My (Underground) American Dream by Julissa Arce

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

My (Underground) American Dream by Julissa Arce was an amazing book. When I saw that this book was available for me to review I knew I had to pick it up because I have always wondered about the children that grow up like this. I really enjoyed this book because it was a true story and I love books that really happened. I found it easier for me to get into this book because it was true and I knew that everything really happened. I also loved getting a different view of what it is like to live in the United States. I had a rough childhood but I know I had it better than most people do in this country. I loved everything about this book because it was written well enough that I understood and felt like I was there with the author. If you love memoirs than I know you will love this book as much as I did.

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About The Book

For an undocumented immigrant, what is the true cost of the American Dream? Julissa Arce shares her story in a riveting memoir.

When she was 11 years old, Julissa Arce left Mexico and came to the United States on a tourist visa to be reunited with her parents, who dreamed the journey would secure her a better life. When her visa expired at the age of 15, she became an undocumented immigrant. Thus began her underground existence, a decade’s long game of cat and mouse, tremendous family sacrifice, and fear of exposure. After the Texas Dream Act had made a college degree possible, Julissa’s top grades and leadership positions landed her an internship at Goldman Sachs, which led to a full-time position–one of the most coveted jobs on Wall Street. Soon she was a Vice President, a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties, yet still guarding her “underground” secret. In telling her personal story of separation, grief, and ultimate redemption, Arce shifts the immigrant conversation and changes the perception of what it means to be an undocumented immigrant.

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About The Author

Julissa Arce is the author of “My (Underground) American Dream.” She is an emerging and leading voice in the fight for immigrant rights and education equality. She is the chairman and co-founder of the Ascend Educational Fund (AEF). AEF is a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students in New York City, regardless of their ethnicity, national original or immigration status. She made national and international headlines when she revealed that she had achieved the American Dream of wealth and status at Goldman Sachs while undocumented. Julissa will use her inspirational story to change the conversation around immigration in MY (UNDERGROUND) AMERICAN DREAM. The book explores the polarizing question: for an undocumented immigrant, what is the true cost of the American dream?

In the heady days of the most astronomical stock-market rise in Wall Street history, Julissa Arce climbed the corporate ladder—a rare Hispanic woman in a sea of suits and ties. In 2005, against all the odds, she landed one of the most coveted jobs as an analyst at Goldman Sachs. Over the course of the next six years, even while the financial markets crashed, she continued to climb the corporate ladder—riding a series of promotions to become a Vice President, complete with a high six-figure salary and all of the perks that come with living the Goldman Sachs life. What none of her colleagues knew was that she wasn’t just a young woman who broke through ceilings in a cutthroat male-dominated field: she was also an undocumented American from Mexico.

Arce now uses her success and platform to help shift the conversation around immigration and other social justice issues. Arce often gives talks at events such as TEDx and the Forbes Reinventing America Summit (alongside Nancy Pelosi, Jessica Alba, and Gayle King), and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Al Jazeera America, Telemundo, Bloomberg TV and Univision. Her writing has been published on Huffington Post, Fusion, CNN en Español, The Hill, and Univision. She serves on the board of directors of the National Immigration Law Center and CollegeSpring. She was officially sworn in as an American citizen in August of 2014 and will vote in a presidential election for the first time in 2016.

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There’s Been A Change Of Plans by Amy Koko

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

There’s Been A Change Of Plans by Amy Koko was a fun book to read. I did find myself smiling through most of the book. Even though I am younger than the author is in this book I understood what she was going through and how hard it can be dealing with the things that she had to deal with. I loved this book because she shared the humor she saw in such a bad situation. It also reminded me that even if life is hard, I need to take the time to find the humor in the situation because that is the best way I have found cope with things that are causing me so much stress. If you or someone you know has gone through a divorce later in life, I know you will enjoy and understand this book even more than I did.

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About The Book

Blogger Amy Koko bears her soul in her witty, bittersweet memoir, There’s Been A Change of Plans: Divorce, Dating & Delinquents in Mid-life. Expecting a trip to Italy, Koko is blind-sided by her husband’s confession that he’s been putting his shoes under a much younger and prettier woman’s bed. After twenty-seven years of marriage and four children, she faces the unimaginable: her life as she knows it is unraveling around her and her family’s future is anything but certain.

In the literary tradition of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Koko’s memoir details her journey from hearing the news that her husband is in love with a blonde, thirty-something Swiss pastry chef to trying everything from thong underwear to a mini-facelift to save her marriage, only to see it die in the parking lot of gas station.

