Tag Archives: non-fiction

Destiny of Determination: Faith and Family (The Destiny Trilogy Book 2) by Cathy Burnham Martin Review

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

The journey and struggle to escape a horrific attack and genocide of the Armenian people at the end of the Ottoman Empire leads to a new life in America and the struggle to overcome new prejudices and persecutions in author Cathy Burnham Martin’s “Destiny of Determination: Faith and Family”, the second book in the Destiny Trilogy. 

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The Synopsis

“Destiny of Determination: Faith and Family” illuminates the stark realities of immigrants determined to settle in America, a land of opportunity and freedom. While young Hrant’s Armenian story parallels the horrors experienced by far too many cultures in both the past and present, book 2 in the Destiny trilogy also highlights the strength and hope that live within survivors of various nightmares. After witnessing and escaping genocide, Hrant may just find American prejudice and bigotry to be manageable hurdles.

Book 1 found Hrant Gulumian, the youngest child in his family, deeply relating to his granddaughter, Cassie when her nightmares precisely mirrored his traumatic childhood experiences. Destiny of Dreams… Time Is Dear shared young Hrant’s harrowingly narrow escape from the mass deportations and attempted annihilation of the Armenians in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire.

Despite the hauntingly intense and dramatic truths in Book 1, the Destiny trilogy resumes with the powerful hope and strength known only to survivors. Book 2 completes Hrant’s voyage and sweeps the reader into his family’s new life in the USA, illuminating the vulnerability of the diaspora and all forced refugees in a new and unfamiliar land filled with language, cultural, and discrimination challenges.

Author Martin celebrates her family’s quiet determination and its refusal to lose faith, despite intolerance and numerous economic woes. Set in the 20th Century, her family’s true story shines a beacon of optimism and comfort for countless other families, hailing from many nations and struggling to endure on the way to freedom and a chance for a better life in this century.

The Review

This was such a brilliant blend of both fiction and nonfiction storytelling. The author did an incredible job of relaying the experiences and powerful memories of her family, showcasing the struggles to make a place for themselves in the United States and the hurdles they had to overcome from a society that judged and looked upon them with suspicion and even at times hatred. The themes of immigration, family, and the pursuit of acceptance were felt so powerfully here in this narrative and made the story flow smoothly. 

The author’s emphasis on character growth and history and culture was brilliant to read. The knowledge that the “characters” were actual family members that the author changed the names of made their experiences and pivotal moments in the story much more impactful, and allowed the reader to really connect to them and the narrative, especially as it relates to the immigration story. The way the author pivots this immigration story between the character’s desire to maintain their culture and practices after the events they survived, and the hope of building a new life in this land of opportunity despite the bigotry they are faced with, allowed the reader to feel connected to the narrative. 

The Verdict

Captivating, inspiring, and hopeful, author Cathy Burnham Martin’s “Destiny of Determination: Faith and Family” is a must-read genre fiction meets biography nonfiction style narrative that you won’t be able to put down this fall. Due to release on November 2nd, 2022, the book brings readers a heartfelt, emotional, and engaging story of survival, family, and finding the balance between honoring one’s culture and history with the hope of a brighter brand new future. If you haven’t yet, be sure to preorder or grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in Goffstown, New Hampshire, Cathy Burnham Martin’s eclectic career path wove through recruiting, communications, television broadcasting, management, and bank organizing. An active board member and community volunteer, she received Easter Seals’ David P. Goodwin Lifetime Commitment Award. This professional voiceover artist, journalist, corporate communications geek, and dedicated foodie earned numerous broadcasting awards as a television news anchor. She wrote, produced, and hosted dozens of groundbreaking documentaries, TV specials, and news reports, ranging from the Moscow Superpower Summit and the opening of the Berlin Wall to extensive coverage of New Hampshire’s First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primaries.

Some of her most challenging work includes news stories behind the Iron Curtain under the scrutiny of foreign military personnel touting loaded AK-47s. While she met and interviewed Presidents and candidates, other interviews ranged from inventor Dean Kamen, best-selling authors Og Mandino and Richard Lederer, and Star Trek originator Gene Roddenberry to Popcorn icon Orville Redenbacher, Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler, superstar New Orleans chef Paul Prudhomme, and filmmaker Ken Burns.

Among little-known facts about Cathy? She once sang with The Beach Boys and with the marvelous Marvelettes, shared a dressing room with Ella Fitzgerald, and emceed for Tony Bennett. She also performed on stage with comedian Adam Sandler, actor Dan Lauria, and director Alek Keshishian.

Dubbed The Morale Booster, this 20-year professional member of the National Speakers Association remains a business speaker, media coach, and member of the Actors Equity Association. Proud of her Eurasian heritage, Cathy Burnham Martin narrates her own books and those of other authors. Audiobooks appear on such sites as Audible.com as well as Amazon and iTunes. Author of 20+ fiction, nonfiction, and cookbooks, Cathy writes articles for her  http://www.GoodLiving123.com website. When not writing or in full production mode, Cathy and her husband enjoy traveling, boating, music and visual arts, and great food.

My Friend Richard: A True Ghost Story by William Hart Review

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

Author William Hart shares the true story of his connection with a friend who passed away years ago, but has returned to his life as a ghost in his book, “My Friend Richard: A True Ghost Story”.

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The Synopsis

A close friend of mine, maybe the brightest student in our high school of four thousand, came to see me some years back. He came as a ghost with a favor to ask, renewing a friendship that continues a decade later.

Richard has the same immature young adult personality he had when he died in a Haight-Asbury fire in 1970. But as a spirit he can travel very far very fast, appear and disappear at will, or shape-shift into a feisty moth. He enters locked homes to visit loved ones, sometimes projecting powerful images into their minds. Annoyed, he’s a smelly, destructive nuisance. Sometimes he’s affectionate.

