ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD by Debut Acadian Author Tyler LeBlanc details one family’s experience during the Acadian Expulsion. This is a book not to be missed. 10 out of 10 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦

Title: ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD

Subtitle: ONE FAMILY AND THE GREAT EXPULSION

Author: TYLER LeBLANC

Genre: NON-FICTION, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, HISTORY, ACADIAN NON-FICTION

Length: 240 PAGES

Publisher: GOOSE LANE PUBLISHING  

Release Date: JUNE 2, 2020

ISBN: 9781773101187

Price: $19.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦 🇨🇦

What a fabulous accomplishment!!!

DESCRIPTION:

– A Hill Times’ 100 Best Books in 2020 Selection

– On Canada’s History Bestseller List

Growing up on the south shore of Nova Scotia, Tyler LeBlanc wasn’t fully aware of his family’s Acadian roots — until a chance encounter with an Acadian historian prompted him to delve into his family history.

LeBlanc’s discovery that he could trace his family all the way to the time of the Acadian Expulsion and beyond forms the basis of this compelling account of Le Grand Dérangement.

Piecing together his family history through archival documents, Tyler LeBlanc tells the story of Joseph LeBlanc (his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather), Joseph’s ten siblings, and their families.

With descendants scattered across modern-day Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the LeBlancs provide a window into the diverse fates that awaited the Acadians when they were expelled from their homeland.

Some escaped the deportation and were able to retreat into the wilderness.

Others found their way back to Acadie. But many were exiled to Britain, France, or the future United States, where they faced suspicion and prejudice and struggled to settle into new lives.

A unique biographical approach to the history of the Expulsion, Acadian Driftwood is a vivid insight into one family’s experience of this traumatic event.

Review from Atlantic Books Today

MY REVIEW:

In the introduction of Acadian Driftwood, author Tyler LeBlanc writes:

“As a longtime fan of reconstructed historical non-fiction and its ability to take readers to the time and place in question and bring history alive, I have tried in these pages to give the [Acadian] Expulsion a similar treatment. This book looks at the event from the point of view of those who experienced it. It is not a grand history of the Acadian experience. I’m not a historian, and I have no thesis to advance. This is a personal book about ten siblings, all ancestors of mine, who found themselves tossed from their quiet pastoral lives into the turbulent world of eighteenth-century geopolitics… The Expulsion of the Acadians from their homeland had a direct effect on over fifteen thousand people, yet we know very few of their personal stories.”

As a person born in Ontario, Canada, I am embarrassed to admit I knew almost nothing about the expulsion of the Acadian people from Canada’s East Coast during the mid 1700s. This is a reprehensible failing of the Canadian educational curriculum. I remember taking classes in American history, but the history of our own country was skimmed over. And (of course) any shameful or negative history was ignored or “whitewashed.”

When I met my husband (an Acadian from Prince Edward Island) and in the years since, I have been fascinated by the plight of the Acadian people as well as their grit and tenacity which has allowed their community to grow and thrive to this day. My husband’s last name is Gaudet and what initially drew me to this particular book was the fact that one of the author’s ancestors was “Françoise Gaudet” who was born way back in 1623 and was married to “Daniel LeBlanc.” Further research on my part will have to take place before I can confirm whether or not this is a common ancestor.

ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD is a remarkable work of creative nonfiction. Author Tyler LeBlanc has researched his genealogy and through extensive investigation into historic documents, he has been able to write a narrative of what real people went through during the time period of the Acadian Expulsion in the 1700s.

I have read several books about the Expulsion and have even visited the Acadian Museum in Miscouche, on Prince Edward Island, and ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD is unique in the very best way.

Most books and historic documents concentrate exclusively on the lives and actions of the people in power and their lives. What has been missing, until now, is an account of the lives of ordinary people and the hardships they endured.

Tyler LeBlanc brings his ancestors to life and allows readers a look into what happened to them and how ordinary people were affected by the decisions made by politicians and military leaders. Most of these decisionmakers were people who were never seen by the Acadians whose peaceful lives were shattered and whose families were scattered over thousands of miles.

“Though this narrative is full of pain and suffering, it is a story of survival.” I am in awe of the grit and the tenacity of the Acadian people. It would have been easy to allow themselves to be assimilated into the English culture.  Despite the attempted genocide of their people, the Acadians held fast to their beliefs and their culture and are still practicing those same values today. Their belief in the power of family and faith has created a group of people who are some of the best, most honest, honorable and  hardworking people I have ever met. Although I only married into this culture, I am proud to be a part of the Acadian community.

The Acadian Flag
Photo obtained from: The Canadian Encyclopedia

Whether you already have a firm grasp on the history of the Acadian people, or know absolutely nothing about them, this book will inform and inspire you. By mixing together personal stories with the actions of historic figures, and events, the author has written a compelling narrative that is not to be missed.

I rate ACADIAN DRIFTWOOD by Acadian-Canadian, Tyler LeBlanc as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tyler LeBlanc was born and raised in a tiny fishing village on Nova Scotia’s south shore. He studied history and journalism as an undergraduate and holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

His writing has appeared in This Magazine, Modern Farmer, Explore, Dal Magazine, and the Coast.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.tylerleblanc.ca

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

GOOSE LANE PUBLISHING

Based in Fredericton, New Brunswick’s capital, Goose Lane Editions is a vital part of Canada’s ever-morphing publishing landscape.

