Posted in reviews

Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough by Peter C. Mitchell Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Peter C. Mitchell takes readers on a heartbreaking journey that shows how a simple mistake and bad luck can take the best of us down a road of misery and heartache in his book, “Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough”. 

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The Synopsis

This is a story that the charities don’t want you to read. This is the fate that can befall any of us that you don’t want to acknowledge.

For years you have passed them on the streets, as much a part of your routine as your morning shower, your half-hearted scan of the world’s news — fake or otherwise — and the barista who artistically crafts the £4 cappuccino with soya milk, three drops of vanilla, and a flutter of chocolate sprinkles that has to be made just right or it throws your day off in ways that nobody else understands.

You see them as often as you see your own family. The disenfranchised. The rough sleepers. The homeless. Camped out and befouling the sidewalks and alleyways of your daily commute, their worldly possessions, such as they are, spread around them –as dirty and worn out as the sleepers themselves, but as valuable to them as your £100 brogues are to you.

Occasionally you get the urge to throw some loose change at them as a gesture of magnanimous humanity, but when push comes to shove you would rather tip the honest, hard-working barista who ensures your day gets off to a proper start. Better to support the successful rather than throw good money after bad trying to keep the great unwashed afloat.

You have conditioned yourself to look through them – allowing your eyes to pass over them without actually seeing them. A defeated acceptance of lives gone wrong; uncomfortable reminders of what can happen when the best laid plans of mice and men go horribly awry. “Thank god I’m not like them,” you think, sipping your £4 cup of liquid gold. “I could never let that happen to me.”

Until suddenly – inexplicably – it does. And you discover the life you have built was nothing more than a house of cards that crashed down around you with frightening ease. A spate of bad luck, a poor decision or two, and the ubiquitous ‘circumstances beyond your control’ conspire to create a perfect storm of events that leaves you cast away on the streets feeling dazed, disjointed, and damned.

This is Peter C. Mitchell’s story. But it could be your story. Not to mention the thousands of others, past and present, that have found themselves broken behind closed charity doors. Theirs are the stories that need to be heard. To be read.

The Review

A masterful and expertly written book, author Peter C. Mitchell does a phenomenal job of relaying the hardships and struggles of being forced to live on the streets and endure the horrors that await those forced into those positions. He also shocks readers with a raw and emotional look into the real world struggles of those seeking shelter and help from charities and housing and the realities of those charities and the “work” they do.

The book itself is thoroughly written and well organized, and the author’s descriptive style of writing really paints a picture of the realities of homelessness and poverty, as well as the living situation of those seeking help in what should be a sanctuary. The book also does a fantastic job of highlighting the need for more guidance and insight from government officials when it comes to travel and immigration, as a simple clerical error or lack of effort by an employee could lead to years of misery for the average traveler. 

The Verdict

Powerful, evenly-paced, and educational, author Peter C. Mitchell’s “Rude Awakenings from Sleeping Rough” is the non-fiction, memoir-style read you didn’t know you needed. As many more people have become affected both physically and financially from the COVDI-19 Pandemic and the homeless population has been hit by the virus hard, coming to understand those who find themselves living on the streets has never been more important. Finding a means of not only understanding the homeless but identifying with them and reminding them and ourselves they are human beings is an important first step in trying to solve this crisis. If you haven’t yet, grab a copy of this truly engaging read today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

London born, Canadian raised Peter Mitchell was bumbling his way through a moderately successful career in business journalism when an investigation into a story on Corporate Social Responsibility inspired him to look beyond profit margins and PR into the very real problems faced by society. This inspiration prompted him to dip his toes into a self-confessed Sanity/Vanity project of a biography of his great, great grandfather, Sir John Kirk. 

As Secretary of The Ragged School Union, John championed the causes of children, the disabled, and the working poor in Victorian-era London. His influence extended beyond the city limits, and his life proved more interesting than previous biographies revealed. Dust-buried references have surfaced in the most obscure locales, showing the consequences—both good and bad—to the ragged and crippled children John Kirk devoted his life to help. 

In 2017, Peter returned to London to complete his research and begin the writing of “A Knight in the Slums.” The past was ready to be mined, and the future was assured. The present, however, took an unpredictable -and darkly ironic—turn. 

A series of unfortunate events transpired, creating a perfect storm of calamities leaving Peter penniless and sleeping rough. He had unwittingly fallen victim to the same societal ailments John Kirk fought. That nightmare inadvertently provided him with an inside look into the current workings of these same systems put in place by his great, great grandfather, and others like him, put in place over a century ago. That experience frightened him more than the horrors of homelessness itself. 

Armed with the scars of this unexpected, but disturbingly relevant, knowledge Peter continues to work on “A Knight in the Slums” with renewed insight. John Kirk created solutions over 100 years ago that are still in play today. Times have changed; yet the solutions have stagnated, and proven to not be solutions, but mechanisms that perpetuate the cycle of poverty: a Hell’s Carousel funded by well-meant individuals and institutions blinded by the brand of “charity.” New systems need to be developed; new solutions need to be found.

Posted in reviews

Disorder by Israfel Sivad Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A truly unique memoir tells the story of a young writer who struggled with addiction and mental health, and found a way to overcome it all through love in author Israfel Sivad’s “Disorder”.