With incredible honesty and humor, Koko takes the reader on a wild ride through the tough, emotional times of starting over through divorce, mid-life, finding a job, and Internet dating, all the while trying to keep her four teenagers out of jail.

There’s been a change of plans, and that’s just the beginning.

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About The Author

After 27 years of marriage, Amy Koko went into divorce, kicking, screaming, stalking and drunk texting but lived to tell about it. She is the creator of the popular blog Exwifenewlife and a contributor to Huffington Post Divorce as well as Huffington Post Women. Amy lives in St. Petersburg, Florida where she begins each day with a freshly ground cup of good coffee and ends it with a good glass of pinot noir. Or chardonnay. Or a dirty martini. Whatever’s handy.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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Oh Ship! Tales Of A Cruising Chick & Other Travel Adventures by Lori A. Moore

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Pump Up Your Book in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Oh Ship! Tales of A Cruising Chick & Other Travel Adventures by Lori A. Moore was a fun book to read. This is a super short book, so I don’t have tons to say about it, but I did enjoy the book. I have never been on a cruise, but my grandparents are going on one in a few weeks so I am going to send this book with them so they can pass it on to someone who would enjoy it. I loved that the author included travel tips after each of the stories because some of them were super ingenious and things that if I ever travel I will use myself. I was left smiling after the stories, and I did enjoy the book. I think this would be a great gift for someone who likes to read and travel.

Oh Ship! Tales Of A Cruising Chick & Other Travel Adventures by Lori A. Moore

About The Book

Ship happens. Cruises can be quite the adventure within an adventure if you keep your eyes open and watch the little dramas that are going on among the several thousand passengers and crew members aboard the ship. Reading author Lori A. Moore’s true tales of things that happen on the high seas will have you saying, “Oh Ship!” From stories of passengers pepper-spraying other passengers to grown men fighting over glass figurines of penguins, you’ll laugh until your ribs hurt.

Lori A. Moore

About The Author

Lori A. Moore is an award-winning author and professor who doesn’t take herself too seriously and believes her greatest gift to be silliness. A public speaker and consultant, Lori has four graduate degrees in business. Lori, her husband, and their cat, Grady, live in Louisville, KY. An avid traveler, she has explored much of the globe, finding and bringing silliness to all places.

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The Painting and The Piano by John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Book Publicity Services  in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

The Painting and The Piano by John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo was a hard book to read at times. I say that it was hard to read because of some of the things that the characters went through in this book. I know that this book could be triggering to some people as well because of the topics talked about. With that being said I did enjoy this book and found myself wanting to read it until the end because I wanted to know how it all played out in the end. I liked this book so much because it is a true story and I always find myself loving books that are true stories. There are parts of this book that reminded me of my childhood, so I know also helped me understand what the characters felt at certain points throughout the book. I enjoyed this book even though it was hard at times to read it. I loved that the characters made it through and wrote this book to help other people learn from the things they went through as children. If you love autobiography types books than I know you will love this book just as much as I do. This is one that I am going to be adding to my personal collection of books because I would like to read it again in the future.

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About The Book

The Painting and The Piano, by John Lipscomb and Adrianne Lugo, is an improbable story of survival and love.

Genres: Literary Nonfiction / Romance / Memoir / Addiction and Recovery

Growing up more than a thousand miles apart and worlds away from each other, Johnny and Adrianne seemed to have all that a child could ask for. However, the demons of their respective mothers would tear their young, fragile lives apart.

Eventually, destiny would bring Johnny and Adrianne together, but first they had to endure the painful toll that alcohol, drugs, and a negligent court system would take on them. With parts of Adrianne’s story ripped from national news headlines, their story takes them from the depths of despair and near death, to their first serendipitous introduction and the moment each knew they were finally safe.

Filled with hope, inspiration and humor, The Painting and the Piano is an unforgettable story of pain, loss and the undying human quest for happiness. Told as a tandem narrative, Adrianne and Johnny’s stories are unique, but share parallels that create a taut and emotionally compelling narrative.

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About The Author’s

Johnny and Adrianne reside in South Florida with their Yorkie, Holly.  Both are involved in the AA/Recovery community. Adrianne currently works at a recovery house and Johnny continues speaking, sponsoring and helping others in recovery.