Whether it’s homegrown Canadian fiction, singular collections of poetry, books on contemporary art, or courageous stances on environmental issues and global politics, we provide book lovers with great reads that inspire, spur conversation, and stimulate minds.

We seek to represent a balance of voices and proudly embrace Queer Lit as well as First Nations and Inuit authors and artists who are shaping & transforming our perspectives.

Goose Lane’s backlist includes:

Douglas Glover’s novel Elle, Winner of the 2003 Governor General’s Award

Reading by Lightning by 2019 Governor General Award winner Joan Thomas

Strange Heaven by 2013 Giller Prize winner Lynn Coady

Riel Nason’s The Town That Drowned, winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize (Canada and Europe)

and

Marcello Di Cintio’s Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, the recipient of the 2013 Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing.

And oh yes, there are also a few image-laden CMA Award winners, including Catherine Coles’s GWG: Piece by Piece

Sarah Milroy and Ian Dejardin’s From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia

Heather Igloliorte’s SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut

and Anthropocene: Baichwal, de Pencier, Burtynsky.

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, Goose Lane Editions will continue to embrace diversity, fresh voices and novel perspectives. We will keep on sharing stories that challenge, startle, and enlighten — and enhance our ability to be surprised and to be inspired.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

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Acadian Lighthouse
Photo by Pierre Forgues

BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN – The Montreal Massacre by journalist Josée Boileau is being released TODAY in advance of the Anniversary of the massacre – December 6th. This is the only book ever written to detail what happened on that horrific day in Montreal in 1989

Title: BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN

Subtitle: THE MONTREAL MASSACRE

Author: JOSÉE BOILEAU

Genre: NON-FICTION, HISTORY, TRUE CRIME, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, FEMINIST NON-FICTION, WOMEN’S ISSUES

Length: 308 PAGES

Publisher: SECOND STORY PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: NOVEMBER 10, 2020

ISBN: 9781772601428

Price: $24.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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Exterior of École Polytechnique de Montréal.
The third floor classroom in the École Polytechnique in which the attack ended.

DESCRIPTION:

Fourteen young university students, murdered because they were women, are memorialized in this definitive account of a tragic day that forced a reckoning with violence against women in our culture.

Each of the victims of what became known as the Montreal Massacre are remembered, their lives cut short on December 6, 1989 when a man entered their school and systematically shot every young woman he encountered, motivated by a misogyny who’s roots go far beyond one man and one day.


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MY REVIEW:

Canada’s first mass femicide took place on December 6th, 1989 when an Anti-Feminist gunman named Marc Lépine rampaged through the halls and classrooms of École Polytechnique de Montréal.

This cowardly “man” separated the men from the women and opened fire, killing fourteen and wounding several others. He was not “man enough” nor “woman enough” to face up to the consequences of his actions and took his own life.

Journalist and author, JOSÉE BOILEAU has written the only book to ever examine this crime and it’s aftermath.

Not only does this book discuss the day of the Massacre, it also details the political and societal norms of the times and the specific challenges facing women in 1989.

By outlining the massacre and the changes that came about as a result, the author gives this important event the respect it is due.

The murdered women, many of whom did not specifically self-identify as “feminists,” have been honored with a Day of Remembrance that is still celebrated today – over three decades later.

In my opinion, it is about time that an accurate historical accounting of this hate crime has been written. This book needs to be incorporated into every high-school History and Civics curriculum Canada-wide. This MUST be required reading.

It is fitting that BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN is being released the day before November 11th, which is Remembrance Day here in Canada. Even though Remembrance Day is a day to honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice during their military service, the fourteen mass murder victims were unwitting pawns in a war they were unaware they were involved in. WE MUST REMEMBER THESE WOMEN.

In 1905, George Santayana, a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

We CANNOT allow these women to be forgotten. With the writing of this book, Josée Boileau has ensured that their memories will live on.

I rate BECAUSE THEY WERE WOMEN as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I highly recommend this book to every single Canadian, male and female. I will be recommending this book to everyone I know.

With the 31st Anniversary of the shooting rapidly approaching, I will definitely be giving copies of this book to all of my local women’s shelters for their libraries.

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

THE VICTIMS:

Lépine killed fourteen women (twelve engineering students, one nursing student, and one employee of the university) and injured fourteen others, ten women and four men.

Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student

Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student

Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student

Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the École Polytechnique’s finance department

Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student

Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student

Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student

Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student

Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

The Quebec and Montreal governments declared three days of mourning. A joint funeral for nine of the women was held at Notre-Dame Basilica on December 11, 1989, and was attended by Governor General Jeanne Sauvé, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Quebec premier Robert Bourassa, and Montreal mayor Jean Doré, along with thousands of other mourners.

THE SURVIVORS:

Brought together by tragedy: From left, Jocelyne Dallaire Légaré, Heidi Rathjen, Nathalie Provost and Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire have developed a close bond since the 1989 massacre. The four of them are shown above at the École Polytechnique in 2014. 
PHOTO BY DARIO AYALA /Montreal Gazette CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH OF THESE OUTSTANDING WOMEN AND HOW SURVIVING THE MONTREAL MASSACRE CHANGED THE TRAJECTORY OF THEIR LIVES.