Anyone wanting to know more about ghosts will find a wealth of firsthand information in this true narrative, which follows the life and afterlife of my artistically gifted but dismayingly self-destructive buddy. For adults and young adults.

The Review

For those of you who aren’t familiar with me beyond my book reviews, aside from being a writer and author, I am a paranormal enthusiast. I have a paranormal podcast, have joined several paranormal communities, and have even investigated a few locations with more to come. So anytime I am able to get my hands on a nonfiction narrative surrounding the paranormal, I am thrilled to do so. The author here did an incredible job of presenting a personal and relatable story of experiencing the paranormal and connecting with the spirit themselves. The imagery and tone the author struck felt both casual and yet emotionally in-depth. 

Yet it was the thoughtful and emotional journey the author went on that really resonated with me. The experience of seeing or hearing something paranormal can be a profound one. The experience is always unique to the individual. Sometimes it can be a loved one, family member, or friend who visits us. Other times it can be an encounter with something otherworldly altogether. Yet those moments that William Hart captures here with his friend Richard felt both relatable and heartfelt in the author’s delivery. The short-story format allowed the author to focus solely on this paranormal experience, and the relationship both in life and death that the author had with Richard is something so many people have experienced at one point or another in life, adding a very real human level to this nonfiction narrative.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, engaging, and memorable, author William Hart’s “My Friend Richard: A True Ghost Story” is a must-read short story and a nonfiction book. The book was both an easy read and yet a powerful and striking story of coming face to face with the unknown, opening oneself to new possibilities, and reconnecting with the people who have made an impact on our lives, even if they are no longer physically here. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

William Hart is a novelist and poet living in Los Angeles. After earning a doctorate in English from the University of Southern California, he taught college writing courses in LA and wrote. Now he writes–fiction mostly–while helping produce the documentaries of filmmaker Jayasri Majumdar, his wife. Hart’s work has appeared in several hundred literary journals, commercial magazines, newspapers, and anthologies, and fourteen books. A pair of one-hour documentaries from Hartfilms aired nationally on PBS, the latest receiving Emmy nominations. 

Wings of Destiny: Ziaur Rahman Ansari – A Life by Fasihur Rahman Review

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

Author Fasihur Rahman shares an accurate and brilliant biography of a Union Minister of India who served under two Prime Ministers in his storied career in the book “Wings of Destiny: Ziaur Rahman Ansari – A Life”.

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The Synopsis

The biography offers an insight into the life of Ziaur Rahman Ansari (1925-1992), who served as union minister in the council of ministers of two Prime Ministers – Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. The book traces his political journey spanning nearly three decades and provides a rare glimpse into his vision, convictions, traits and beliefs. He remained in the media spotlight in 1985 when he participated in a debate on a Private Member Bill related to Supreme Court judgement on the Shah Bano case.

The author has provided a factual account of his public life which has, at several places, been misquoted or misinterpreted based on the perception of varied genres of society.

The Review

This was such an incredibly well-balanced biography and nonfiction read. The author did such an incredible job of crafting a detailed, well-researched, and well-rounded book that honed in on the life of Ziaur Rahman Ansari. From his ancestors and family history that including the fight for freedom in India, to the often fraught political career he endured and even the author’s more personal life interests, from literature to art and music interests that paint a more human and relatable tone to the figure’s history. 

The most pivotal aspect of the life of this charged and engaging character is his work on a highly politicized case in India that made headlines, as did his role in it. What stuck out to me was how the author was able to weave in some emotional storytelling about the subject’s life, especially those later years and the diagnosis of his neurological disorder. This made the subject’s life seem so much more thoughtful and spoke to me on a human level, making the narrative feel alive on the page.

The Verdict

Captivating, thought-provoking, and enlightening, author Fasihur Rahman’s “Wings of Destiny: Ziaur Rahman Ansari – A Life” is a must-read biography and nonfiction read. The author’s detailed writing style and rich use of imagery and tone to paint an image of the storied life of this political figure made this a wonderful book, and the unique perspective of politics and life in India overall to a wider audience made this a must-have book of the year. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

FASIHUR RAHMAN was born and brought up in India. He was educated in India, the UK and Canada. A trained Environmental Scientist, he has served both public and private sector. Between 2015 and 2017, he has taken up assignments as Visiting Scientist at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Canada.

He has written, among others, for Indian Newspapers (The Hindu, The Indian Express, The Pioneer, The Statesman); Canadian (Toronto Star, The Telegram, The Independent); United Arab Emirates (Khaleej Times); and the UK (The Sunday Times). He spends his time in India and Canada.

My First Last Year by Roger Leslie, PhD Review

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

After surviving a health scare with his husband in the 80s, author Roger Leslie developed a system of health, both physical and mental, that takes the concept of living life to the fullest to all new heights in the book, “My First Last Year”.

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The Synopsis

In response to a spiritual dream, Roger Leslie lived a year as if it were his last. New inspirations set his course for success, while heartbreaking loss gave him a palpable glimpse of eternity. Leslie shares his journey here as a guide for anyone seeking deeper meaning, richer love, and greater joy in life.

The Review

The author did an incredible job of crafting a moving and passionate self-help meets nonfiction wellness read. The journey of discovery that so many people go on in life to determine how they should live each and every day is something we must all endure, and more often than not those who are facing their own demise or mortality find themselves forced to discover the answers for themselves fairly quickly. The balance the author struck between personal experience and emotional writing with instructive and detailed steps that readers could apply to their own lives was amazing to see play out in this book.