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The Synopsis

Disorder is the story of Michael Adams, the man behind the pen name, Israfel Sivad. At 37-years-old, Michael wasn’t sure any longer if he was hipstered out or truly beat. He was a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. He’d been in psych wards, and he’d spent almost a decade writing his second novel. But then, he found himself inspired in a whole new way. He believed he might be falling in love…

Disorder traces Michael’s experiences from a period of homelessness at the age of 32 through his battles with alcoholism and psychosis back to his birth in Southern California. Simultaneously, it weaves a tale of the relationship Michael is trying to build with his girlfriend, Pam.

In this story, the author develops a groundbreaking, nonlinear style that captures both the disjointed madness of psychosis and the natural rhythms of memory. He reveals the reality behind what many of us believe we would never be able to live through: drug addiction, alcoholism and psychotic breaks… and his ability to overcome those demons to discover love, even when it seemed he was already too damaged to let that emotion take hold.

The Review

The author does a fantastic job of conveying a powerfully painful and harsh period of time in their lives, using a non-linear style storytelling device to convey the author’s life. From memories of childhood having lost a grandfather and best friend to dark times living in and out of psych wards and the streets of Richmond, the author doesn’t hold back on the physical and mental toll his life took when he was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and the psychosis that he endured as well. 

The imagery really conveys the struggle the author had in his life to the reader, while the story between himself and Pam is the beginning of a path to redemption that anyone who is struggling in life can hang onto and see for themselves that the trials and tribulations in their life aren’t forever. While the writing style can change sometimes throughout the narrative of the author’s life, it adds to the allure and interest of the non-linear storytelling, making this a fascinating read.

The Verdict

Powerful, emotional, and a brilliant read, author Israfel Sivad’s “Disorder” is a truly one of a kind memoir both stylistically and intellectually, giving voice to the struggles of those with mental health struggles and addiction in a way that few have ever really captured before. Grab your copy on September 8th, 2020, and see for yourselves how this amazing author came to be.

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About the Author

Israfel Sivad is the founder of Ursprung Collective, which has been referred to as “fantastic brain food” on ReverbNation. His first novel, “Crossroads Blues”, has been compared to the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky (Palmetto Review). His second novel, “The Adversary’s Good News”, was a finalist for the 2016 Chanticleer Paranormal Book Award. His stories and poems have appeared in the Santa Fe Literary Review, The Stray Branch and Badlands Literary Journal. 

https://israfelsivad.com/

Posted in reviews

SARGE!: Cases of a Chicago Police Detective Sergeant In The 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s by John DiMaggio Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A thorough exploration of what being a CPD officer/detective sergeant in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s takes center stage in the late author John DiMaggio’s “SARGE!”. 

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The Synopsis

“SARGE!” is a fascinating memoir by the late Chicago Police Detective Sergeant John A. DiMaggio, one of the most decorated officers on the force during a career that spanned the years 1957 to 1991. Among his awards are two Superintendent’s Awards of Valor, Mayor Richard J. Daley’s Praiseworthy Acknowledgment Plaque for Exceptional Act of Bravery Involving Risk of Life, a Presidential Citation of Appreciation, the Illinois Police Association Award of Valor, and many more.Upon his retirement in 1991, DiMaggio wrote a fascinating account of his work as a cop. The manuscript languished among his personal effects until after his death in 2008, after which his family decided to resurrect it, spruce it up, and submit it for publication. It turns out that he was an excellent word craftsman and storyteller; in fact, he was no stranger to writing—for many years he wrote the “Ask Sarge” column for the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter newsletter.Told in a conversational, “regular guy” voice in episodic fashion, “SARGE!” reveals to the reader what it was really like to be a cop. The manuscript in many ways takes the form of a prose treatment of a weekly television police drama. A large selection of PHOTOS is included.DiMaggio takes the reader back to the decades such as the turbulent 1960s, when the police department was making a painful transition from “old school” to modernization. The author describes firsthand the legendary riots that occurred in Chicago after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He illustrates the integration of minorities into the department and how that played out. He also goes into famous cases of corruption and the politics of navigating such a large department. One of the “set pieces” of the book is the story of how DiMaggio, as part of the “Three Musketeers”—a trio that included two detectives who were close friends—investigated a series terrifying slasher attacks on women that occurred in the city in the mid-70s. The case became one of the police department’s most memorable. Among the other cases detailed in the book include how DiMaggio found himself entering the home of a crazed young man holding hostages with a shotgun; the investigation of the discovery of a headless corpse; the take-down of the Chicago “Mad Bomber”; how an anonymous audio tape provided clues to the identities of armed robbers; and the manhunt for a cop killer.

A portion of all proceeds will be donated to The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and The Chicago Police Foundation.

The Review

This was a very well-written, engaging and thoughtful read. This memoir by the late author showcases a vibrant and powerful career as a police officer, from his early years handling emotional cases of attempted suicides and anti-mob task forces that formed in the city to hostage situations and medical procedures from on the job injuries that nearly left him unable to walk again. 

The author uses his years of expertise to highlight the inner workings of the police department of Chicago, how they handle situations and how that has evolved over the decades. The personal way the author writes allows the reader to feel connected to the author’s life and stories, while the chapters are formatted to feel like a crime drama unfolding before the reader’s eyes. 