Who was that gutsy young woman who stood up to a cold-eyed killer?

Twenty-five years after surviving the Polytechnique massacre, Nathalie Provost mused about her younger self.

On Dec. 6, 1989, moments before Marc Lépine began a shooting rampage that killed 14 women at Quebec’s largest engineering school, Provost, then a 23-year-old mechanical engineering student, tried to reason with the gunman.

Lépine’s response was a hail of bullets that killed six of her classmates and wounded Provost in the head and leg.

“There’s a lot of tenderness for the young woman I was then, for her naïveté,” said Provost, now a 48-year-old mother of four who works as a senior manager for the provincial government.

“The wounds to your body, you see right away. For the wounds to your soul, it takes longer. You don’t understand them right away. It took me years to grasp what I had lived through.”Nathalie Provost

Marker of Change, memorial consisting of 14 coffin-like benches in Vancouver by artist Beth Alber.
On the 25th anniversary, fourteen light beams representing the 14 victims shine from Mount Royal.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Josée Boileau has been a journalist for more than thirty years, many of those for Quebec’s Le Devoir newspaper, where she became Editor in Chief.

Today, she is a current affairs commentator for CBC/Radio Canada and Chatelaine, and a book columnist for Journal de Montréal.

She has received a number of honors, including the Hélène-Pednault prize in recognition of her feminist activism.

She lives in Montreal.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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THE MURDERER:

Marc Lépine – the Mass Murderer in a 1989 photograph.


CBC Archives of the Massacre
https://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/society/crime-justice/the-montreal-massacre/topic-the-montreal-massacre.html
…………………


A play about the shootings by Adam Kelly called “The Anorak” was named as one of the best plays of 2004 by the Montreal Gazette.

Colleen Murphy’s play “December Man” was first staged in Calgary in 2007.

The movie Polytechnique, directed by Denis Villeneuve was released in 2009, and sparked controversy over the desirability of reliving the tragedy in a commercial film.

Several songs have been written about the events, including “This Memory” by the folk duo the Wyrd Sisters, and “6 December 1989” by the Australian singer Judy Small.

VIDEOS ABOUT THE MONTREAL MASSACRE:

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE by Investigative Reporter JUSTIN LING is available for pre-order NOW. This 5 STAR Read is destined for the National Bestseller list.

Title: MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE

Subtitle: The Story of Serial Killer Bruce McArthur, the Search for Justice, and the System That Failed Toronto’s Queer Community

Author: JUSTIN LING

Genre: NON-FICTION, LGBTQIA2+, LGBTQQ, QUEER NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, DIVERSITY, MULTICULTURAL INTEREST, SERIAL KILLERS, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA,  CANADIAN AUTHOR

Length: 304 PAGES

Publisher: MCCLELLAND AND STEWART – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 29, 2020

ISBN: 9780771048647

Price: $32.95 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to killing these eight men.
Top row, from left to right: Skandaraj Navaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen and Abdulbasir Faizi.
Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi and Majeed Kayhan.
(John Fraser/CBC)

DESCRIPTION:

The tragic and resonant story of the disappearance of eight men — the victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur — from Toronto’s queer community.

In 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that the disappearances of three men–Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Majeed Kayhan — from Toronto’s gay village were, perhaps, linked. When the leads ran dry, the investigation was shut down, on paper classified as “open but suspended.”

By 2015, investigative journalist Justin Ling had begun to retrace investigators’ steps, convinced there was evidence of a serial killer.

Meanwhile, more men would go missing, and police would continue to deny that there was a threat to the community. On January 18, 2018, Bruce McArthur, a landscaper, would be arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder. In February 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of eight men.

Canadian Serial Killer
Bruce McArthur
Ho / THE CANADIAN PRESS

This extraordinary book tells the complete story of the McArthur murders. Based on more than five years of in-depth reporting, this is also a story of police failure, of how the queer community responded, and the story of the eight men who went missing and the lives they left behind. In telling that story, Justin Ling uncovers the latent homophobia and racism that kept this case unsolved and unseen. This gripping book reveals how police agencies across the country fail to treat missing persons cases seriously, and how policies and laws, written at every level of government, pushed McArthur’s victims out of the light and into the shadows.

MY REVIEW:

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is destined to become a National Bestseller.

Investigative Reporter Justin Ling, himself a member of Toronto’s LGBTQ community – the very same community from which McArthur chose his victims – is uniquely qualified to author this book.

I say this, NOT based on his sexuality, I say this because he seems to have been the only person, and definitely the only reporter, who was interested in finding out what was happening in Toronto’s Gay Village YEARS before the police even considered the men’s disappearances to be connected. Not only that, but because Justin knows the area, and is a reporter with a heart who cares (sometimes too much) about each victim as a person, not as just another face in the lineup of victims. Justin is the only person who could tell this story without sensationalism getting in the way.

I have read numerous true crime books over the span of many years, but MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is unique. It is superbly told so that the focus is not on the gruesome crimes themselves, but is on the story as a whole. I love that the author was so wrapped up in the story that, at times, he had to fight back tears.

Canada has its fair share of crimes, including murder, but Canadian serial killers are rare. These killers seem to focus on marginalized populations, seeing those victims as disposable. The problem is that they seem to be right. It took way too long for the police to catch this POS.

