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From An-Other Land Spotlight

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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.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

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.

Connect with her on her website, Twitter and Facebook.

The Giveaway!

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Out of the Darkness Book Review

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.

My Thoughts

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!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

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.

Book Excerpt

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?”

“My office.”

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?”

“Right.”

“Afraid she’d think you’re crazy?”

“No. It’s just not something I feel like sharing.”

“You banging her?”

“Jesus. No.”

“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.

“Why?”

“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.”

“Huh.”

“Do you remember where you were when you died?”

“No.”

“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.

“Cat Loring.”

Silence. Joe waited a moment before adding, “Says she’s your live-in girlfriend.”

“Yeah.”

“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?”

Silence.

“Gus?”

“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.”

“Why?”

“Maybe it’ll trigger a memory. Help me figure out where your body might be.”

“Well, shit.”

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Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Sesame Street: Celebrate Family DVD Giveaway

February is the month of love and what betters represents love than a family? Unconditional love, kindness, caring and respect, everything you can find in a family and more. Sesame Street: Celebrate Family will be on DVD February 5th for all families to enjoy.

About Sesame Street: Celebrate Family

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family includes five stories for curious preschoolers and their families. First, Abby’s family has dinner at Elmo’s house, where she learns that even though families do things in all different ways, they can still have fun working together to make a meal. Then, Cookie Monster realizes he’s forgotten to get a gift for his mommy for Mother’s Day—what should he do? For Father’s Day, Rosita wants to make a video for her dad, but she needs some help from her friends. Next, we meet Rudy, Abby’s new step-brother! Finally, Hooper’s Store is throwing a special party for kids and their grandparents.

Bonus Features:

  • Full length episode: Siblings
  • Elmo’s World Families
  • Sesame Studios: Marvie’s Song for Dad

Our Thoughts

Family is the most important thing in life. It is important for children to learn how families can be the same and different. Every family can have a different make up, different traditions and all should be celebrated and embraced. Children can learn about family, sharing, having fun and celebrate everything that makes a family special. This is a beautiful, fun and special collection of shows that the whole family will love.

Download fun Sesame Street Celebrate Family printables here.

This DVD has a running time of roughly two hours.

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Official Trailer

Disclosure: I received the DVD above in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Stages of Grace Book Review

iRead Book Tours

The Stages of Grace was written out of a desire to share with others who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease what I have experience as Grace’ caregiver and friend.

The Stages of Grace

About The Stages of Grace

This book was written out of a desire to share with others who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease what I have experience as Grace’ caregiver and friend. I wanted to capture the emotions, the expected and the unexpected issues, the painful times as well as the humorous and loving moments that Grace and I have shared as a result of this disease. This is not mean to be a handbook for dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, but I hope that by sharing my feelings and experiences, readers may recognize they are not alone on this particular journey.

My Thoughts

The Stages of Grace is beautiful, open, honest look into the life of a caregiver and friend. This book had me in tears, laughing and wanting to give both Connie and Grace a hug. Connie writes in such an open and honest manner, that you feel as though you are right there with her having the conversations, talking about the joys and pains of life with a person with Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is not an easy disease for anyone to deal with (not that any disease is but this one comes with its own ups and downs). It can be painful, it can be frustrating but at times beautiful and honest. We watch Grace travel down her road with Alzheimer’s and some times she is there in every moment while others you can feel how alone and scared she must be. I can’t even begin to imagine the fear that must come from not remembering those around you or what happened hours ago. The frustration and fear must be unbearable for the person involved.

The caregiver, in this case Connie, also goes through a great ordeal as they slowly lose parts of the person they love. That person is still there but the glimpses come in bursts. The love Connie has for Grace is beautiful and brought me to tears at many times. She is such a strong, beautiful and kind daughter.

This is the perfect book  not only for caregivers but anyone that is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. It is not a book to guide you on dealing with the disease but instead a way to share emotions, the good, the bad and the ugly. It will leave you smiling, with hope and at times in tears.

You can purchase a copy on Amazon and Amazon.ca.

Rating:5/5

The Stages of Grace

About the Author

Connie Ruben is an entrepreneur with well-developed management skills. She has run several large companies, and prides herself on empowering others to work to their full potential. Connie also has an intimate knowledge of the challenges and joys of caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, as her mother-in-law Grace was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease in 2003. While Connie still struggles to balance her work life and home life, her understanding of this disease has made it easier for her to negotiate the demands of being a caregiver, as well as a wife, mother, and employer. She has written this book in order to share the insights she has gained as Grace’s primary caregiver and friend. Most importantly, Connie wants this book to assure others that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be enjoyable, life-affirming, and emotionally significant. You can connect with her on her website.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Friendship Games DVD Review and Giveaway

Shout! Kids Factory

The ‘mane’ six are back in this highly popular television series, with a full length DVD on October 13th, Friendship Games.

Friendship Games: Review and GiveawayIn My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Friendship Games, Canterlot High meets its rival school, Crystal Prep Academy, in a competition that is a long-standing tradition: The Friendship Games. The Friendship Games are a series of competitions that include archery, motocross and roller skating! Sunset Shimmer is charged with keeping magic out of the games to keep things fair, while her and her friends compete against Crystal Prep’s top students who also have an interest in the Equestrian magic, the Twilight Sparkle.

The Friendship Games DVD Review and Giveaway

This DVD has all your little one’s favourite Equestria characters and is full of incredible graphics. The colour and design are adorable, and one that many young girls will love. The Friendship Games also teaches an excellent lesson to young children of building trust, friendship and respect. So it is so much more than just a cute movie!

Check out this trailer of the new movie:

My Canadian readers can now enter to win their own copy of The Friendship Games on DVD using the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this DVD in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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