The Verdict

A must-read memoir, SARGE! by John DiMaggio is a evenly paced and extensive book. The author’s life and experiences are engaging and draw the reader in fully, showcasing how the police department has evolved over the years while highlighting a full and experienced career of a fine officer. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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The Chicago Tribune recently published the article written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Rick Kogan: https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-chicago-cop-book-sarge-kogan-1008-20191007-usmsew4pdffqpi7hoskkachboi-story.html

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42641930-sarge

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, Interviews

Interview with Author Rita Pomade

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I think I’ve been writing since the day I learned how letters combined for words. I had quite a collection of poetry before I graduated high school. Later, in order to support myself as a single parent, I took contract work with Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia editing down articles for their year book. They sent me galleys enabling me to be home with my children. Years later, while living in Mexico I was hired by Mexico This Month, an English language monthly tourist magazine, to do interviews. From then on, I continued freelancing to supplement my income as an English Second Language teacher.

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What inspired you to write your book?

I met my second husband in Mexico. We talked about a sea voyage together. The idea of writing about it was part of my motivation for setting sail with him. Life at sea was harder and more precarious than I could have anticipated, and I didn’t have the mental space to do it. Some thirty years later he asked me if I’d sail with him again—this time from Tunisia to Tahiti. I told him I’d think about it, and wrote a childhood friend in Belgium about his offer. She mailed me all the letters I had written her during those years. Reading the letters triggered insights I didn’t have back then. I wanted to share my unique story and all I had learned from it. Had I written Seeker at the time, it would have not gained from the expansion that hindsight brought.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

On one level Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is an adventure story filled with pirates, monsoons and raging seas. But it’s also a story of love, betrayal and forgiveness. I dealt with challenges and survival on many levels, healed wounds and found my voice. I hope readers can relate to my insights and find their own strengths through reading my journey.

What drew you to this particular genre? 

In the sixth grade I had written the class poem for graduation, but it was given to another child to read as though it was her poem. I seethed at the injustice, and thought about other unfair situations I had seen. At that moment I decided I wanted write about them, so the world would know and put things right. I remember thinking I didn’t have enough life experiences to make a difference, and knew I’d have to grow up and experience as much of life as I could. I actually did that, and writing and sharing insights about what I have learned through life experience lends itself to memoir writing. 

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I met many people at sea who had interesting stories—interesting pasts. Some traumatic or life changing experience caused them to drop out of society. One such character was Johnny. We first met Johnny in the Philippines and met up with him again in Cypress. He had been in Hitler youth, but was never deprogrammed after the war though many others were. At one point, he told us his father had denounced and stolen the property of a Jewish friend.  His mother had a nervous breakdown over the event and never fully recuperated. He carried the burden of parents’ story, felt at home nowhere and drank too much. I’d like to ask him why he refused to be deprogrammed, preferring to carry guilt and needing to share this part of his family story with others. The writer in me always wants to know the interior conflicts that define character and motivate behavior.

What social media has been most helpful in developing your readership?

I’m a bit of a luddite, and don’t use much social media though I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Seeker: A Sea Odyssey has received good reviews and was shortlisted by the Quebec Writers’ Federation as the best first book for 2019. I’m hoping word of mouth, combined with readings and interviews will bring readers to the memoir.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers or just starting authors out there?

 Don’t give up. Rejection is part of the process. If you aren’t receiving rejections, you aren’t sending out your work. But don’t send indiscriminately. Research and know what each publisher or publication is asking for so that you pinpoint your market.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books on the horizon?

 I’m working on a childhood memoir tentatively titled Genesis. It covers the period of my life from embryo to eleven years old. Research in the field of epigenetics is lending credence to the idea that trauma passes down through the genes. We come into the world innocent, but we carry family history from earlier generations. It’s a fascinating discovery, and I’d like to show how it relates to my childhood and how I believe it shaped my early development. 

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million. You can also add this to your Goodreads reading list.

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About the Author Rita Pomade

Rita Pomade— teacher, poet, memoirist—lived six years aboard a small yacht that took her from Taiwan to the Suez to Mallorca, dropping anchor in 22 countries. She and her husband navigated through raging monsoons, encountered real-life pirates, and experienced cultures that profoundly changed them. Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, published by Guernica Editions under the Miroland label tells her story. 

Rita Pomade, a native New Yorker, first settled in Mexico before immigrating to Quebec. During her time in Mexico, she taught English, wrote articles and book reviews for Mexconnect, an ezine devoted to Mexican culture, and had a Dear Rita monthly column on handwriting analysis in the Chapala Review. In Montreal she taught English as a Second Language at Concordia University and McGill University until her retirement. She is a two-time Moondance International Film Festival award winner, once for a film script and again for a short story deemed film worthy. Her work is represented in the Monologues Bank, a storehouse of monologues for actors in need of material for auditions, in several anthologies, and in literary reviews. Her travel biography, Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, was shortlisted for the 2019 Concordia University First Book Award. .