Sex, murder and secrets are the basis for this horrific true crime story that, if I didn’t know better, I would never have believed to be true, especially not here in Ontario, Canada.

MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE is a MUST READ if you want to know the entire story, not just of Bruce McArthur and his victims, but also the history of Toronto’s gay village and the fight for LGBTQIA2S rights, and why Bruce McArthur was able to go on killing over the span of several years and remain undetected.

McArthur’s victims were real people who had loved ones and friends who still miss them.

In this era of the #metoo movement and the calls to #defundthepolice and, of course, #blacklivesmatter we all need to remember that many people are still seen as unimportant. THIS NEEDS TO STOP.

For decades people who are queer, who are sex workers, who are black, who are brown, who are Indigenous, who are homeless, and many more, have been treated as if their lives do not matter. It is up to each and every one of us to make sure we see, REALLY SEE, every life as equal and as precious. This book will open people’s eyes, it is up to us to ensure our eyes stay open.

If we can do this, maybe, just maybe, we can stop the next Bruce McArthur from being able to choose victims at will.

I rate MISSING FROM THE VILLAGE as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be watching for Justin Ling’s byline, and hopefully another book.

I just discovered that you can Pre-order the hardcover version of this book on the Chapters/Indigo website for a reduced price. It is currently 25% off, but I am not privy to when this offer ends, so I suggest you pre-order your copy ASAP.

Pre-Order NOW and Save 25%

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

QUOTES:

“The bar changed colour like a drag queen trying on new shades of lipstick.”

“The contrast between the bright paint and the rest of the dour building gave Zipperz the particular quality of being a portal into another world, a secret passageway.”

“The campaign to find a missing loved one sits exactly between hope and dread.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JUSTIN LING is an investigative journalist whose reporting has focused on stories and issues undercovered and misunderstood.

His writing has appeared in Vice News, BuzzFeed, Foreign Policy, Motherboard, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and the Guardian.

In 2019 he hosted “The Village,” the third season of the CBC podcast Uncover, which examined cold cases from the 1970s that were reopened as a result of the McArthur investigation.

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

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THE LAST HIGH by Canadian Bestselling Author and ER Doc DANIEL KALLA is a timely book. Although THE LAST HIGH is fiction, it is based on what is currently happening in Vancouver, BC. His first hand knowledge makes this story come to life and be felt viscerally by the reader.

Title: THE LAST HIGH

Author: DANIEL KALLA

Genre: FICTION, THRILLER, CANADIAN AUTHOR, OPIATE CRISIS, ADDICTION, SOCIAL THEMES

Length: 320 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER CANADA

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 12, 2020

ISBN: 9781501196980

Price: $22.00 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Dr. Julie Rees, a toxicologist and ER doctor, is stunned when her emergency room is flooded with teenagers from the same party, all on the verge of death. Julie knows the world of opioids inside and out, and she recognizes that there’s nothing typical about these cases. She suspects the teens took—or were given—fentanyl. But why did they succumb so quickly?

Detective Anson Chen is determined to find out. He and Julie race to track down the supplier of the deadly drugs. But the trail of suspects leads everywhere, from unscrupulous street dealers to ruthless gang leaders who hide behind legitimate business fronts and the walls of their mansions.

As Anson and Julie follow clues through the drug underworld, Julie finds herself haunted by memories of her troubled past—and the lover she lost to addiction. When other overdoses fill the ER—and the morgue—Julie realizes that something even more sinister than the ongoing fentanyl crisis is devastating the streets. And the body count is rapidly rising.

A gripping thriller, The Last High explores the perfect storm of greed, addiction, and crime behind the malignant spread of fentanyl, a deadly drug that is killing people faster than any known epidemic.

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MY REVIEW:

Eerily plausible. THE LAST HIGH takes readers inside today’s headlines into the world of both opiod addiction and the current rates of overdose deaths due to drugs being laced with the extremely powerful painkiller, fentanyl.

According to Wikipedia, “The Downtown Eastside is a neighbourhood in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The area, one of the city’s oldest, is the site of a complex set of social issues including high levels of drug use, homelessness, poverty, crime, mental illness, and prostitution.”

The East side of Vancouver, is notorious and holds onto its reputation as the epicenter of hopelessness. This area was not only the hunting ground of prolific serial killer Robert Picton, but is also known for the number of junkies and drug addicts who live there.

Overdoses are not uncommon in East Van, and Author Daniel Kalla works as an Emergency Room doctor, so he sees, and tries to save, many of the unfortunate victims of overdose – mainly due to fentanyl being added to the drugs users usually buy unbeknownst to the buyer.

The terrifying plausibility is what makes this book so very realistic. It is this realism that will grip readers from the very first page.

This book is fast paced and the characters seem so real that is impossible not to get caught up in the story. Readers of this book are in for quite a ride. I found myself wanting to jump into some of the scenes and just shake the people involved.

I have no choice but to rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

THE LAST HIGH is due to be released on May 12th but is already available for Pre-Order. I am fairly certain that this book will hit the bestseller lists shortly after it’s release. Because of this I highly recommend pre-ordering THE LAST HIGH so that you don’t miss out.



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photography by Michael Bednar

Born, raised, and still residing in Vancouver, Kalla spends his days (and sometimes nights) working as an ER Physician in an urban teaching hospital.

