takes her last breath? Will the government succeed in stopping their efforts before they are done? It’s a race against death and into the minds of animals.

MY REVIEW:

Technology is advancing so quickly that books once considered science fiction are now reality.

This book contains scientific ideas that are probably, even now, being worked on in labs across North America. No matter how interesting the idea of being able to connect human brains with animal brains, that idea alone is not enough to keep a reader interested or invested in a book.

This is where Toby and her father come in. Toby’s father is a brilliant neuroscientist. It is due to his vision and incredible work ethic that brings about the first way to connect animal and human brains.

Toby is young at the beginning of this book (only 10 years old) but it is her that gets to try her father’s invention first. Using her pet rat, Rufus, Toby connects their minds and is instantly enamoured with the process. Imagine being able to see through the eyes of another creature, to taste what they taste and even to feel their emotions as if they were still your own; what a life-altering experience it would be.

This is exactly what Toby experiences and for her it feels like freedom. Toby has Cystic Fibrosis and isn’t able to do everything her peers can do. Her mother also has the disease, and Toby watches her mother fight for every single breath of air – until the end when her body finally gives out on her. Toby knows that because of her Cystic Fibrosis, she will probably not live to see adulthood.

According to Cystic Fibrosis Canada,
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. At present, there is no cure.

CF causes various effects on the body, but mainly affects the digestive system and lungs. The degree of CF severity differs from person to person, however, the persistence and ongoing infection in the lungs, with destruction of lungs and loss of lung function, will eventually lead to death in the majority of people with CF.

As the novel progresses and Toby gets older and more frail, she comes up with an idea. She wants her father to figure out a way to download Toby’s brain into the brain of a whale.

But, ideas are easy to come up with. It is translating that idea into reality that is difficult – maybe even impossible.

Both Toby and her father know they are racing against the clock. Will he figure out how to transfer Toby’s consciousness into that of a whale? Should he do it if he figures out how? What are the ethical implications?

I love it when I not only enjoy the plot of a story, but also when I learn something from reading a book. I realize that BECOMING ANIMALS is Science-Fiction, but so were cell phones at one point.

Another reason I am rating this book highly is that it informs readers about cystic fibrosis which is not often the case with popular fiction. Raising awareness of any disease is terrific and although reading about Toby’s mother’s death as well as Toby’s daily struggle just to breathe is eye-opening. Most people have heard of Cystic Fibrosis, but do not have any idea of what it means to be diagnosed with it, or worse, to have your child be diagnosed.

I encourage all of the people who follow my reviews to purchase this book and to see for themselves what I am talking about.

I should also mention that even though this book is targeted at adults, the author has included many photographs into this book which assist the reader in visualizing what is happening in the story.

I rate BECOMING ANIMALS as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Christopher Werby, J.D., has had a varied career as a lawyer, businessman, technologist, filmmaker, journalist, and new media creator. He has been active with computers since 1975, and taught computer programming at Sarah Lawrence College. He is a commercial photographer and videographer who has contributed to a number of projects. He received a B.A. degree in Physics from Sarah Lawrence College and a Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. He is admitted to practice in the State of California and is an active member of the California State Bar (member 124299). Christopher serves on the board of directors of Grosvenor Properties, Ltd., a real estate investment company. Since 1994, when he formed Pipsqueak, he has been focused on web work, technology, programming, and creating digital assets.

OLGA WERBY

Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She received a Master’s degree in Education of Math, Science, and Technology from U.C. Berkeley and a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. She conceived, designed, and illustrated the award-winning “Field Trips” series of programs distributed by Sunburst Communications. Olga currently teaches interaction design and cognitive theory at the American University in Paris and the University of California at Berkeley Extension Program. She was part of the faculty of San Francisco State University’s Multimedia Studies Program, the Bay Area Video Coalition, and the campus of Apple Computers. Olga is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. She also holds a California teaching credential and is part of the San Francisco Unified School District where she often tests science-related curriculum materials in public elementary and middle schools.

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

Title: AMSTERDAM EXPOSED

Subtitle: AN AMERICAN’S JOURNEY INTO THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT

Author: DAVID WIENIR

Genre: NON-FICTION, MEMOIR, TRAVEL, ADULTS ONLY, PROSTITUTION

Length: 207 PAGES

Publicist: SMITH PUBLICITY

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 1, 2018

ISBN: 9780999355909

Price: $12.95 USD (PAPERBACK)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

DESCRIPTION:

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

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

MY REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**************************

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

*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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

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

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ABOUT THE PUBLICIST:

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

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

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

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FRIENDS & OTHER LIARS by KAELA COBLE is a fantastic story about what friendship really means. This 5 Star Read releases on February 6th so MARK YOUR CALENDAR – You will be glad you did.