Readers can connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

To learn more, go to http://www.paintingpiano.com/

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Hunting Hope by Nika Maples

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Hunting Hope by Nika Maples was such a great book and one I was glad that I got to review.  When I first saw this book being offered to review, I didn’t sign up for it because I am not always a huge fan of books like this one.  After I got a second email asking to review the book I figured what the hell it won’t hurt me to read it.  In the end, I am so glad that I read the book because it gave me a new way to look at some of the hard things I have dealt with in my life.  This book is a smaller book but right from the first page it made me think and made me want to look at my life differently.  I also liked that this book was an easy read, and the author did a great job of making me understand what she was saying and things like that.  I think this is one book that everyone should read at some point because it can teach everyone something.

Hunting Hope by Nika Maples

About The Book

Hunting Hope: Dig Through the Darkness to Find the Light (April 2016, Worthy Inspired)

Hope is not an accident. Sometimes it has to be hunted, and hunting it takes courage.

Hope hunters know how to excavate hope from hardship. There is dirt underneath their fingernails and sweat on their shirts. They rake through the rubble of an unwanted situation, digging into difficult circumstances because they have come to expect that adversity will produce good. They believe that light always triumphs over darkness. They have learned to walk through winter with their eyes on spring.

Nika Maples became a hope hunter after suffering a massive brainstem stroke that left her quadriplegic in her twenties. Doctors warned that she had as little as 48 hours to live, and—if she lived at all—she would never walk or talk again. There was no hope on the horizon. So Nika started to hunt for it. Today, she not only walks, but she speaks to audiences everywhere about the power of hunting hope when a situation appears hopeless. She says hope remains camouflaged in the daily mundane. If we are not looking for it, we will miss it, though it is right before our eyes.

Whether you or someone you know is going through a situation that feels hopeless, you will find encouragement in Hunting Hope. Whether you are experiencing a medical trauma, a financial hardship, or a relational crisis, you will find empowerment in Hunting Hope. As you read, you will cling to 20 truths about God’s character and practice 5 daily disciplines that will develop your own character in crisis.

You will become a hope hunter.

Maybe it doesn’t matter what causes suffering in our lives as much as it matters what suffering causes in our lives. Maybe we were all meant to be hope hunters.

Nika Maples

About The Author

Nika Maples is the author of Twelve Clean Pages, the memoir of her survival of lupus and a stroke that left her quadriplegic at age 20. After learning to walk and talk again, she became a public school teacher, winning 2007 Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year. She holds an MA in English Education from Columbia University and currently is pursuing an MDIV from The King’s University. When she is not traveling to speak, she lives, writes, and laughs as much as possible in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Simple Pleasures by Marianne Jantzi

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Simple Pleasures by Marianne Jantzi was a good book to read. I have read one other book in this series. With that being said it, they are part of a series but not part of a series. Each book is written by a different Amish person, so they are different stories, but all have to do with what it is like to be Amish. I enjoyed the first book which you can read my review on if you click here but I had a hard time getting into this book. I enjoyed this book, but it was slower for me, and it isn’t one that I would want to read again. I think that is because it was most just her talking and not her telling stories. Even with all that being said I did enjoy parts of this book, and it is one that I know some people will love. If you love books written by the Amish and love to get an inside look at what their lives are like I would for sure have you check out this book.

Simple Pleasures by Marianne Jantzi

About The Book

Young Amish homemaker Marianne Jantzi invites readers into her family s life and Amish community. The mother of four young children, Jantzi writes about her daily routines and heartfelt faith with equal measures of wit and warmth. Sewing, cleaning, cooking, gardening, and helping to manage the family store take up most hours in her day, but Jantzi finds time to pen columns for theConnection, a magazine beloved by Amish and Mennonite readers. Never sugarcoating the frustrations of motherhood, Jantzi tells it like it is, broken washing machine and bickering children and all. But through her busy days, Jantzi finds strength in simple pleasures of family, fellowship with her Amish community, and quiet time with God.

Hear straight from Amish people themselves as they write about their daily lives and deeply rooted faith in the Plainspoken series from Herald Press. Each book includes A Day in the Life of the Author and the authors answers to FAQs about the Amish.

About The Author

Marianne Jantzi is an Amish writer and homemaker in Ontario, Canada. Formerly a teacher in an Amish school, Jantzi now educates and inspires through her “Northern Reflections” column for The Connection, a magazine directed mainly to Amish and plain communities across the U.S. and Canada. She and her husband have four young children and run a shoe store among the Milverton Amish settlement of Ontario.