The idea for his first medical thriller, PANDEMIC, sprang from his clinical experience in facing the SARS crisis of 2003. He has written five science thrillers and or medical mysteries, delving into themes and topics as diverse as superbugs, drug addiction, prions, DNA evidence, pandemics and patient abuse.

Kalla’s last book, THE FAR SIDE OF THE SKY, is a historical novel set in Second World War Shanghai against the dramatic backdrop of converging cultures and ideologies. RISING SUN, FALLING SHADOW continues the story of the Adler family through 1943, the bleakest year in war-torn Shanghai.

His books have been translated into eleven languages, and two have been optioned for feature films.

Daniel received his MD from the University of British Columbia. He is married and the proud father of two girls in a home predominated by the XX chromosome (even his beloved Labrador retriever, Lola, is female.)

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://danielkalla.com/

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Vincent Lam and Daniel Kalla

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 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*

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:

NIBI IS WATER / nibi aawan nbiish BY Award Winning Indigenous Author JOANNE ROBERTSON is a must have for your library. Read below to find out why…

Title: NIBI IS WATER / nibi aawan nbiish

Author & Illustrator: JOANNE ROBERTSON

Translators: SHIRLEY WILSON and ISADORE TOULOUSE

Genre: CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, INDIGENOUS NON-FICTION, ENVIRONMENT, WATER, INDIGENOUS AUTHOR

Length: 28 PAGES

Publisher: SECOND STORY PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 14, 2020

ISBN: 9781772601329

Price: $10.95 Hardcover with Jacket

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A  first conversation about the importance of Nibi—which means water in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe)—and our role to thank, respect, love, and protect it.

Babies and toddlers can follow Nibi as it rains and snows, splashes or rows, drips and sips.

Written from an Anishinaabe water protector’s perspective, the book is in dual languages — English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe). 
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Joanne Robertson reads her new book about Josephine Mandamin to a class in Thunder Bay. They want to inspire kids to protect clean water.
(Photo by Jackie McKay )

MY REVIEW:

Beautifully yet simply illustrated, NIBI IS WATER is a gorgeous primer about water and it’s sacred role in Indigenous culture.

This book is being marketed as a children’s book, but it is also a terrific resource for those who are interested in learning a few important words in the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) traditional language.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if people in Canada (and elsewhere) picked an Indigenous language and learned to speak it fluently. I, for one, would love to learn to speak this lyrical and gentle language. After reading this book and repeating the words outloud over and over again, I have made my first steps to making this a reality.

As I was reading through the pages and enjoying the incredible artwork, I was wishing that there was a pronunciation guide. Little did I know that my wish was about to be granted. On the final page of the book is a pronunciation primer that spells out each word phonetically. I was very pleased.

Canada’s shameful history of it’s treatment of Indigenous peoples has been exposed, but has not yet been fully stopped. Water is life and too many Indigenous lands contain polluted and contaminated water supplies. This needs to be fixed and reading and purchasing books such as this one is a start.

I rate NIBI IS WATER as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would like to thank NetGalley and Orbit Books for providing me with a free advance copy of this book.

Pre-Order your copy today and come back and let me know what you thought of it once it officially releases in April 2020.
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8Diu9sgdU
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joanne Robertson is AnishinaabeKwe and a member of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.

She received her Fine Arts degree from Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. Joanne is the founder of the Empty Glass for Water campaign to bring attention to the drinking water crisis in Indigenous communities across Canada.

She produced a film about the water crisis called “Glass Action”. Today she works as a research assistant at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and continues to support the water walks through live GPS spotting to make sure the water is safe.

Joanne was chosen as the winner of a writing award. Read the article by clicking HERE.

Joanne lives near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.emptyglassforwater.ca/home.php

GOODREADS

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

WIKIPEDIA  

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

CHAPTERS

STRONGNATIONS.COM

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

#NibiIsWater #NetGalley #Indigenous #IndigenousAuthor #environmental #waterislife #waterisaright #Canadian #Canlit #ojibwe #Anishinaabemowin #nibiiswater #water #waterrights #idlenomore #nonfiction #indigenousnonfiction #indigenouschildrensbook #childrensbook

Indigenous Literary Studies Association


https://indigenousvoicesawards.org


Award recipients, finalists, and jurors after the 2019 Gala at the UBC Longhouse. Welcome page, and 2019 gala.
Photographs by Justine Crawford

LINKS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

Two Anishinaabe Grandmothers, and a group of Anishinaabe Women and Men have taken action regarding the water issue by walking the perimeter of the Great Lakes. Along with a group of Anishinaabe Kwe and supports, they walked around Lake Superior in Spring 2003, around Lake Michigan in 2004, Lake Huron in 2005, Lake Ontario in 2006 and Lake Erie in 2007, Lake Michigan in 2008, and the St. Lawrence River in 2009.
http://motherearthwaterwalk.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&Itemid=53

Mother Earth Water Walkers

Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association (SASA)

The objectives of SASA are:

  • To provide cultural, social & academic support for all Anishinaabe students.
  • To increase Anishinaabe student participation in all aspects of the university.
  • To encourage communication with other Anishinaabe post-secondary organizations.
  • To assist Anishinaabe students with adjusting to the university environment.
  • To strengthen cultural awareness between Anishinaabe students and non-Anishinaabe students.