The powerful themes and heartfelt writing style are what hooked me on the author’s story. The moments the author takes to delve into his own personal histories, such as his and his husband’s brush with one of the most fearful health scare that many faced in the 80s, the AIDS crisis, and how this experience and coming out on the other side of it inspired a moment of clarity as to living life to the fullest was so impactful and emotional to read. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, captivating, and engaging, author Roger Leslie’s “My First Last Year” is a must-read nonfiction self-help read. The powerful themes of living life to the fullest, making every day count, and coming to terms with our own mortality were so strong and powerfully felt in this read, and the natural way the author was able to infuse the personal experience with thought-provoking guides to the author’s researched and developed method made this a compelling read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Dr. Roger Leslie is a scholar in the fields of success and education. Through major literary houses, medium and small presses, and his own publishing house, Leslie has published fiction and nonfiction books in multiple genres: historical fiction, inspirational self-help, spirituality, writing and publishing, movie reference, teaching and librarianship, biography, history, and memoir.

Leslie has won numerous national awards including ForeWord Book of the Year, The Ben Franklin Award, and Writer’s Digest’s #1 Inspirational Book of the Year. At its inaugural event, Leslie received the Houston Literary Award for his body of work.

Leslie is in demand as a teacher, coach, and keynote speaker. He leads FLY (First Last Year) courses based on his blockbuster memoir, My First Last Year. He draws from decades as an author, editor, and publisher to coach writers in groups and individually. He is also a sought-after speaker for his lively, entertaining keynotes relating award-winning movies to any topic or group.

In every book and presentation, Leslie entertains, inspires, and empowers people to live the life they dream and soar toward their own ideal of success. For more, visit RogerLeslie.com.

Reckless Grace: A Mother’s Crash Course in Mental Illness by Carolyn DiPasquale Review

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

A mother struggles with the knowledge of her daughter’s painful journey through mental health and addiction after discovering her daughter’s journal after a heart-shattering loss in author Carolyn DiPasquale’s “Reckless Grace: A Mother’s Crash Course in Mental Illness”.

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The Synopsis

Fourteen-year-old Rachel guards a collection of secrets for ten years, journaling to vent her terror and loneliness.

What the single, working mother recalls is a far cry from what happens, as dramatically revealed in tandem chapters gleaned from Rachel’s journals. While the mother sprints from task to task, the daughter details the baffling emergence and frightening progression of bulimia, diabulimia, and borderline personality disorder; her eventual substance abuse; and heart-wrenching reasons for not seeking help.

Following Rachel’s fatal overdose years later, her mother, Carolyn DiPasquale, stumbles upon her daughter’s diaries. Shattered, she searches for answers, retracing her steps to figure out how parents and doctors missed three major mental illnesses.

Despite her loss, DiPasquale hopes her story lights a path for victims of mental illness while awakening all readers.

The Review

This was such a powerful, emotional, and heartbreaking read. The author’s passionate story of loss, discovery and the journey through grief that was presented was emotional and captivating all at once as a reader, and yet heartfelt and tragic for any parent out there who has had to deal with this level of loss. The honest and poignant way in which the author wrote kept the reader invested in the story throughout the narrative.

The things that really will stay with readers long after reading the book are both the style in which the author presented this story and the themes that were talked about. The way the author presented both her perspective as a mother and her journey through grief and then also her daughter’s perspective through diary entries that explored the struggles of mental health and other disorders was not only very balanced but came across in a very narrative way. The themes however were plentiful enough for a multitude of different readers to relate to. For me personally, as someone who has someone in their life that has had to deal with many of these mental health and eating disorders, I have experienced firsthand so much of the author’s own experiences, and while I may not understand it from a parental perspective, I do know what it is like to yearn to help and care for someone you love who is struggling with something outside of their control. 

The Verdict

Heartbreaking, emotional, and engaging, author Carolyn DiPasquale’s “Reckless Grace: A Mother’s Crash Course in Mental Illness” is a must-read nonfiction book on mental health, grief, and the journey of a parent with their child. The story presented is difficult, and yet brings an urgency and need for all parents to understand and utilize in their journeys, and with that awareness, readers can have the much-needed sense of healing and hope that many parents are seeking out there. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Carolyn DiPasquale grew up in Franksville, Wisconsin, graduating from UW-Milwaukee with a double major in English and French. In 1983, she moved to Rhode Island where she raised three children while pursuing her Master’s in English at the University of Rhode Island. Over her career, she taught literature and composition at various New England colleges; worked as a technical writer at the Naval Underseas Warfare Center in Newport; and wrote winning grants as a volunteer for Turning Around Ministries, a Newport aftercare program for ex-offenders. She has been an active member of the Newport Round Table, a professional writing group (founded in 1995), since 2013. 

DiPasquale currently lives in Richmond, Rhode Island where she has started working on a sequel to Reckless Grace. She has also ventured into writing children’s books. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking with healthy ingredients, hiking and trapshooting with her husband Phil, and volunteering at the New Hope Chapel food pantry in Carolina, Rhode Island.  

Visit her website to follow her updates. You can also follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

Purchase a copy of Reckless Grace on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list. 

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Blog Tour Calendar

– Blog Tour Calendar

August 1st @ The Muffin

Join us at WOW! Women on Writing as we celebrate the launch of Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

August 1st @ Mindy McGinnis

Join Mindy as she features a guest post by author Carolyn DiPasquale on the topic of how mental disorders travel in packs. Don’t miss this! 

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

August 3rd @ Pages and Paws

Join Kristine as she reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. You don’t want to miss this powerful memoir!

https://pagesandpaws.com/

August 8th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he features Carolyn DiPasquale’s guest post about lessons learned from querying agents and publishers.

August 9th @ The Faerie Review

Join Lily as she features Carolyn DiPasquale and her memoir Reckless Grace.

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

August 10th @ Word Magic

Come by Fiona’s blog where she shares the author’s guest post about memoir writing. Don’t miss this important post if you are interested in this writing genre!

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

August 13th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion

Join Linda as she interviews Carolyn DiPasquale about her memoir Reckless Grace. 

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

August 15th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdra as she features Reckless Grace by Carolyn DiPasquale.

