From An-Other Land dives deep into immigration today for the diaspora and its many facets with characters who seek to define themselves in an intercultural setting that is less and less sure of itself.
About From An-Other Land
Never has been the conversation on immigration more pertinent than now, post 2016 US elections. From cancellation of refugee protection and zero tolerance to undercurrent crackdown on H visas to the border wall – the resurgence of nationalism is hitting the globalized population head-on.
But what is immigration today? A question of life or death – fleeing of persecution? A compulsion? Or a mere pursuance of privilege? And what is the US today? A land of opportunities? Or a quagmire impossible to comprehend, inherently racist and selfish?
From An-Other Land dives deep into immigration today for the diaspora and its many facets with characters who seek to define themselves in an intercultural setting that is less and less sure of itself. A reality check and a guide for anyone who wants to understand the modern-day US.
Tanushree Ghosh works in Tech and has a Doctorate in Chemistry from the Cornell University. She is also a social activist and writer. Her blog posts, op-eds, poems, and stories are in effort to provoke thoughts, especially towards issues concerning women and social justice.
She is a contributor (past and present) to several popular e-zines (incl. The Huffington Post US, The Logical Indian, Youth Ki Awaaz, Tribune India, Women’s Web, and Cafe Dissensus). Her literary resume includes poems and stories featured in national and international magazines (Words Pauses and Noises, UK; TUCK, Glimmer Train Honorable mention) as well as inclusion in seven anthologies such as Defiant Dreams (Oprah 2016 reading list placeholder) and The Best Asian Short Stories 2017 (published out of Singapore by Kitaab). Her first single author book, From An-Other Land is on immigration.
She has held different leadership roles in non-profits (ASHA and AID India) and is the founder and director of Her Rights (www.herrights.website), a 501(3) c non-profit committed to furthering the cause of gender equality. She is often an invited speaker or panelist for both corporate and non-profit endeavors.
When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.
Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.
Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.
However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.
I am a huge history fan and I love reading books set in this time period and this novel does not disappoint.
While the focus on so many novels is your strong, brave, fearless MALE hero – this novel takes a different approach. It follows Roxana’s story who as a young girl at the tender age of sixteen marries Alexander the Great. Now you think with such a husband, she would be forced into the back burner of the story but her tale is unique. She is just as fearless as him and perhaps even stronger?
She is not of royal blood but is a strong young woman who has grown up learning to be independent, take care of herself and not to bend to societal rules. Her beauty is what first attracts Alexander’s eye but it is her fierce determination, strength and confidence which sets them down the path of true love.
This path, while full of love, is also full of lies, war and constant struggle for power. She is caught up in the web of deceit many times and has to rely on herself only in order to survive. She is clever, strong, fierce and everything you want to be. You feel her pain when she loses her first child in labour and rejoice with her when she does give birth. Your heart is sore for her as she struggles for acceptance and to understand the politics and rules that guide her life. You hurt alongside her at the loss of her husband and when she is not allowed to grieve as she has to do everything to protect her child.
It is an incredible story from start to finish that you will not want to put down. I read this book in one sitting as I was just fascinated by her and her journey. This is a book that does not disappoint!
You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon (releases May 14, 2019).
About the Author
Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Having been brought up in the motion picture industry, she learned to tell stories from a different perspective and began writing at the age of eight. Infusing the rich tapestry of her hometown into her award-winning novels, she believes that creating vivid characters makes a story memorable. A permitted/certified wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Weis rescues orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives with her husband and pets in New Orleans.
Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Get ready for an incredible live singing and dancing performance from an outstanding group of young children, the Mini Pop Kids!
We were first introduced to the Mini Pop Kids when my eldest was quite a bit younger. They did an amazing job of covering popular songs and making them age appropriate yet still being enjoyable for adults and kids. They originally launched in the 1980s (yes you heard that right) and went on to sell millions of albums worldwide. They relaunched in 2004 and their popularity has continued to soar.
The Mini Pop Kids landed in Hamilton on February 23rd at FirstOntario Concert Hall and they set the place on fire with their energy, fantastic vocals and dance moves. The atmosphere was electric the moment you walked into the hall. Children were dressed up to match their favourite Mini Pop Kids and I have to admit some of those children were quite the little fashionistas! We took several photos in front of the signs marking our very first concert and made sure to pick up a light up microphone. Once we entered the hall roughly thirty minutes before the concert started, we were treated to recordings of the group that had us dancing and singing long before the show started.