In May, 2010 history was made when a document was signed between SASA and the Algoma University Students’ Union. It is a commitment to promote Anishinaabe self-determination. “This monumental agreement stabilizes and recognition for the Anishinaabe Student Association, and will promote and encourage students to self-identify as Anishinaabe. It is meant to build a stronger Students’ Union and movement. This ‘commitment to solidarity’ (Gwii Nandogikendaanaan) will also lead to greater inclusion of Anishinaabe students as representatives on Union and University Subcommittees.” (see Media Release  http://www.algomau.ca/news/2010/05/03/279)

http://www.algomau.ca/current-students/anishinaabe-students-assoc

Algoma University Students’ Union (AUSU)

The Algoma University Students’ Union represents over 1,000 students on both the Sault Ste Marie and Brampton, Ontario campuses of Algoma University. AUSU is Local 82 of the Canadian Federation of Students.

www.ausu.ca

Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)

The Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Federation of Students-Services were formed in 1981 to provide students with an effective and united voice, provincially and nationally. At the time, it was recognized that for students to be truly effective in representing their collective interests to the federal and provincial governments, it was vital to unite under one banner. Today, over one-half million students from more than 80 university and college students’ unions across Canada belong to the Federation.

www.cfs-fcee.ca

The Council of Canadians, Water

http://www.canadians.org/water/index.html
The Right to Water
http://www.canadians.org/water/issues/right/index.html
Safe Water for First Nations
http://www.canadians.org/water/issues/right/index.htm
Making Waves Blog, Analysis of Canadian water politics by the Council of Canadians’ national water campaigner.
http://rabble.ca/blog/17461

Katie Ungard, Women and Environment Youth Eco-Intern, Muskoka YWCA

Katie Ungard is the Women and Environment Youth Eco-Intern at the YWCA in Muskoka. As part of her work she will be speaking with women in the Muskoka district about water. Keep up to date with her work through this link…

http://ywcamuskoka.com

<a href="<iframe width="200" height="167" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wPega7E8Lhg&quot; frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Water Walk

THE FOREST CITY KILLER by Vanessa Brown a tale of murder and mayhem that gripped the city of London, Ontario in the late 1960s – A MUST READ for all true-crime buffs

Title: THE FOREST CITY KILLER
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Subtitle: A SERIAL MURDERER, A COLD-CASE SLEUTH, AND A SEARCH FOR JUSTICE
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Author: VANESSA BROWN
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Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, CANADIAN NON-FICTION

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Length: 360 PAGES

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Publisher: ECW PRESS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: OCTOBER 4, 2019

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ISBN: 9781770415034

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Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Dig deep into the unsolved murder of Jackie English and join the hunt for a serial killer

Fifty years ago, a serial killer prowled the quiet city of London, Ontario, marking it as his hunting grounds. As young women and boys were abducted, raped, and murdered, residents of the area held their loved ones closer and closer, terrified of the monster — or monsters — stalking the streets. Homicide detective Dennis Alsop began hunting the killer in the 1960s, and he didn’t stop searching until his death 40 years later. For decades, detectives, actual and armchair, and the victims’ families and friends continued to ask questions: Who was the Forest City Killer? Was there more than one person, or did a depraved individual commit all of these crimes on his own?

Combing through the files Detective Alsop left behind, researcher Vanessa Brown reopens the cases, revealing previously unpublished witness statements, details of evidence, and astonishing revelations. And through her investigation, Vanessa posits the unthinkable: is it possible that the Forest City Killer is still alive and, like the notorious Golden State Killer, a simple DNA test could bring him to justice?
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MY REVIEW:

Researcher Vanessa Brown grew up in London, Ontario, Canada and resides there to this day. It is in her beloved city where she owns and operates a used book store and as an avid local historian, she has authored and/or edited several local history books. London, Ontario is also known as “The Forest City” hence the title of this book.

I have a keen interest in True Crime, biographies and historical non-fiction. It is because of this that I was drawn to THE FOREST CITY KILLER.

Also, since I live in Ontario, Canada and have visited all the locations mentioned in this story, and in fact, I attended the same high school (Sir Frederick Banting High School in Alliston Ontario) as convicted murderer, David Bodemer, I knew I just had to find out the details of the murders which took place only a few years before I was born.

Author VANESSA BROWN has taken the story of murder most foul and crafted a true tale of intrigue with so many twists and turns that it is almost unbelievable. It is said that “Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction,” and in the case of the FOREST CITY KILLER this statement proves to be true.

Untangling the web of murders as well as entertaining multiple theories, the writing of this book must have been a monumental task and yet Vanessa Brown proves herself as adept in not only untangling the many strands of the web, but also in providing readers with a chohesive and coherent timeline and a theory that comes across as convincing. In fact, maybe Vanessa Brown has missed her calling – she would make a phenomenal cold-case investigator.

My only negative feedback about THE FOREST CITY KILLER is the overabundance of footnotes. In my opinion, if the note is worthy of being included in the book, then it can easily be added to the main narrative. I found the footnotes interesting and was glad the information they contained was included, however I found them overly distracting. Hopefully, since the copy I received was an ARC (Advance Review Copy) that these footnotes will be worked into the body of the book.

Included in the book are many photographs including pictures of the eleven victims and photos taken at the time the bodies were found. This allows readers to feel an extra connection to the cases.