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

August 18th @ Pen and Prosper

Join Jennifer as she interviews Carolyn DiPasquale about her memoir Reckless Grace.

http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/

August 19th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog and read her review of Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. You don’t want to miss this touching memoir.

https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

August 20th @ Choices

Join Madeline as she shares Carolyn DiPasquale’s guest post about whether women can age with grace.

http://www.madelinesharples.com/

August 22nd @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog as she reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s powerful memoir Reckless Grace.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

August 24th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony again as he reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s powerful memoir Reckless Grace.

August 28th @ Liberate and Lather

Join Angela as she reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. 

https://liberateandlather.com/

September 1st @ Peaches and Cream Pages

Join Kelly as she reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. You’ll definitely want to add this book to your reading list.

https://www.instagram.com/peachesandcreampages/

September 2nd @ Heidi Lynn’s Book Reviews.

Join Heidi Lynn as she features Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace.

https://heidilynnsbookreviews.blogspot.com/

September 3rd @ Kelly Sgroi’s Blog

Visit Kelly’s blog today and read the guest post written by Carolyn DiPasquale about how to make your writing sing. Feel inspired today!

https://www.kellysgroi.com/blog

September 4th @ Free to be Me

Join Leslie as she reviews Reckless Grace by Carolyn DiPasquale.

https://lesliesvoice.com/

Camel from Kyzylkum: A Memoir of My Life Journey by Lara Gelya Review 

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

Author Lara Gelya shares her journey of immigration, family, and hope amidst a journey of struggles and loss across multiple countries in the book “Camel from Kyzylkum: A Memoir of My Life Journey”. 

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The Synopsis

Camel from Kyzylkum is a memoir about immigration, family, and the late twentieth century. It touches on themes of hope, struggles, and loss, and shares the inspiration for reaching again and again for a better life. A compelling testament to people’s choices over time, it focuses on freedom and self-determination, no matter how much work and risk are involved.

Travel from Ukraine to the Kyzylkum Desert of Uzbekistan, from the Soviet Union to Austria, then Italy, and eventually America, all while following Lara’s journey to find her truth and her future. Through it all, family, friends, and work shape her life, and a lengthy professional career leads to her eventual retirement on the shores of sunny Florida.

The Review

The author’s story was so moving to read. The balance that was struck between matter-of-fact storytelling and heartfelt experiences was felt throughout this book so clearly. The imagery and tone the author managed to bring to life in the book kept me as a reader hooked to the story being told.

Yet it was the book’s themes and the heart for which the story was told that really captivated me. The themes of hope, the American Dream, and overcoming adversity were well represented here. In today’s world, the author’s story of growing up and coming from Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union is far more relevant than ever before, and the author’s story not only highlights the way life was back in those days but mirrors the political and struggling situations that so many are stuck in now. 

Yet the author’s hope in writing this for her family and friends to understand more about her journey to the United States over 30 years ago was so captivating to get lost in and made for an emotional read.

The Verdict

Gripping, engaging, and thought-provoking, author Lara Gelya’s “Camel from Kyzylkum: A Memoir of My Life Journey” is a must-read memoir and nonfiction read. Suppose you enjoy stories that share the classic, ideal American Journey for immigrants while also providing a unique perspective and personal experience from the author’s life. In that case, this is the book for you. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in Ukraine and going to school there, Lara Gelya went on for the next 20 years to the Kyzylkum Desert of the Republic of Uzbekistan, working at geological sites and expeditions of the Mining Industry. At that time Ukraine and Uzbekistan were parts of one country—the Soviet Union.

In 1989 Lara left the Soviet Union, lived in Austria and Italy before she, at last, found her way to the United States in 1990. Starting her life from ground zero again, and trying on so many hats, she was able to make a lengthy professional career that led to her eventual retirement on the shores of sunny Florida.

When she isn’t writing or making her videos and pictures, Lara spends most of her time reading, gardening, cooking, traveling the world, wandering through nature, or catching her favorite shows.

https://www.laragelya.com/

The Phoenix Career Principles: Rising From Employee Ashes to the Flame of Entrepreneurial Success by Tony Pisanelli Review

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

For those looking to either keep the job you currently have or looking to safely leave behind the job you have now to pursue what you love without taking a hit financially to your responsibilities, look no further than author Tony Pisanelli’s “The Phoenix Career Principles: Rising From Employee Ashes to The Flame of Entrepreneurial Success”.

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The Synopsis

Are You Ready to Become the Driving Force of Your Career?

Forget the concept of a job for life – in today’s fast changing world your career can be riding high one minute and be abruptly ended the next. When your career ends, your family responsibilities, finances and self-confidence all

take a hit.

Whether you want to keep the job you have, safely leave the career you hate or find purpose in your working life, The Phoenix Career Principles is your blueprint.

This easy-to-follow book for managing an important pillar of your life shows you how to:

  • Keep your job when others are losing theirs
  • Avoid the key mistake that could destroy your career
  • Safely leave the job you hate to live the life you love
  • Experience the joy and freedom of a satisfying life
  • Step into a new world of employment opportunities

“The Phoenix Career Principles is filled with actionable steps and inspiration to help you build a secure and satisfying career that leverages the entrepreneurial journey. . . If you’re looking to not only enhance your career, but also to feel meaning in your life through the work that you do, this book is for you!”

The Review

This was such a well-developed, captivating, and engaging read. What amazed me right away was how much information the author was able to fit into such a short read. The detailed way the author outlined the steps that they took to safely step away from the hustle and bustle of work to find their passions in work and the entrepreneurial spirit that they needed to succeed was so inspiring to read about.