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— Blog Tour Dates


June 29th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us in celebrating the launch of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

July 2nd @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog
Visit Fiona’s blog and you can read a guest post by the author about how she could have enriched her journey at sea.
http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/


July 5th @ CK Sorens’ Blog
Visit Carrie’s blog today and you can read her review of Rita Pomade’s memoir Seeker.
https://www.cksorens.com/blog


July 6th @ Create Write Now
Visit Mari L. McCarthy’s blog where you can read author Rita Pomade’s guest post about what she learned about herself through writing.
https://www.createwritenow.com/


July 7th @ The Faerie Review
Make sure you visit Lily’s blog and read a guest post by the author about cooking on a shoestring at sea.
http://www.thefaeriereview.com/


July 8th @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://coffeewithlacey.com/


July 10th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise’s blog and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://12books.co.uk/


July 11th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette’s blog today and you can read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

July 12th @ It’s Alanna Jean
Visit Alanna’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about the ten best traits you need for living aboard a yacht.
http://itsalannajean.com/

July 13th @ The New England Book Critic
Join Vickie as she reviews Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://www.thenewenglandbookcritic.com/


July 14th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog
Visit Bev’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/


July 15th @ Reviews and Interviews
Visit Lisa’s blog today where she interviews author Rita Pomade about her book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/


July 16th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Visit Anthony’s blog where he reviews Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/


July 17th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise’s blog and read author Rita Pomade’s guest post discussing sailing myths.
https://12books.co.uk/


July 18th @ Author Anthon Avina’s Blog
Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his interview with author Rita Pomade.
https://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com


July 20th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog
Visit Bev’s blog again and you can read author Rita Pomade’s guest post featuring her advice on writing a memoir.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/


July 21st @ Jill Sheet’s Blog
Visit Jill’s blog where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about how her handwriting analysis skills made her a better writer.
https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/


July 22nd @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra’s blog today and you can checkout her spotlight of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://www.astorybookworld.com/


July 23rd @ Choices
Visit Madeline’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about the benefits of spending time abroad.
http://madelinesharples.com/


July 24th @ Books, Beans and Botany
Visit Ashley’s blog today where she reviews Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://booksbeansandbotany.com/


July 24th @ Tiggy’s Books
Visit Tiggy’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey. She’ll also be chatting a bit with the author!
https://tiggysbooks.com/


July 26th @ CK Sorens Blog
Visit Carrie’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about how she jumpstart her writing process.
https://www.cksorens.com/blog


July 27th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Visit Kathleen’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker.
https://www.krpooler.com/


July 28th @ Lady Unemployed
Visit Nicole’s blog today where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade talking about stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.
http://www.ladyunemployed.com


July 31st @ Wild Hearted
Visit Ashley’s blog where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about why she jumped at the chance to go to sea.
https://wild-hearted.com/

Posted in reviews

A Tongue In The Sink: The Harrowing Adventures Of A Baby Boomer Childhood by Dennis Fried Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One author takes a humorous jump into his past to showcase the life of a young man growing up in the Baby Boomer generation in author Dennis Fried’s “A Tongue In The Sink: The Harrowing Adventures Of A Baby Boomer Childhood”. 

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The Synopsis 

Are the current events of your childhood now showing on the History Channel?

Do you look at todayÂs kids and suspect that theyÂre aliens?

Have you ever assaulted an electronic device?

Have you been ridiculed in the recent past for using paper and pencil?

Do you forget whether some of your favorite movie stars are dead or alive?

Have you been saying “When I was a kid” more and more lately?

Then meet Dennis Fried, former philosophy professor and stand-up comic (just your normal, everyday career path), and author of the popular Memoirs of a Papillon: The Canine Guide to Living with Humans without Going Mad. Return with him to the days when kids actually went outside to play! When SUVs were not only unknown but unneeded, since no self-respecting kid wanted to be seen being dropped off by his parents. When gym teachers issued directly from the “walk it off” school of pain management. Back to the days of Saturday afternoon double features, A-bomb drills, and the always-dangerous Big Kids.

This wry, incisive memoir about growing up in a small town will fill you with laughter, nostalgia, and reflections on the changing nature of childhood. If you were ever a kid, this is your story.

The Review

A truly humorous, exciting and one-of-a-kind read readers will feel like they have been transported back into the past as they read the author’s unique take on a baby boomer childhood. From the book’s early pages readers are treated to the author’s unique sense of humor and his take on life since moving to Florida, and subsequently takes readers on a journey back to Catskill, New York. 

From the parenting styling of his parents and an early childhood encounter with a rude school janitor that nearly led to an altercation between his father and the aforementioned janitor, to later years dodging the fury of road rage and growing up too fast, the author uses humor and wit to take a look at the past. Exploring one’s yearning for a simpler time and the simplicity we take for granted in childhood, the author expertly navigates his life and the baby boomer generation and brings readers along for the ride. 

The Verdict

A powerful, funny, and charming read, “A Tongue in the Sink” by Dennis Fried is a must-read humor book. While there are many things that came from that era that are now being seen as harmful, there were also a lot of things of that era that spoke of simplicity, comfort, and less chaos than what the world is facing now, and there is something to be said for that. The readers of the baby boomer generation will love this read, and the humor is evident in every chapter, making this a unique read. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Dr. Dennis Fried has been laughed out of numerous careers, including stand-up comedy. He has advanced degrees in physics and philosophy, all of which have gone totally to waste. He is extremely lazy, and if it weren’t for his author-dog, Genevieve, he probably wouldn’t get out of bed until suppertime.