Once the group made their entrance on stage, the audience went wild with excitement. Kids were singing, dancing and screaming. I was embarrassing my youngest with my off tune vocals! The group covered many of the current top hits as well as two of their own original songs, Take Flight and Get Loud. Their Get Loud song is a song that you may have heard before and is associated with the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto (a place close to my own heart) and a portion of the proceeds from this song goes right back to the Hospital.
The show was engaging, the vocals were amazing – this group of kids are beyond talented. While the songs were from the top hits, parents will love how well they covered the songs that had a few words that may not have been age appropriate. They also had the words to each song running live on the main screen behind them to help encourage you to sing along, I have to admit I had been singing quite a few of these songs wrong for quite a while! It was so special and heart warming to watch the children dance in their seats, run up to the stage and how warm and responsive the Mini Pop Kids were in coming down to give the kids high fives.
Not only is the group vocally incredible but they are also very talented in dancing. Our son loved the way Kalan danced (he made me record several of his dance moves) and follow him on Instagram so that he could practice his moves. For an extra bit of local love, the group was joined on stage by a local dance group, which I found out later is something they do in each stop. What an special moment for those children and parents – watching them dance along side the group.
Make sure to check to see if the Mini Pop Kids are stopping at a location near you (they have stops until the end of April) here.
Through trials along their trails, LeRoy and Johnny B transform people they meet, brand the world a better place, and reap the benefits.
About Trials and Trails
With a past of slavery and compliance, LeRoy has learned to pick his battles carefully. Johnny B, a quick-tempered Sioux, is still learning to control his anger. When dangerous circumstances bond them together, the pair learn to navigate Reconstruction Era America and all its prejudices. They save an innocent man from hanging, reunite two old friends, assist in an honorable death for an elder Indian, and discover their worth as they steadily assimilate self-respect into their lives.
From Jim Halverson’s debut novel comes a tale of adventure, purpose, and the pursuit of self-actualization. Cowboys and psychology ride hand in hand, traveling a journey from living life on the edge to finding a place of belonging, joy, vulnerability, and distinction. Through trials along their trails, LeRoy and Johnny B transform people they meet, brand the world a better place, and reap the benefits.
In this novel, we are introduced to two characters whose pasts seem so different but at the same time they are so much alike as they try to make a way in a world that just doesn’t quite accept them yet.
LeRoy is a past slave who carries the scars of his past with him. He is quite and gentle, puts a lot of thought into his words and has a good heart. He is slow to anger and has learned to pick his battles carefully. In contrast, Johnny B is Sioux who witnessed the death of his family and was raised by a white family. He was left on his own when the man who took him passed away and this man’s wife could no longer care for him. He is quick to anger and doesn’t tend to hold back his feelings.
The two are making their way through the West in the 1870s and are met with racism, hurtful comments and distrust. Throughout this, they stay true to their morals, beliefs and values. They are two genuine, good hearted men who care about others around them regardless of what has happened to them. They face misconceptions head on in a respectful manner and command respect from these same individuals with their determination, kindness, knowledge and respect for others.
This is a feel good novel full of life lessons for those reading the novel and a reminder to us that at the end of the day we are all the same and to treat each other with respect and kindness.
Jim Halverson grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.
Solving cases for ghosts comes with a unique set of circumstances in Out of the Darkness.
About Out of the Darkness
Gus wakes up in a dark void with no memory and no body. Screaming and cursing does him no good. He’s trapped, until he learns about one man who can help.
Joe Cavelli is a PI who hears ghosts, solves their murders, and sometimes fixes their personal problems. Now he finds himself pestered by an invisible, impatient, and brash amnesiac.
Solving cases for ghosts comes with a unique set of circumstances. This time, Joe can’t even claim to be investigating a murder, since Gus’s body is nowhere to be found. Together, Joe and Gus delve into Gus’s past, uncovering clues that lead to a startling conclusion.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I first picked up this book but it blew me away. We have Joe, a PI, who works on the fringe of police work who has an interesting in with the victims and their families – he can speak with the murdered victims. Then we have Gus, a foul mouthed, angry at the world kind of guy/ghost who isn’t quite sure where he is and what has happened to him. He seems to have lost all of his memory, which is a first for Joe as he tries to solve Gus’ case.
The two, who are complete opposites in personalities, set off to solve a case that they aren’t even sure where to start. Gus appears to be stuck in a black void, with no recollection of his past, his name and what happened to him. He wants to help Joe but he struggles with many parts of his own history. Throughout the novel, we watch as he struggles with his own past, receives visits from other ghosts who try to guide him through his anger and hate.
While Joe struggles with this case at first, the breakthrough comes when he finds out Gus’ full name and that Gus is still listed as missing, which gives hope that maybe just maybe Gus isn’t dead but caught in limbo. The two set out to solve the case and unwrap a series of events that led to Gus’ downfall that will blow your mind.