The two things that stood out to me as a reader were both the balance between personal experiences and practical guidelines for implementing these practices for both maintaining one’s current position at work in order to help sustain one’s income while also implementing them into driving their passion and dream jobs forward. The constant fears and pitfalls of becoming your own boss in life have always been the loss of income in a world that is becoming more and more expensive to live in. The author’s easy-to-understand and engaging steps, as well as their experiences, allowed this reader to find the steps to pursue one’s dream career without losing the means to survive and thrive in life.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, engaging, and educational, author Tony Pisanelli’s “The Phoenix Career Principles” is must-read nonfiction read on business and entrepreneurship. I thought the book was well written and thought out, and the clear and cons way the author delivered these practices opened up the reader’s minds and approached the tough subject of striking out on one’s own path with such a caring hand. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

I am a Career Change Coach helping Corporate Professionals adapt their careers for the accelerating changes taking place in the employment landscape. I have developed a proven system that helps professionals move beyond just fulfilling their daily job requirements to building a career platform for the future. As a former corporate professional, I saw first hand how swiftly a person can go from a secure position to the unemployment queue and its devastating implication on their life.

I am passionate about helping these individuals take charge of their careers by setting a future direction, managing change to their advantage and building an extraordinary career that encapsulates who they are, their life purpose and is highly valued in the market place.

Sports Betting Down to the Bones: A Beginner’s Guide by Manuel Angela Review

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

Anyone looking to better understand the world of sports betting and how to be successful in it will not want to miss out on author Manuel Angela’s “Sports Betting Down to the Bones: A Beginner’s Guide”. 

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The Synopsis

Sports Betting: a lottery or a game of skills?

Sports Betting Simplified: Here’s What You Need To Know So You Can Thrive!

Do you want to learn more about sports betting?

Do you want to increase your success rate and stop wasting your hard-earned money?

Looking for efficient strategies and tips to help you improve your sports betting strategy?

With the sports betting market becoming more and more popular nowadays, chances are you are also considering entering the industry for the first time. But, to have more than beginner’s luck and keep thriving in the field, you should be ready to put a lot of your time into studying and researching.

This guide is here to take all the hard work out of your research, helping you get a solid idea of how you can jumpstart your betting game. It will assist you in navigating the sports betting world while making better betting decisions with maximum confidence.

By the end of this comprehensive 5-step beginner’s guide, you will be able to:

 Get Familiar With The Betting Language

 Discover Betting Strategies That Pay Off

 Learn How To Research While Avoiding Common Mistakes

 Find Out All The Concepts, Rules & Techniques You Need To Know Before Placing Your First Bet

And That Is Not All!

This book will support you in embracing the right mindset and establishing a more profitable presence in the field. Plus, we seek to raise awareness about the WNBA and female bettors, shedding light on a less acknowledged but equally important sports betting sector!

“I Have Never Read Any Other Sports Betting Books Before. Is This One Right For Me?”

Absolutely! Written with first-time bettors in mind, the book explains all the key points you should bear in mind, ensuring you kickstart your betting adventure well-informed.

You got this!

The Review

This was such a well-researched and well-written book. The author’s ability to easily translate and share the strategies and practices that both novice and seasoned sports betters will be able to utilize in their games was brilliant to read about. The research that went into the specific terminology and purposes that go into the world of sports betting was so well developed throughout the book and made the reader feel both educated and engaged as a whole.

The thing that stood out to me as a reader was the author’s ability to relate the findings of this book through both research and personable writing. The knowledge that comes with this subject isn’t something everyone will automatically be invested in, but the sign of a great writer is when someone is able to bring a reader without a preexisting interest in a field and make it entertaining in some way. One way the author did this was by introducing some knowledge and expertise on the world of the WNBA and women’s sports as a whole, a field that is not discussed often enough. The way the author developed this aspect of the book was a great way to hook a unique audience that ramped up the interest in betting as a whole.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, enlightening, and fascinating, author Manuel Angela’s “Sports Betting Down to the Bone: A Beginner’s Guide” is must-read nonfiction and sports gambling book. The unique subject matter and the breathtakingly refreshing way the author wrote will immediately draw readers into the book’s subject matter. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Growing up, Manuel was fascinated with sports, and this interest led to his early exposure to sports betting. Manuel has been studying sports for more than 15 years, and when he is not spending time with family and friends, you can find him watching sports and strategizing the next sport move. Throughout the years, he has developed an understanding of the sports-betting world, and he continues to refine these skills to this day. Manuel has a full-time career in technology, all while continuing to indulge in his passion for sports.

amazon.com/dp/B0B9ZKX2HP

Interview with Author Karen Moe

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

I am a feminist activist, visual artist, performance artist, art critic, essayist, and author. Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor is my debut book. Since I started writing again in 2014, it is as though all of the writing I have done has been in preparation for the writing of this book. 

Like a lot of writers, I started writing as a child. However, I haven’t been writing and honing my skills consistently since then except for in school with creative compositions and essays. In my early adulthood, except for some journaling, I wrote essays at university and became particularly skilled at the formal aspect of essay writing. It was as though, like a painter who begins with figurative drawing, I was learning the rules of essay structure and grammar so that I could break them—which is exactly what I have done and, as I write and think about it now, this breaking of rules has happened in tandem with my development as a revolutionary. My writing now, as with all of my art, is about revolution: being a contributing voice to an ideological revolution—which is the only way we are going to have lasting change in the West (which, tragically, because of globalization, pretty much means the world). I often joke that I write the same thing, over and over again, in different contexts. After all, that’s what the other side has done for millennia! Repeat and convince. Repeat and maintain. We have a lot of repeating to do until everyone hears and believes us, the same way the majority of society believes the dogma they are fed daily that is lived as unbroachable reality. 

I started writing again for real in 2014. One evening, I was at a Graham Gilmore exhibition at a big gallery in Vancouver Canada. At that time, I was immersed in my visual art and, like most (or all) visual artists who have yet to get the coveted representation from a commercial gallery, I had an ulterior motive to go to Graham’s (amazing) exhibition: I wanted to talk with the gallery director and give him my card so that (just maybe) he would be interested enough to check out my work and (please god-of-the-almost-impossible, succeed as an artist in my lifetime) represent me. 