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey by Rita Pomade Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A woman seeking paradise and happiness after witnessing a horrific event tells her story in author Rita Pomade’s “Seeker: A Sea Odyssey”. 

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The Synopsis

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is the story of two people who meet in Mexico and fall in love. Rita is an American part-time English language teacher and freelance reporter for an English language tourist magazine struggling to raise two young boys on her own. Bernard is a French geologist under contract to the Mexican government to search for underground thermal springs. She dreams of finding Shangri-La after witnessing a bloody government crackdown from which she barely escapes. He dreams of having a yacht and sailing the world. Their dreams mesh, and they immigrate to Canada to earn the money to build their boat.

The Review

Many people often talk of adventure but rarely do we ever get to see it unfold as it does in this amazing memoir. The combination of an adventure memoir with the more personalized touch of including journal entries, photographs, and other material made this feel like a book that readers could really invest in on multiple levels. 

The vivid imagery of the writing and the outstanding experiences both good and bad that the author shares to tell a powerful story of adventure, but also lends itself to the overall message or theme as well. The theme that no matter how much searching a person does, there is no one paradise in this world or anywhere else, but true joy and change comes from within. 

The Verdict

Engaging, entertaining, and an evenly paced read, author Rita Pomade’s “Seeker: A Sea Odyssey” is a must-read memoir. Powerfully told and one of a kind, the book showcases the power of travel and the emotional core that comes from realizing true peace and understanding comes not from outside forces, but within us all. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Seeker: A Sea Odyssey is available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million. You can also add this to your Goodreads reading list.

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About the Author Rita Pomade

Rita Pomade— teacher, poet, memoirist—lived six years aboard a small yacht that took her from Taiwan to the Suez to Mallorca, dropping anchor in 22 countries. She and her husband navigated through raging monsoons, encountered real-life pirates, and experienced cultures that profoundly changed them. Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, published by Guernica Editions under the Miroland label tells her story. 

Rita Pomade, a native New Yorker, first settled in Mexico before immigrating to Quebec. During her time in Mexico, she taught English, wrote articles and book reviews for Mexconnect, an ezine devoted to Mexican culture, and had a Dear Rita monthly column on handwriting analysis in the Chapala Review. In Montreal she taught English as a Second Language at Concordia University and McGill University until her retirement. She is a two-time Moondance International Film Festival award winner, once for a film script and again for a short story deemed film worthy. Her work is represented in the Monologues Bank, a storehouse of monologues for actors in need of material for auditions, in several anthologies, and in literary reviews. Her travel biography, Seeker: A Sea Odyssey, was shortlisted for the 2019 Concordia University First Book Award. .

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— Blog Tour Dates


June 29th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Grab your coffee and join us in celebrating the launch of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

July 2nd @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog
Visit Fiona’s blog and you can read a guest post by the author about how she could have enriched her journey at sea.
http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/


July 5th @ CK Sorens’ Blog
Visit Carrie’s blog today and you can read her review of Rita Pomade’s memoir Seeker.
https://www.cksorens.com/blog


July 6th @ Create Write Now
Visit Mari L. McCarthy’s blog where you can read author Rita Pomade’s guest post about what she learned about herself through writing.
https://www.createwritenow.com/


July 7th @ The Faerie Review
Make sure you visit Lily’s blog and read a guest post by the author about cooking on a shoestring at sea.
http://www.thefaeriereview.com/


July 8th @ Coffee with Lacey
Visit Lacey’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://coffeewithlacey.com/


July 10th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise’s blog and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://12books.co.uk/


July 11th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette’s blog today and you can read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://bookworm66.wordpress.com/

July 12th @ It’s Alanna Jean
Visit Alanna’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about the ten best traits you need for living aboard a yacht.
http://itsalannajean.com/

July 13th @ The New England Book Critic
Join Vickie as she reviews Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://www.thenewenglandbookcritic.com/


July 14th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog
Visit Bev’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/


July 15th @ Reviews and Interviews
Visit Lisa’s blog today where she interviews author Rita Pomade about her book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://lisahaseltonsreviewsandinterviews.blogspot.com/


July 16th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Visit Anthony’s blog where he reviews Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/


July 17th @ 12 Books
Visit Louise’s blog and read author Rita Pomade’s guest post discussing sailing myths.
https://12books.co.uk/


July 18th @ Author Anthon Avina’s Blog
Visit Anthony’s blog today and read his interview with author Rita Pomade.
https://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com


July 20th @ Bev. A Baird’s Blog
Visit Bev’s blog again and you can read author Rita Pomade’s guest post featuring her advice on writing a memoir.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/


July 21st @ Jill Sheet’s Blog
Visit Jill’s blog where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about how her handwriting analysis skills made her a better writer.
https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/


July 22nd @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra’s blog today and you can checkout her spotlight of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
http://www.astorybookworld.com/


July 23rd @ Choices
Visit Madeline’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about the benefits of spending time abroad.
http://madelinesharples.com/


July 24th @ Books, Beans and Botany
Visit Ashley’s blog today where she reviews Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey.
https://booksbeansandbotany.com/


July 24th @ Tiggy’s Books
Visit Tiggy’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker: A Sea Odyssey. She’ll also be chatting a bit with the author!
https://tiggysbooks.com/


July 26th @ CK Sorens Blog
Visit Carrie’s blog today and you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about how she jumpstart her writing process.
https://www.cksorens.com/blog