I rate THE FOREST CITY KILLER as 4 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:

A freelance writer, editor and local historian, Vanessa Brown is the author of The Grand Old Lady: A History of Hotel London and London: 150 Cultural Moments which was published by Biblioasis in 2017.

Vanessa Brown is an antiquarian bookseller who consults on early and rare editions and ephemera for the L. M. Montgomery Research Group. She is the author of The Grand Old Lady: A History of Hotel London.

Vanessa is also a murderino, and wants to remind you to stay sexy and don’t get murdered! (Don’t know what this means? Check out the amazing True Crime podcast MY FAVORITE MURDER)

Her latest book, The Forest City Killer, will be published with ECW in 2019.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
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GOODREADS
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GOODREADS – ECW PRESS

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FACEBOOK
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FACEBOOK – ECW PRESS

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INSTAGRAM
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INSTAGRAM – ECW PRESS

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TWITTER
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TWITTER – ECW PRESS

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PINTEREST
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AMAZON
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CHAPTERS
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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

TO PURCHASE A SIGNED COPY OF THE FOREST CITY KILLER Click HERE

#TheForestCityKiller #NetGalley #SSDGM #murderino #TrueCrime #london #ontario #murders #coldcase

THE UNDERWATER WELDER by famous Canadian Author/Illustrator JEFF LEMIRE is wholly deserving of 5 Stars. This graphic novel will stay with you long after the final page.

Title: THE UNDERWATER WELDER

Author: JEFF LEMIRE

Genre: GRAPHIC NOVEL (ADULTS & TEENS), CANADIAN FICTION

Length: 221 PAGES

Publisher: TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS

Release Date: 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60309-074-2

Price: $25.00 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Pressure. As an underwater welder on an oilrig off the coast of Nova Scotia, Jack Joseph is used to the immense pressures of deep-sea work. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the pressures of impending fatherhood.

As Jack dives deeper and deeper, he seems to pull further and further away from his young wife, and their unborn son.

But then, something happens deep on the ocean floor. Jack has a strange and mind-bending encounter that will change the course of his life forever. … Equal parts blue-collar character study and mind-bending science fiction epic, The Underwater Welder is a 250-page graphic novel that explores fathers and sons, birth and death, memory and truth, and treasures we all bury deep down inside.

MY REVIEW:

Graphic novels aren’t just for kids anymore and there is no better novel to demonstrate that fact than “The Underwater Welder.”

The story is about a blue collar guy named Jack Joseph. He lives and works in Nova Scotia as an underwater welder just offshore on an oil rig. He is about to become a father and that fact makes him think about his own father and how he died.

Jack dives deep underwater and one day, while welding, he spots something on the ocean floor and decides to investigate.

Above, on the oil rig, Jack’s supervisor notices that something is wrong and Jack is rescued and returned to the rig. The doctor sends him home.

However, the problems Jack is experiencing are not based on location. They are all inside his head.

This graphic novel is an amazing character study. It demonstrates the impact the loss of a parent as a child can have on a person, and that left untreated, depression can continue into adulthood and have a lasting impact on a person’s life, even without them realizing it.

The story also highlights the stress of becoming a father (or mother) for the first time. Family dynamics are also explored and it proves that it can take a major event to break through the shadow of the past to become the person you want to be.

There are numerous life lessons in this 200+ page graphic novel and even if readers do not realize it, those lessons may sink into the reader’s unconscious mind.

Even without considering the lessons learned, this graphic novel is a well thought out and exquisitely plotted tale about an average guy leading an average life. There are no superpowers to be found and none are needed.

It is easy to see why this graphic novel won so many awards and also became a Best-Seller.

I strongly recommend this graphic novel to readers over the age of eighteen. If you have ever been curious about this type of story, THE UNDERWATER WELDER would be a perfect first purchase.

The Underwater Welder was Amazon’s Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2012, Amazon Canada’s #1 Best Graphic Novel of 2012, and A.V. Club’s Top Ten Graphic Novels for 2012. It received a Publishers Weekly starred review and the Comics Alliance’s Charles Xavier Memorial Award Best Comics of 2012 for “Best Melancholic Welding Drama.”

In researching this title, I discovered that Ryan Gosling, Ken Kao, and Anonymous Content are planning to produce a movie adaptation of Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel “The Underwater Welder.” I know that I will be watching it on the big screen one day soon.

I rate “The Underwater Welder” as 5 out of 5 Stars in the graphic novel category. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

** I purchased a signed copy of this graphic novel at WORD ON THE STREET – TORONTO.**

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Click HERE to watch the video highlighting Jeff Lemire’s next project – the movie.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jeff Lemire is an award-winning Canadian cartoonist, and the author of the Essex County Trilogy, Sweet Tooth and The Nobody. Lemire is known for a his moody, humanistic stories and sketchy, cinematic, black-and-white art.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

INSTAGRAM

NERDIST.COM

TWITTER

GOOGLE+

MACLEAN’S MAGAZINE ARTICLE

AMAZON

THE CANADIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA

WIKIPEDIA

CHAPTERS

INKWELL MANAGEMENT AGENCY

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

Upcoming graphic novel:


THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB by Canadian Author CRAIG DAVIDSON. This book is so good that it deserves more than 5 Stars. Don’t miss this one.