I wandered around the gallery innocently checking out Graham’s paintings; I came up with a clever question about gender; I spied the gallery director; I told him I have a question about one of the paintings; we walked over to it together; I asked him my clever question holding my card strategically in the hand where he couldn’t see it yet.

“Oh!” he exclaimed. “Graham will love that question! I must introduce you to him.” My desperate undiscovered artist’s heart fell. I was escorted over to the famous artist wreathed with his admirers. The gallery director ushered me through the eager mass, all vying for Graham’s attention. Yes, Graham loved my question. He asked for my card. I reluctantly gave him the one I had poised opportunistically in my hand for the gallery director. We chatted a bit. Other admirers jabbed the circle for his attention. I went home, elated by experiencing his exquisitely wrought and culturally important paintings, but with a heavy heart about yet another failed attempt of even getting the slightest interest in my own work.

The next day I received an email from Graham. 

“I want you to write a comprehensive article on my oeuvre. Do you want money? Art? Both?”

“But I’m not an art critic. I’m a visual artist like you.”

“I don’t care,” he responded as the delightful eccentric he is. “I want something different.”

So, I did. I wrote my first piece of art criticism. It’s called: “Excavations: A Feminist Resistance Artist Dialogues with Graham Gilmores Love Sic.” The article was published in Border Crossings, the most important art magazine in Canada. I was even paid over $1000. 

“Oh, I guess I can still write,” I said to myself. Since then, I have written many articles of art criticism and revolution. You can find the links to some of them on my website under essays.

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What inspired you to tell your story? What message do you hope readers will take away from your book? What is one message or piece of advice you’d give to anyone who is struggling with experiences similar to or like the ones you share in your book?

As stated above (here is an opportunity for strategic repetition): contributing to the revolution of a culture built with exploitation inspired me to tell my story as it does everything I create. However, the narrative thread of Victim was also inspired by (or one could say based on) the real-life experiences of sexual violence that I have personally been victimized by and survived. It was also inspired by the revolutionary knowledge—embodied knowledge—that I gained by having been victimized by and survived that violence. This can be seen as ironic because typically one thinks of living through sexual violence as a negative, traumatizing, experience. And, of course, it is. And yet, as I write in Victim:

“One of the main effects of my personal victimization has been an acute awareness of injustice, especially regarding sexual assault. Whenever I watch or see or read or hear about rape, prostitution, or pornography, I feel like I am being raped all over again. But, the interesting thing is, it’s not personal anymore; it’s not just about me. And, it may sound strange: it’s not all bad. It is as though, through an experience that is perceived as—and is—horrifying, there is more to it than that. Instead of being weak, passive, and defeated, my experience as a victim kicked me in the ass. It made me start doing something about it.

Don’t get me wrong: I certainly wouldn’t wish my particular form of initiation into the realm of righteous anger on anyone else, but this is good anger, healthy anger, an anger that motivates. I mean, shouldn’t we all be angry about the sexual exploitation of women and children? Shouldn’t we all be angry when more than half of the people on earth are under siege?” (Victim 144-145)

One of the main messages of the book—and the reason that I chose the controversial term ‘victim’ for the title—is because I turn the concept and reality of ‘victimhood’ on its head. When a person lives through extreme violence, you change. It affects you. There is no going back. Victimization has long-term effects because the system that victimizes has not gone away. As Andrea Dworkin said: “Victim is a true word. If you were raped, you were victimized. You damn well were. You were a victim … And if it happens to you systematically because you were born a woman, it means that you live in a political system that uses pain and humiliation to control and hurt you.” I write in the book: “It’s from then on always after.” And, in response to Dworkin’s connection of victimization and the system that does it, this awareness and acknowledgment of the victim being an inescapable result of rape means that the acknowledgment is the source of transforming the system that creates a victim—and the victim not only knows this, they feel it.

Like many other victims, since I became fully conscious of the violence I have experienced and the aftermath of PTSD I still negotiate daily, the politically correct term ‘survivor’ has always felt like it doesn’t tell the full story. Yes, of course, I survived. And, yes, time passes. But what happens during that time, the life passing in what our culture construes as an ever-forward moving trajectory, shouldn’t promote the shedding of experiences, an eradication of life. There is no moving on from a life-altering experience, getting over what will always be a part of our lives. For me, this is not healthy, nor is it realistic. As I say in Victim: “I need to learn to honor my scars. So that they won’t happen again.” Scars are a source of wisdom and empowerment and not inflictions of debilitation and defeat. 

Acknowledging and deriving power from our victimhood also debunks the patriarchal ideology of linearity, constantly moving forward, not looking back (which is the ideological infrastructure of neo-liberalism where no acknowledgment or responsibility is given to what has been plundered through in order to fill the bottomless glut of individualism and greed, that which exploits in order to exist and that which rapes not only women and children, but everything). Linear thinking negates any possibility of sensitivity and awareness; we rush past without noticing what came before, what exists on the margins of our individualist prerogatives to get ahead. Victim was intentionally written as a non-linear narrative not only to overwhelm constrictions, but also for me as the writer to experience the writing process as it happened, as it was remembered. Each part, each memory, each process of remembering, each connection of remembering through the act of writing—what phrase, what word, what rhythm arose—bred the next part of the manuscript. However, remembering is not only a backward trajectory, the inversion of the forward: what memories, what parts of our lived lives have been pushed aside and return with their connection to another memory residing in a word that can re-surface what has been buried. And then we are greeted by the narrative of how we have forgotten this, what caused us to push this aside? And the remembering, the excavating, through writing, continues as a cycle, never a line.