July 27th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Visit Kathleen’s blog today and read her review of Rita Pomade’s book Seeker.
https://www.krpooler.com/


July 28th @ Lady Unemployed
Visit Nicole’s blog today where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade talking about stepping outside of one’s comfort zone.
http://www.ladyunemployed.com


July 31st @ Wild Hearted
Visit Ashley’s blog where you can read a guest post by author Rita Pomade about why she jumped at the chance to go to sea.
https://wild-hearted.com/

Posted in Blog Tours, reviews

Acts of Forgiveness: Faith Journeys of a Gay Priest by Ted Karpf Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

One man’s journey to accepting himself and facing the world as not only a gay man, but a gay priest as well, comes to life in author Ted Karpf’s book, “Acts of Forgiveness: Faith Journeys of a Gay Priest”. 

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The Synopsis

In 1980s America, coming out as gay as a father and husband was a significant journey for anyone to make. Coming out as gay as a priest guaranteed immersion into controversy, contradiction, and challenge. This book tells of the Reverend Canon Ted Karpf’s navigation of new social and romantic journeys, all within the context of his priestly vocation in the Episcopal Church. Covering from 1968 to 2018, Karpf recounts his vivid memories, life-changing dreams and resonant reflections on living a life of faith in a socially and politically tumultuous period. His narratives are crafted as poetic meditations on enduring values and meaning, which can remind any reader that we are neither abandoned nor alone, and that forgiveness is a fulfilling way of living in a world of contradictions.

The Review

A heartbreaking and honest journey takes form in this one of a kind read. The author relays the difficult journey of coming to terms with the abuse suffered as a child, the painful process of accepting who he truly is while married to a woman with two children and finding clarity for his religious beliefs in relation to his own personality and sexual identity. 

What stands out to me as a reader is a journey the author takes to accept himself. Personally, as someone who isn’t religious, it was fascinating to see the author’s path to acceptance and finding his place in the world throughout his life. What also stands out is how religion is not as cut and dry as most think it to be. There are so many different paths and avenues of thought in that regard, and there is a place for those who choose to believe in a higher power. You just have to be willing to look and find it for yourself. As someone who isn’t religious, it was refreshing to see the way believers could still integrate acceptance and love for the LGBTQ community. 

The Verdict

A brilliant, heartfelt and emotional read, the author has crafted a unique journey for the reader to follow. From finding forgiveness for an absent parent to the hardship of a gay relationship after accepting oneself and more, this book is an honest read that people need to read. A one of a kind book, be sure to grab your copy of “Acts of Forgiveness: Faith Journeys of a Gay Priest” by Ted Karpf today!

Rating: 10/10

Print Length: 233 Pages

Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Toplight Books

ASIN: B081Y8LHZN

ISBN-10: 1476679592 

ISBN-13: 9781476679594

Acts of Forgiveness is now available to purchase on Amazon.comTarget.com, and Barnes and Noble.

Praise for the book Acts of Forgiveness:

Acts of Forgiveness: Faith Journeys of a Gay Priest is a beautiful work reminding again that there is no future without forgiveness; there is no faith without love. This book animates these truths through a poetic documentary legacy.” – Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus Anglican Church of Southern Africa

“In the tradition of the rabbis, Father Ted Karpf calls upon both his heritage and experience to bring the reader into a place of sensitivity and compassion. We literally “suffer with” in order to achieve healing and activate a more hopeful future; not because of the suffering, but in spite of it.” – Joel Thorp Katz, MD, MACP

“Karpf has written a difficult and important book, a social justice memoir that challenges secular readers with its religious language, abusers with its painful analysis, and activists with its stories of good deeds punished. He also conducts a rigorous accounting of his own shortcomings, what in Jewish tradition is called a cheshbon hanefesh. In so doing, this Methodist-turned-Episcopal-priest models the very trans-religious values he holds so dear, and honors the memory of his Jewish grandfather in the process.” – David I. Schulman, Supervising Attorney, AIDS Descrimination Unit, Los Angeles City Attorneys Office

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About the Author, Ted Karpf

Ted Karpf is a priest, public servant, international diplomat, journalist, university administrator and educator. He was educated in New York, Texas and Massachusetts. A gay man, Ted is a father and grandfather. He has been and remains a man who reflects the times in which he has lived while offering a hopeful vision for the future. Ted watches clouds and tests the winds and prays while residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

You can find Ted at his website https://www.tedkarpf.com/

— Blog Tour Dates

March 9th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by the blog today and read an interview with author Ted Karpf. You can also win a copy of his book Acts of Forgiveness.


March 10th @ God vs. The Patriarchy

Stop by Annie’s blog and read her review of Ted Karpf’s book Acts of Forgiveness.

http://www.godvsthepatriarchy.com
March 11th @ Reading Whale

Stop by Caitlin’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness. Enter to win a copy of the book as well!

https://readingwhale.com/

March 15th @ Coffee with Lacey

Visit Lacey’s blog and catch her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

March 17th @ Bookwoman Joan

Visit Joan’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

http://bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/

March 19th @ The Frugalista Mom

Come by Rozelyn’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness. You can also enter to win a copy of the book!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

March 23rd @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Make sure you go by Kathleen’s blog today and read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness. You can also win a copy of the book!