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2016 Margaret Margaret

Mukhabarat, Baby! My Life as a Wartime Spy for the CIA by Eric Burkhart

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from iRead in exchange for my honest review.  I received no other compensation.

Mukhabarat, Baby! My Life as a Wartime Spy for the CIA by Eric Burkhart was an amazing book, and I was sad when it came to an end.  I loved that the author included bits of humor and his personality came through while I was reading the book.  I really can’t say enough great things about this book and this author.  I loved all the stories that he told, and I loved getting a little bit of a behind the scenes view of what working for the CIA is like.  I am finding that I love books like this because the stories are true and I love to read true stories.  I spend a good portion of the time that I was reading this book smiling because I love his sense of humor and his style of writing.  I would recommend this book to everyone because it is an amazing story and one that  I think most people would love.

Mukhabarat Baby!

About The Book

This is the story of a young American who would eventually fulfill his dream of becoming a CIA Case Officer, only to have a promising career cut short after having been purposely poisoned by a contact.

Eric Burkhart was raised in Europe in a bilingual household, and accepted a job in Africa right out of college. Upon his return to the United States, he was hired as an Immigration Agent in Laredo, Texas, working Inspections on one of the busiest port-of-entries connecting the United States and Mexico. This experience is detailed in this humorous, occasionally heartbreaking memoir about choosing to be a survivor.

In 2000, Burkhart accepted a position as a Case Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. The book includes details of both the notoriously arduous hiring process and the rigorous training program, including Burkhart’s eventual successful completion of the Espionage Course taught at the famous “Farm”. Burkhart’s first overseas working experience was in war-torn Kosovo, where he was unwittingly poisoned by an unstable intelligence contact. Burkhart would struggle with the repercussions of this episode for the remainder of his career, and eventually be obliged to accept full medical retirement from the CIA.

However, before retiring, Burkhart completed tours in Iraq and Africa. His time spent in the Green Zone almost immediately following the occupation of Baghdad, constitutes the majority of this enlightening book. Burkhart exposes the reader to the human element within the CIA, and we are introduced to a variety of characters, some who will seem familiar, and some who reveal the eccentricities we expect with this kind of occupation.

Follow Burkhart through the battlefields of Iraq, past the Iraqi Insurgency, and to his next assignment in Africa. Burkhart leaves no emotion unexpressed as he details his medical struggles with the horrific damage caused to his body from Toxic Exposure. Wracked by pain, Burkhart reaches the point where he must consider quality of life issues, and has to accept retirement as a necessary decision. Burkhart has a story to tell, and leaves no stone unturned during this turbulent time both in his life, and in our history.

Eric Burkhart

About The Author

Eric Burkhart was born in North Carolina in 1965, and raised in France by his mother while his father was serving in Vietnam. Eric’s parents retired to San Antonio, Texas in 1978, and Eric has considered himself a Texan since that time.

After completing college, Burkhart relocated to South Africa for a job in community planning and design. After returning to the United States in 1994, Eric started a career in federal service by becoming a Federal Agent. In 1999 he moved over to the CIA, which became his passion and focus in life. After being poisoned by while working in Kosovo in 2001, Burkhart was eventually obliged to medically retire, but not before extending his career to include tours in Iraq and Africa. Mukhabarat, Baby! is Burkhart’s first book.

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Brainstorm by Robert Wintner

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Brainstorm by Robert Wintner was such an interesting book to read.  I love the author’s sense of humor and his writing style.  I really enjoyed this book as well because it has medical things in it and that is always a great thing because that is the one field that I truly love.  I loved that this book wasn’t super long and yet it was long enough so you understand and that it didn’t feel rushed.  I loved learning what they went through and how they got through it all.  If you love reading true stories than I would recommend this book to you.  It is also good for people who are looking into more natural ways of healing your body and what not.  It was interesting learning what they did to beat cancer and what not so it would be good for people who are into the more natural ideas as well.

Brainstorm by Robert Wintner

About The Book

Brainstorm is a first-person narrative of incidents leading up to, through and after a cerebral aneurysm and hemorrhage in the immediate family. The action includes the dramatic process ongoing in trauma centers designed to process sudden occurrence of aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhage and morbidity. The American Medical Association estimates that 3% of all populations have aneurysm that may or may not leak—about 3½ million people in the U.S.