This is a fantastic, fast paced read with a lot of moving parts. I was hooked into the story within the first ten pages and could not put it down. The last quarter of the book was not what I was expecting but was perfect for this story and ending. A definite must read novel!
Darcia Helle is a Massachusetts native, who escaped the New England winters to write in the Florida sunshine. She lives with her husband in a home full of spoiled rescue animals and an occasional stray lizard. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.
Joe put the few dishes in the dishwasher, made himself another cup of strong coffee, and said, “Okay, Gus. Let’s see if we can figure this out.”
He walked out of the kitchen, Gus’s voice trailing after him. “Where are we going?”
Joe stepped into the room that was the smaller of the two spare bedrooms. He crossed over to his desk, opened his laptop, and switched it on.
“This is your office?”
Joe sat in his padded leather chair. “My home office. I have another, professional place, with an assistant. No need to go there, though, particularly since she doesn’t know about—” He waved his hand in Gus’s general direction. “—you. This.”
“She doesn’t know you talk to ghosts, is what you’re saying?”
“Afraid she’d think you’re crazy?”
“No. It’s just not something I feel like sharing.”
“You banging her?”
“Huh. I thought all guys banged their secretaries.”
Joe heard the dry humor in Gus’s tone, though the statement still irritated him. “No, all guys don’t. And I said assistant, not secretary.”
“Same thing, isn’t it?”
“No. But it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m a one-woman man.”
Joe opened a browser page, then the Tampa Bay Times website. He typed ‘Angus Smith’ into the search bar and clicked the Enter key.
“What are you doing?”
Gus had a gruff way of asking a question that made it sound more like an accusation. One minute Joe felt bad for Gus, and the next he wanted to punch Gus in the face. If he could see Gus’s face. If Gus even had a face. Did ghosts have faces, or were they just invisible blobs of energy? Joe was too tired to deal with this.
“I’m trying to find out how you died,” Joe said.
“I don’t know, Gus. Because it’s a place to start? Figure out how you died and maybe I’ll figure out why you’re stuck in the dark? Unless you have a better idea?”
A huff, then, “No. I got nothing.”
Gus kept silent while Joe scrolled down and clicked a link. Gus’s photo stared back at him from the screen. Seeing the person for the first time was always an odd experience. He couldn’t help but form a picture of each ghost in his mind, based solely on the voice and the little he knew about who he or she had been. Sometimes he was way off. Other times, like now, he was pretty close.
“That’s a crapass picture of me,” Gus said.
Joe studied the grainy image accompanying the article. Buzzcut. Deep brown eyes. Tattoo snaking down the side of his neck, disappearing into his shirt. He seemed to be snarling at the camera. The article put him at 6’3”, 230 pounds, and Joe could see it was all muscle.
He didn’t address the quality of the photo, ignoring Gus while he read through the article. He double-checked the date on the article, then said, “You’re missing.”
“What d’you mean, I’m missing? I’m right here.”
“I mean, you were reported missing. Last Friday, so three days ago.”
“Missing? That makes no sense, since I’m dead.”
“No one appears to know you’re dead.”
“Do you remember where you were when you died?”
“Were you sick? In an accident? Traveling somewhere?”
“I don’t know!”
Joe leaned back and closed his eyes. He forced himself not to react to Gus’s abrupt tone. The guy had every reason to be upset, though this mess sure as hell wasn’t Joe’s fault.
“Who reported me missing?”
Joe opened his eyes and scanned the article.
Silence. Joe waited a moment before adding, “Says she’s your live-in girlfriend.”
“Do you remember the last time you saw her?” Joe felt a cool wall of air pressing around him.
“Are you leaning on me?”
“I’m trying to read the article.”
Joe suppressed a shudder—barely. “It doesn’t say much. You left the house at your usual time on Thursday morning. You’re not answering your cell phone, and no one has seen you since.”
“I don’t remember.”
“What’s the last thing you remember?”
“The very last thing? Hell, I don’t know. I might’ve been at a bar with some buddies. I might’ve been driving my truck. Or having sex. It’s all a jumble.”
“Did you and Cat fight the last time you saw her?”
I don’t know. I don’t think so. Maybe.”
“Could she have killed you?” Gus snorted a laugh.
“Cat? Kill me? That’s funny, Mr. Detective.”
“Yeah? Why is it so funny?”
“She just wouldn’t.” Joe rubbed at his burning eyes.
“Tell me about your relationship.”
“Maybe it’ll trigger a memory. Help me figure out where your body might be.”
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