March 24th @ Amanda Diaries

Stop by Amanda’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness. You can also enter to win a copy for yourself!

https://amandadiaries.com/

March 28th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog today and you can read his review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

March 31st @ The Revolution Continues

Visit the blog The Revolution Continues to catch Cindy’s review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

http://bernie2016.blogspot.com/

April 3rd @ Words from the Heart

Visit Linda’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

April 7th @ No Sushi Tuesdays

Stop by to catch Cindy’s review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

http://nstbookreviews.blogspot.com/

April 11th @ Joyful Antidotes

Visit Joy’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://joyfulantidotes.com/

April 11th @ Style Wise

Visit Leah’s blog today and you can read her review of Ted Karpf’s memoir Acts of Forgiveness.

https://www.stylewise-blog.com/

Posted in reviews

Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir by John Robinette and Robert Jacoby Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A man spends a year interviewing his friend in an attempt to confront his friend’s grief head on in author’s John Robinette and Robert Jacoby’s “Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir”. 

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The Synopsis

A story of grief, male friendship, and healing conversations.

“Be present,” “cherish each day,” “always say I love you.” John Robinette lived those words. Or so he thought. Then his wife, Amy, was killed instantly in a pedestrian accident.

John’s world shattered, and he began the grueling task of parenting two young boys in a house filled with vibrant, bittersweet memories. As the grief closed in around him, John’s close friend, author Robert Jacoby, saw John struggling and proposed an unusual idea: to interview him over the course of the first year after Amy’s death. Robert’s hope was to meet John directly in his experience of sorrow, explore his grief with him, and discover what lessons might be learned.

Born of a year’s worth of candid interviews, Never Stop Dancing avoids clichéd takeaways about grief and healing to chart a deeper, thornier examination of loss and regret. Robert and John are transformed through their shared experience, too, emerging strengthened and with an abiding male friendship that cuts against the grain of pop-culture trends of quick fixes and easy answers. This memoir-in-conversation provides hard-won reassurances that one can and does go on after loss.

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The Review

This novel was emotionally and beautifully written. While steeped in tragedy and pain, the bond created by these events and the painful process of grief have given readers and the authors alike an experience like no other. In this novel, the eloquently written interviews between two friends take readers through John’s painful journey through the sudden loss of his wife. From the heartbreaking moment he’s confronted with the news, having to tell all his family about it, the first time his sons are confronted with Mother’s Day and more all bring the heartbreak and pain of loss to the forefront. 

However as the interviews grew on, both Robert and John began to examine some of life’s toughest questions in the face of such a painful tragedy. From whether or not “God” is in fact all powerful or more of a being still prone to mistakes, how we converse and treat those who have lost someone, the falsehood that somehow men are supposed to have their lives together more readily than women in the face of tragedy, and finally the ultimate lesson of living in the moment with those you love rather than worrying about a future that hasn’t happened yet, all these lessons are found and experienced firsthand by the authors as they go on this emotional journey together. 

The Verdict

A truly well written, evenly paced read that challenges readers to examine life, the bonds they share with those they love and the painful truth behind grief that most self-help books and quick fixes won’t tell you. As someone who lost a close family member this year, I could relate to the author’s struggles in a lot of ways, but as the book shows as well, grief is different for everyone. Both physically and mentally the grieving process changes and grows for each individual person, and respecting that and helping those in grief to find their way through is sometimes the best way to come together in the face of tragedy. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir” by John Robinette and Robert Jacoby today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

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Robert Jacoby

I’m a poet, novelist, memoirist, and diarist. My poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in more than 20 literary magazines. My story “The Span of Blood” was selected runner up in the 2018 Haunted Waters Press Short Shorts Flash Fiction Competition; read the story here. I’m the author of three books: Dusk and Ember(2019, novel); There Are Reasons Noah Packed No Clothes(2012, novel); and Escaping from Reality Without Really Trying: 40 Years of High Seas Travels and Lowbrow Tales(2011, nonfiction). The book’s website is escaping-from-reality.com and has audio clips of the interviews, an FAQ, and more. My new book, Never Stop Dancing: A Memoir, is forthcoming October 2019. I’m currently working on two new novels.

Visit my other sites around the web to see what I’m all about:

• robert-jacoby.com

• Facebook page

• Amazon Author page

• LinkedIn page

John Robinette 

After the death of his wife Amy Polk, John began journaling on his blog Hole in the Sun about his journey and has contributed to Elephant Journal.

John has a B.S., and M.S., in Management Science and spent the first 25 years of his career as a software engineer, IT professional, and project manager. After Amy’s death, he shifted his focus towards helping people be more successful and find more joy in their careers.

When he is not writing, John is an organizational development and leadership coach with the Center for Leadership and Organizational Change at the University of Maryland. He is also a principle at V-Teamwork, a company using immersive virtual game simulations to build trust and accelerate collaboration in teams.