For me, this process of remembering (and being) is how writing happens; it is how being simultaneously conscious and unconscious with all of the obfuscations and clarities in between. You have a topic, what you are going to write about, and maybe you even have a general idea of where you’re are going; however, for me, there is the necessary alchemy of the first sentence that arrives as a miracle from my subconscious and is filtered through a love affair with language. From that first sentence, the work is born and, as I write, I come upon experiences, ideas, and observations that I had no idea were even there, even though they were. Writing, when one opens oneself to it, surprises, teaches and gives the writer a more acute relationship with reality. As the now tall grasses, with their tips of reaching seeds, draw tender cycles, in the ever-moving air.

Men cannot be left out of the discussion of sexual violence, both as perpetrators and as victims. Men cannot be left out of feminism as a movement that is fighting for justice for all and for a culture without violence. In Victim, I write about my very difficult but, in the end, very beautiful, relationship with my father. As women, our relationships with our first sexed and gendered male are absolutely formative in how we negotiate a system of male supremacy and the female oppression that guarantees. While writing Victim and telling all (even to the extent of my own self-condemnation, my own imperfections, my own humanness), I was very interested in the genesis of the victim. However, I was also very interested in (and still am) how a perpetrator is constructed in a violent culture and how men are also victims. Breaking the cycle of abuse is critical. In patriarchy, male victims are conditioned to harden as opposed to opening to the fact that we are all vulnerable and that victimization affects us. In patriarchy, men are not permitted vulnerability. It is an acknowledgment of and living lives as vulnerable creatures that make active empathy possible. Conditioned to be strong and emotionless, those socialized as men have a much more difficult time with this. As Robert Jensen says in his book The End of Patriarchy: Radical Feminism for Men: “I was socialized in patriarchy into a toxic masculinity that not only subordinates women but also crippled my own capacity to be fully human.” This inability to feel fully inevitably contributes to the creation of the perpetrator—and, most often, his victims. 

It is very significant and special to me that Victim has had wonderful responses from men, including, of course, you Anthony. One male reader said: “This is the most honest book I have ever read (and I have read a lot of books).” Another, as Daniel Gawthrop writes in his article for The British Columbia Review: “Victim is a rich and soulful testament to the power of human resilience that redefines the meaning of victimhood itself.” And your final verdict, Anthony: “While the subject matter of her own life was tragic, her strength and ability to turn her trauma into empowerment gives hope to many for the future and helps shape the blueprints to help build a better society that values compassion, equality, and justice.” Thank you!

I have known for decades that the story of the abduction, how the serial rapist tricked me, what happened psychologically while he had me, and how I got away and ended up being instrumental to his life sentence is a darn interesting story. However, as an artist, I am able to detach from my own personal life and to exist beyond myself in order to create. I have often joked: even my own trauma is interesting and, in a section of the book where I am delving into what happened to me psychologically in order to survive and ultimately over-power the serial rapist, I wrote: “the time has come to perform an autopsy on my twenty-eight-year-old psyche.”(Victim: 39). That said, because the story—however personally terrifying—is so interesting, I’ve often thought that the narrative of the story would make an amazing screenplay. Others have said this now too after reading it, so maybe it will be one someday.

However, beyond my personal narrative, Daniel Gawthrop observes how: “Now fifty-five, Moe says she was emotionally incapable of writing this memoir until now. And that’s a good thing, for Victim is a much better and wiser book than it would have been had she published it within a short time of her terrifying abduction.” It was through the years of activism, research, and scholarship between the writing of the book and the experiences of sexual violence that not only serve to extend the book far beyond the memoirist and into the system that raped her, but also by building a manifesto and a call to arms for both women and men. 

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

I was born in 1966, as you will learn when you read the opening pages of my book. As such, I frequently joke that I am half-luddite. I do my best with social media. I have Facebook and Instagram. I can’t stomach the argumentative nature of Twitter, although I know “I should.” I am working towards starting up TikTok. Because I published with a very small Indie Press (Vigilance Press who are great but don’t have the capacity to book the ambitious tours I have been undertaking), I have to do virtually everything myself. That includes organizing and booking these tours. I just completed my US Trauma & Triumph Tour for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April 2022. I am currently organizing my Cross Canada one for September. I hope once it’s set up, I can begin TikTok. As you may have noticed, I have a lot to say. I have started the account —and now I have to figure out how to do it! This is a lengthy process for we Gen Xers and we have to psychologically prepare ourselves for researching YouTube how-tos and make the process as stress-free as possible. My name is “Logical Feminist.” Stay tuned! It will happen! And now it has to because I told you it will. Eeek. 

About the part of the question as to which site has been the most helpful. Maybe Facebook because I have more friends on Facebook (and I know that to a lot of people of younger generations, FB is so passé). Although, more people on Instagram (percentage-wise) seem to be interested in my more revolutionary posts and there have been some feminists within the K’s amount of followers who are noticing me and my revolutionary posts. They haven’t followed me yet. But I seem to be on their radar (if that means anything!). I have DMed them. But, as of yet, no response. We’ll see! If anyone has any social media tips let me know and feel free to follow me and the press. Vigilance Press is an imprint of Vigilance Magazine:

@karenmoeart

@vigilancemagazine

However, for me, I just want to write my next book. And I have started, even though I haven’t finished touring my first. I have heard that the best way to sell your first book is to write you next one asap. That’s not a problem for me as I have two next ones eager to be born. Ideally, social media will take care of itself (I know! A Gen-X-get-someone-to -just-do-this-for-me-already thing to say 😉 Virginie Despentes has someone doing her social media. And she does what she is supposed to do: write. Alone. No one bothers her. Her mind is clear to create. She has space in all senses of the word to say something, to make something, important. #damrightmetoo. 

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

Start. And, with writing, always be on the lookout for the opening sentence. The first sentence is the magic. I say to my students, when you have your first sentence, it is in many ways as though the piece of writing is written. The first sentence of Victim that I wrote in November 2016 is “I have lost the mustard yellow suede jacket from that time.” From that sentence, the book poured out of me. 