Title: FRIENDS & OTHER LIARS

Author: KAELA COBLE

Genre: FICTION

Length: 361 PAGES

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: FEBRUARY 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5116-1

Price: $15.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

To all my old friends:
So here you all are. Nice to see you can show up for a person once he’s dead.

When Ruby St. James returns to her hometown, it is to the grave of her old friend Danny, a member of a group that was, ten years ago, Ruby’s whole world. The crew made a pact back then: stay together, stay loyal, and stay honest. But that was before all of the lies.

Because even friends keep secrets. They just don’t stay secret for long.

Now Danny has left behind a letter for each of them, issuing one final ultimatum: share your darkest betrayal to the group, or risk it coming out in a trap he has created. When past mistakes resurface, the lines of friendship blur, and four old friends are left trying to understand what it means to lie to the ones you love best.

MY REVIEW:

Beautiful Vermont

This picture is of Church Street in Vermont. This is just like the Main Street in the novel.

Set in the small town of Chatwick, Vermont, the setting of this story is much like the small town I grew up in. And the circle of friends at the center of the plot, remind me of my group of friends from early middle and high school. In fact, Kaela Coble has somehow managed to capture the essence of the universal highschool experience, as well as to accurately convey the intensity of highschool friends and romantic experiences.

New author, Kaela Coble, has a gift for understanding the complicated dynamics that often exist amongst a group of friends. Her insight into the secrets that people keep, even from those closest to them is spot on. She writes based on her own youth which I am sure is the key to the believability of the story.

Having one of the main characters die before the book even begins was a stroke of brilliance. In this way the entire story revolves around Danny (who died of a purposeful heroin overdose.) Before his death he wrote a letter and had his mother read it to his friends (during highschool they referred to themselves as “The Crew.”) Included with his final goodbye, Danny has included an envelope for each of his friends. Inside those envelopes, Danny has revealed that person’s most hidden secret along with a threat that if they don’t reveal their secrets to each other, the secret would be told through a trap Danny had engineered before his suicide.

Think about that for a minute. Do you have to tell your friends everything about you? Are you not entitled to keep some things private?

In this story, readers will find themselves pondering friendship and what it truly means to be a “good” friend.

This book is chock-full of lies, deception, anger, betrayal, love and desire, as well as moments of extreme comfort and ease, all tempered by moments of hatred and extreme violence.

Kaela Coble’s gift is both impressive and undeniable. I have read other book reviews that say things like: ‘The characters jumped off the page,” and I always thought that was a ridiculous statement to make, but now that I have finished reading this book, for the first time ever I completely understand what they mean. The characters in this book never seem like written characters, they come across as real people and long after the final page, readers will still be thinking about them.

FRIENDS AND OTHER LIARS is one of the best Coming-of-Age stories I have had the pleasure of reading. I truly hope to read more books featuring these characters and the beautiful setting of small-town Chatwick, Vermont.

Kaela has also included a Reader’s Group Discussion Guide in the back of the book. It is also available online by clicking HERE.

Aside from the plot being completely spell-binding, this book also tackles some very real and deadly serious social issues, including but not limited to: suicide, addiction, child abuse, losing your virginity, opiate addiction and the rising number of Fentanyl related deaths. The fact that Kaela Coble has been able to include these issues seamlessly into her story is just one more indication that she is an author on the verge of becoming a very big deal in the publishing world.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would have rated it even higher if it was possible.

Kaela Coble has made me a fan and I am fervently hoping she is hard at work on her next book.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kaela Coble is an author of women’s fiction, represented by Stephanie Kip Rostan of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. Friends and Liars is her debut novel.

Kaela earned her B.S. in Communications and completed short stints in marketing, public relations and copywriting before switching to assistant work to free up creative energy for writing. She is a member of the League of Vermont Writers and a graduate of the Womentoring Project.

She is also a voracious reader and a hopeless addict to bad television and good chocolate. She lives with her husband in Burlington, Vermont, and is a devoted mother to their rescued chuggle, Gus.

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VERMONT SCENERY

VERMONT MAP

Funeral Pictures

This book review is one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge on the GingermomReads Blog.

As an aside, here are some pictures I found on the web showing what heroin can do to a person’s physical appearance:

If you or anyone you know are thinking about suicide, please reach out to someone. You’ll be surprised at how many strangers will care about you.

Not suicidal, but are having a hard time with anxiety or depression, or with any other problem in your life, reach out anonymously.

Here is one of the places you can visit for help:

KIDS HELP PHONE – WEBSITE

KIDS HELP PHONE on Instagram

Kid’s Help Phone’s professional counsellors are available to talk 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868

– YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOUR NAME – It is completely anonymous and FREE.