Title: THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB

Author: CRAIG DAVIDSON

Genre: FICTION, LITERARY FICTION, CANLIT, CANADIAN FICTION

Length: 246 PAGES

Publisher: ALFRED A. KNOPF CANADA – A Division of PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

Received From: THE PUBLISHER

Release Date: AUGUST 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-7482-2 (Hardcover)

Price: $27.00 CDN

Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

When neurosurgeon Jake Breaker operates, he knows he’s handling more than a patient’s delicate brain tissue – he’s altering their seat of consciousness, their golden vault of memory. And memory, Jake knows, can be a tricky thing.

When growing up in 1980s Niagara Falls (a.k.a. Cataract City) one of Jake’s closest confidantes was his uncle Calvin, a sweet but eccentric misfit enamored of occult artefacts and outlandish conspiracy theories.

The summer Jake turned twelve, Calvin invited him to join the “Saturday Night Ghost Club” – a seemingly light-hearted project to investigate some of Cataract City’s more macabre urban myths.

Over the course of that life-altering summer, Jake slowly and painfully came to realize that his uncle’s preoccupation with chilling legends sprang from something buried so deep in his past that Calvin himself was unaware of it.

MY REVIEW:

The Saturday Night Ghost Club is on the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize shortlist. The Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize recognizes Canadian writers of exceptional talent for the year’s best novel or short story collection. The winner receives $50,000 and all finalists receive $5000.
https://www.writerstrust.com/awards/rogers-writers-trust-fiction-prize

Everything about this book is sheer perfection. From the Hardy Boys inspired cover, to the uneven edging of the pages, to the scenes of Canadiana – such as when twelve year old Jake “… was sitting on the sofa watching The Beachcombers…”

Reading this book is like taking a walk through my own Ontario childhood when children actually played outside, when kids could disappear for hours and explore places that today’s helicopter parents would never dream of allowing their bubble-wrapped kids to go. It was a time when “bullying” was just a part of growing up. You had to either submit to it or learn to fight back.

“Suck it up, Buttercup,” was more likely the parental response to any type of bullying during my childhood and that of Jake Breaker as opposed to what happens now – complaining to the teachers, the Principal, the School Board, and anyone who will listen and likely even posting about it on social media.

It was a time when you would have been mortified if your parents got involved. Kids learned to solve their own problems, or they didn’t and if not, they ended up as perennial victims.

Craig Davidson takes the reader back to a time when imagination was King. A time before internet. You couldn’t just Google information about anything you wanted to know. You asked your parents or if you were as lucky as the protagonist, you asked your “Strange Duck” Uncle.

The way the author describes Uncle Calvin is so vivid and so very detailed that readers are able to picture him vividly, from his height. “He was incredibly tall, or so he seemed back then. (I realize now that, at six foot three, he was not quite the fairytale giant who exists in my memory.) To the way he moved – “He moved awkwardly, as though threads were attached to his limbs, trailing up to a novice puppeteer. He claimed this was the result of his nerves failing to stretch down to his toes and fingertips…” To his teeth, hair and even the clothes he wears. Uncle C becomes as vital and real to the reader as he is to his nephew, Jake.

The tale is told through the memories of a now grown up Jake. He has become a neurosurgeon and tells us the story of one summer when he was a pre-teen. It was a summer in which he still believed in ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night.

I was so wrapped up in this story that the world around me fell away and through the amazing talent of author Craig Davidson, I was transported into the story.

It takes a rare and exceptional talent to make me excited enough about a book that I feel compelled to tell everyone I meet about it. THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB is the best book I have read this year, and I have read many.

The descriptive power of words is on full display in this work of Literary Fiction. For example, read this:

“The girl was eight years old … An MRI revealed a mass lodged near her pineal gland … an aggressive form of cancer manifesting in children. She was booked into surgery immediately. My sucker wand transited the lobes of her brain, moving through sticky webs of glia – brain glue, as it is known in our racket – to arrive at the tumor, which lay anchored in her ocular nerve. The delicate procedure was like vacuuming caramelized sugar off a strand of spaghetti. The slightest misstep would snap the nerve and rob the girl of sight in that eye. I removed as much as felt safe before retreating.”

Comparing author Craig Davidson to other authors would just not be fair. It would be like comparing a CB Radio to a Smart Phone. He is in a class by himself and is sure to win award after award for his writing.

I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and I am thankful to them for introducing me to this author. I need to get my hands on anything and everything else he has written. If those books are even half as good as this one, they are books I absolutely must read.

The rating system for books only goes to 5 Stars, but I believe this book warrants a higher rating, one that distinguishes it from all others, therefore, I rate The Saturday Night Ghost Club as 5+ out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

**This book is also available as an audiobook at http://www.audible.ca Click HERE to purchase it online.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

CRAIG DAVIDSON was born and grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls.

He has published four previous books of literary fiction: Rust and Bone, which was made into an Oscar-nominated feature film of the same name, The Fighter, Sarah Court, and the Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated Cataract City.

Davidson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his articles and journalism have been published in the National Post, Esquire, GQ, The Walrus, and The Washington Post, among other places.

He lives in Toronto, Canada, with his partner and their child.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

AMAZON

WRITER’S TRUST AUTHOR PAGE

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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