Also, with writing as with all art, there is no going halfway. Art is a vocation, not a dabble. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people and politically correct artist-run centres say that anyone can be an artist and spend thousands of dollars of culture grants attempting to prove what isn’t true. And, not only is it not true, it’s an insult to all of us who have committed our lives to honing our skills through, most often, personal sacrifice. Everything I do is bent upon creating because, if I don’t, I don’t feel well. Not everyone has to create in order to not feel bad. And, I know that not everyone could live the life on the edge that I, and the majority of other artists, writers, and composers now and throughout history, have lived. You either want to create or you don’t. Wanting to write a book is not based on “Oh, I would love to write a book someday.” For one: there is no someday. And: there is no want. It has to be an all-encompassing need. An obsession to say something. (As an aside, I would like to add that not everyone can be an artist, but everyone can be a revolutionary and contribute to the movement in some way. For example, I could never be a lawyer and we need revolutionary lawyers to give justice to so many rape victims who are never given any and retraumatized by being brave enough to report being raped, not to mention save other women by getting another rapist out of circulation).

However, even though it’s very difficult and discipline is required, for me anyway, the writing is the fun part. It is the getting the agent, the getting the publisher, the literal making of the book that is the hard part. When I first started submitting my book in 2019, I googled how to go about doing just that and the first website I came upon said: “Oh, so you think writing your book was hard!” That statement pretty much sums up what comes next after you’ve triumphantly finished writing your book. Especially your first one. 

What does the future hold in store for you? Are any new books/projects on the horizon?

I have had my next book planned for the last couple of years. It came out of the research that I did for Victim. During the time that I was held captive by the serial rapist, he confided: “There’s nothing like a good whore.” Because of that statement, I had to research and write a section on the sex industry. Part of that research ended up being about child sex slavery. Lydia Cacho’s Slavery Inc: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking and Julie Bindel’s The Pimping of Prostitution: Ending the Sex Work Myth were both invaluable resources for not only my first book but for planning my next which will be called Inconceivable Reality. For me, there is no greater proof that the culture we live in is wrong and needs to be revolutionized than the fact that child sex slavery even exists. Of course, all sex slavery is despicable and all human trafficking unforgivable, but child sex slavery takes the proverbial cake in despicability. The fact that typically so-called first-world men will go to the third (and the third world as a geographical and economic site of exploitation also exists in the first) and pay to violate and destroy a child’s life is inconceivable to me and it has to be exposed because child sex slavery, violating a tiny and innocent body and being, has to no longer be true. 

However, recently, another book has appeared on my horizon. It is a book I conceived of last fall during my participation as a forest defender at the Fairy Creek Blockades in British Columbia, Canada. The Fairy Creek Blockades are the largest act of civil disobedience in Canada. Some of the last remaining temperate rainforests is being clear-cut. Of course, it’s the same old story of soullessness and greed—the reason why I write revolution in different contexts, is to resist the non-stop repetition of ‘progress’ and ‘individual gain’ along with throwing up our hands and saying there is nothing we can do about it. Yes, we can. We in the first world still have a semblance of human rights. At the very least, we can tell the world that we don’t agree, that this is wrong, and that what we are asking for, preserving the tiny portion of what is left of pristine ecosystems, is absolutely logical. Unlike countries like Honduras and in the Amazon where land defenders are assassinated, in Canada, the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand we can still protest and we can still win. The forest defenders at Fairy Creek were and are miraculous people and show the good that can be activated in all of us. You can access the articles through my website that I wrote last summer which strive to tell the whole story—as opposed to what is not told by the mainstream media and these gaps, what is left out, become lies in themselves.

The politics of colonialism in Canada, as in every other colonized and colonizing nation, is very complicated. Because the logging of the Fairy Creek Watershed is also an Indigenous land claim issue, the politics are far from limited to capitalism and its acceleration into neo-liberalism: they are firmly entrenched in the ongoing colonial state of Canada. Elder Bill Jones is an ancestral elder of the Pacheedaht Nation. He is the First Nations ancestral elder who invited the settler (non-indigenous peoples) forest defenders to Fairy Creek to help him and the rest of the ancestral Pacheedaht save the old-growth forest and its ecosystem. I will be writing a book (yes, another manifesto) that will center on the life story of Elder Bill Jones, now in his 80s. The book will be called Re-Indigenize: The Revolution of Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones. 

I am, technically, in terms of labeling, a ‘radical’ feminist; however, during the writing of Victim I thought: “Why is logic radical?” So-called radical feminists look at feminism as eradicating patriarchal hierarchy, as a political movement to change the sexed and gendered distribution of power, eradicate hierarchy and the ideology of taking, and undermine the infrastructure of a masculine system that guarantees exploitation. Hierarchy, violence, and exploitation affect everything: women, gender, race, the environment, animals and yes, of course, men. Everything is connected. 

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About the Author

Karen Moe is an art critic, visual and performance artist, author and feminist activist. Her work focuses on systemic violence in patriarchy: be it gender, race, the environment or speciesism. Her art criticism has been published internationally in magazines, anthologies and artist catalogues in English and Spanish and she has exhibited and performed across Canada, in the US and in Mexico. Karen is the recipient of the “Ellie Liston Hero of the Year Award” 2022 for being instrumental in putting the serial rapist, who raped and brutalized herself and countless other women, away for life in 1996. She lives in Mexico City and British Columbia, Canada. Published by Vigilance Press on April 2nd, 2022, Victim: A Feminist Manifesto from a Fierce Survivor is her debut book.

Karen has just returned from her US Trauma & Triumph Tour for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, will be having a variety of events throughout the summer, and will be embarking upon her Cross-Canada Tour in September 2022.

https://www.vigilancemagazine.com/vigilance-press