While the procedures and protocol for sudden onslaught are rote and fundamentally unchanged over the ages, hygienic and technological advances have reduced hazards. Death and debilitation statistics are still daunting, and Brainstorm factors a new component into the procedural mix, whereby a conscientious and healthy husband and wife seek participation in the process, to no avail.

Robert Wintner

About The Author

Robert Wintner lives and works on Maui with his wife Anita, seven cats and Cookie the dog, who came in emaciated at 14 pounds, unable to stand. Cookie at 60 pounds raises a ruckus on the beach or in the living room in her continuing drive to make the world a happier place. The entire family eats well, stays fit and enjoys good health under blue skies.

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Margaret Margaret

Avalon: a Heartwarming True Cat Story by Vanessa Morgan

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Avalon: a Heartwarming True Cat Story by Vanessa Morgan was such a good book to read.  As most of you know I am a total cat person so when the author contacted me about reviewing this book I knew I had to.  I can’t say no to books written about cats because they always make me laugh and I can imagine whatever is going on happening with my own cats.  Now that being said I am so glad that neither of my cats are as crazy as Avalon but I still couldn’t help but laugh at the things that he did because I could totally see some cat do everything he did and more.  I like the author couldn’t/wouldn’t get rid of my cat just because they were acting all sorts of crazy.  If you are an animal person or if you want to read a story that will leave you smiling than I would for sure recommend this book to you.

Avalon a Heartwarming True Cat Story

About The Book

Some cats need nine lives to make a difference. Avalon only needed one.

From Amazon bestselling author Vanessa Morgan, Avalon is the heartwarming and once-in-a-lifetime love story of a girl and her neurotic Turkish Van cat.

With humor, the author details how Avalon made other creatures cringe in distress whenever he was around, how he threw her dates out by means of special techniques, and how he rendered it almost impossible for her to leave the house. Avalon was so incorrigible that even her landlord ordered her to get rid of him. But beneath Avalon’s demonic boisterousness, Vanessa recognized her own flaws and insecurities, and she understood that abandoning Avalon would be the worst she could do to him. Thanks to her unswerving loyalty, Avalon transformed into a tender feline, and even landed a major role in a horror movie. In turn, Avalon made it his mission to be there for his human companion.

Avalon is a memoir for anyone who has ever been obsessively in love with a pet.

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About The Author

Vanessa Morgan is an author, screenwriter, and blogger. Two of her works, The Strangers Outside and A Good Man, have been turned into films. Her short film script Next to Her is currently in pre-production. When she’s not working on her latest book, you can find her reading, watching horror movies, digging through flea markets, or photographing felines for her blog Traveling Cats.

“Vanessa Morgan has the gift of pacing and spookiness” – Scott Nicholson, author of They Hunger and The Farm

“A startling new voice in horror” – Lucky McKee, director of May and The Woods

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Margaret Margaret

No Poverty Between The Sheets by Pauline Kiely

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No Poverty Between The Sheets by Pauline Kiely was an amazing book.  I read this entire book in one day because of the authors writing style and also because of the story.  I loved everything about this book and more than once I found myself laughing because of the how the story was told.  I have always wanted to go to Ireland so that fact that they where from Ireland made me love it even more.  The author has a way of writing that made me laugh which isn’t something that I usually do while I am reading books but she made me and I loved that.  I loved that this book is about real people and things that really happened.  I am a sucker for books that are true because I love learning about other people’s lives and what they went through during their lives. My favorite character I think would have to be Pauline’s dad because of how he acted the things he would do and say.   I also loved that they included really pictures of some of the people she talked about because I love looking at old photographs and it was great to be able to put a face to the people she talks about. I love true stories that I would for sure tell you check this one out. If you love funny books that I know will love this book as much as I loved it.

No Poverty Between the Sheets

About The Book

This book documents the strong ties that bind generations together. When the author poses the question to her Irish Granny, “If you were so poor why did you have ten children?” Says she, “To be certain, there was no poverty between the sheets!” This sassy saga of a large family that is half Irish and half French Canadian captures hilarious voices and comical antics of a vibrant family that is cloaked in love. A horse theme and song lyrics are neatly knitted throughout the layers of generations.

Pauline Kiely

About The Author

Pauline Kiely has been an avid student of Creative Writing her entire life. This author has consistently taken various courses and workshops offered at University of Toronto and Trent Universities. A year long memoir course with Susan Reynolds brought out this witty honest voice that shoots straight from the hip aiming for the heart.

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Margaret Margaret