John has a passion for the natural world and environment and met his current wife Lori on GreenSingles.com. They live in Takoma Park, Maryland with John’s sons Adam and Bryan along with three rescue pets.

https://hole-in-the-sun.com/

Posted in Interviews

Author Interview with Hans Joseph Fellmann

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I didn’t really get into writing; writing got into me. It happened for the first time when I was five years old. My folks and I went to visit my grandparents and my grandfather showed me his handgun. I asked him what it was for and he said, “Killing bad guys.” He didn’t explain much more. I knew from cartoons that guns fired bullets. It didn’t occur to my tiny brain that bullets could kill people. On our way home, we passed our local sewage treatment plant. It stunk like rotting bodies in a wet room. I asked my father why that was. He said, “Because there’s a river of shit running through it.” We got home and I went to bed. The next morning, I went to school. I was teased ruthlessly, as usual. I came home in a foul mood. I ate dinner and went to my room. Instead of diddling myself or playing videogames, I decided to draw. I grabbed a pencil and a stack of paper. As I sat there scribbling, I let my mind go. I thought about the handgun and what my gramps had said. I thought about the kids who teased me and the sewage treatment plant. Suddenly, a force shot through me; I was like a metal rod pulling lightening from the clouds. When the sensation ceased, I looked down at the page. I had written and illustrated (albeit terribly) a story about a handgun that came to life, floated over to the sewage treatment plant, shot down the sign warning people of the “river of shit,” so that when all the kids that bullied me at school walked by it, they didn’t see it and thus fell in and drowned. I was immensely proud of my little story. I ran into the kitchen screaming and showed it to my mother. She smiled at first. As she read, her smile dropped. When she finished, she looked up at me. Her expression was one of pure terror. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I’ve been writing ever since. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

I wrote my book about a trip I took around the world with my childhood buddies in 2006. I guess you could say the trip is what inspired me to write the book. But the thing that pushed me to write it was a night of unprotected sex some three years later … I’d woken up the next morning and realized I’d forgotten to use a condom. I didn’t know the woman I’d fucked, and I was hungover, and when I’m hungover, I get paranoid. I started thinking I’d contracted HIV. I worked myself into a frenzy and was huffing and panting and screaming the whole drive home. When I arrived, I ran upstairs and took a shower. As I was scrubbing my junk and banging my head against the tiles, I realized that it wasn’t HIV I was afraid of, it was dying before I released all the words inside of me. I was 27 and set to go to grad school. I got out of the shower, called the director of my program, cancelled my enrollment, sat down at the computer, and wrote the first chapter of “Chuck Life’s a Trip.” 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I don’t want them to take away any theme or message in particular. All I ask is that they embark on the trip that is my book with an open mind and an open heart. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

My genre, if you could call it that, is “fictionalized memoirs.” I can’t say what drew me into it. But I can say that I like the idea of writing about my past without the encumberment of sticking to the facts. 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

If I could sit down with any character in my book, I would sit down with the main character, whose name is Johann Klaus Felmanstien, and ask him why he chose to represent us with such a stupid fucking name. 

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Seeing as how I’ve only used Blogger and Facebook to promote my work, I’d have to say those two. I wish I could say I haven’t used any social media sites to promote my work, and that my readership has grown strictly through reading and word-of-mouth, like in the good old days when people actually read books and then talked about them face-to-face with other people, but those days are dead, buried, and rotting, so yeah, Blogger and Facebook. 

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7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

If you’re doing this for money, fame, sex, or any combination of the three, kindly take your computer, and any other instruments of writing you may own, form a pyramid with them in your backyard, douse it with lighter fluid, strike a match, and toss it at the belly of that bitch so that it may go up in flames along with your dreams … However, if you’re in this for the good fight, and by that I mean putting words on the page so that a decade from now they reach some poor bastard ready to stick a gun to his head, and he reads them and decides to give life one more shot so he can take his kid to the park, then write everyday with honesty and vigor and don’t stop until you croak. 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m currently editing my second novel, which is based on my service as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan. I have also written a compilation of poems and book of short stories, both of which I will release at a later date … As for my future, I have no idea what it holds. I only know that with writing, I’ve crossed the point of no return, and it scares the shit outta me. 

About the Author

Hans Joseph Fellmann currently lives between Prague, where he teaches to keep the lights on and writes to keep from going nuts, and Livermore in Northern California, where his funky little ass grew up. During the last twenty years, Hans has been tiptoeing the globe and scribbling it all down. To date, he has visited over eighty countries on six continents, and he continues to “blow it up” each summer.

By the skin of his teeth, Hans earned a BA degree from the University of California at San Diego in International Studies, with an emphasis on the Middle East. His articles and short stories have appeared (albeit not magically) in the UCSD Guardian, the San Diego Union-Tribune and The Prague Revue. To improve his craft, and to buy his folks keychains so they could claim their son went to grad school, he attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2013.

His first novel “Chuck Life’s a Trip,” which is based on a trip he took around the world with his childhood buddies in 2006, is now available on Amazon. He recently completed a second semi-autobiographical novel which he is “polishing.” It is about his pants-on-the-head-crazy experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Karakum Desert of Turkmenistan.

In his spare time, Hans likes to study languages, the more obscure the better. He speaks ten, including Czech, Turkmen, Farsi and Spanish, with varying degrees of proficiency. He is also a huge geography and book nerd. When he’s not backpacking where he shouldn’t be or rattling off in some foreign tongue, he’s got his eyes crawling over a map of a long-forgotten Central Asian republic, or his nose buried deep in a book by a fellow B.A.M.F.

https://amzn.to/2Ox8f6b