Monday, 26 October 2020

Mailbox Monday & Life This Week - October 26th

 

 

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Life This Week is a meme created by Denyse Whelan Blogs where bloggers share snaps of what is currently happening in their lives.

Happy Monday!

My daughter passed her final Uni assessment which was the last assessment of her Uni degree for Primary School Teaching. She placed her name with three local schools as a casual and immediately received calls from all three schools. She has been working at two different schools now over the past two weeks and enjoying it and has been booked up for the rest of the school year. Her graduation ceremony will be some time next year.

I've almost finished the throw for my granddaughter. It is hard to see in the photo but every square has an embossed picture. Two more to knit then I need to sew it all together.


Another birthday celebration. Everyone gets six candles, that's my limit 😀.


Who loved Bubble-O Bills as a child? I saw these gorgeous, nostalgic pyjamas at Peter Alexandra. 


Books received over the last two weeks:


 From the publisher:

The Bro Code by Elizabeth A. Seibert

A humorous Young Adult novel about a boy who breaks the Bro Code by dating his best friends sister.

You can read my review HERE

 

 

 

Daylight by David Baldacci

This is the third book in the Atlee Pine series. I'm really enjoying this series as Atlee , in between working on current cases, searches for the truth behind her sister's disappearance.

FBI Agent Atlee Pine's search for her sister Mercy clashes with military investigator John Puller's high-stakes case, leading them both deep into a global conspiracy -- from which neither of them will escape unscathed.
 

Together by Christmas by Karen Swan

Karen Swan writes two books a year and they are both must reads for me. I especially love her Christmas book. She combines romance and suspense in just the right amounts

Lee and her son Jasper have a tight circle of friends and she is looking forward to Christmas. When she finds a book, with a desperate message inside, left in her bicycle basket she can't help but track down its author. This an instant connection it seems they might have a future together - but will Lee's secret means she ends up alone.


At Night's End by Nir Baram

Yonatan staying in Mexico City is reluctant to return to his wife and infant son back home in Tel Aviv. Convinced that his closest friend, Yoel, is going to die, he struggles to preserve his sanity. But why is he so convinced? Does the answer lie in their childhood in Jerusalem, when it was them against the world?

 

 

Received for book club:

The Book Collectors of Daraya by Delphine Minoui

Day in, day out, bombs fall on Daraya, a town outside Damascus, the very spot where the Syrian Civil War began. In the midst of chaos and bloodshed, a group searching for survivors stumbles on a cache of books. They collect the books, then look for more. In a week they have six thousand volumes. In a month, fifteen thousand. A sanctuary is born: a library where the people of Daraya can explore beyond the blockade.

Long a site of peaceful resistance to the Assad regimes, Daraya was under siege for four years. No one entered or left, and international aid was blocked.

In 2015, French-Iranian journalist Delphine Minoui saw a post on Facebook about this secret library and tracked down one of its founders, twenty-three-year-old Ahmad, an aspiring photojournalist himself. Over WhatsApp and Facebook, Minoui learned about the young men who gathered in the library.

My Purchase:

Return to Stringybark Creek by Karly Lane

This is the third book in the Callahans of Stringybark Creek trilogy.

I fell in love with the Callahan family in book 1 and I'm excited to find out what's in store for Hadley. I know I'm going to be sad to see the end of this trilogy.


 
 


 

  I would love to hear what books you received in the mail recently! 

 

 

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Author Interview: Fiona Higgins

 

 

Today I would like to welcome author Fiona Higgins to The Burgeoning Bookshelf.

Hello Fiona, thank you for joining us. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how many books you have had published?
Thanks for having me, Veronica!
 
Well, let's see... I work in the Australian not-for-profit sector and live in Sydney with my stoic husband, three rambunctious children and two aloof goldfish. I’m also the author of a memoir (Love in the Age of Drought, Pan Macmillan) and four fiction titles: The Mothers’ Group, Wife on the Run, Fearless – published by Allen & Unwin – and my latest, An Unusual Boy, published by Boldwood Books.

 

What is a typical writing day for you?

 
I wish I could say, ‘Oh, I rise at 4.30am and meditate for ten minutes before consuming a perfect macchiato, which helps me deliver a thousand words on the page by noon.’ Sadly, as a mother of three tweens-and-teens, and with an almost full-time job in philanthropy, I’m rather more consumed with daily lunchboxes, school sport and work deadlines!

In short, there’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ writing day for me. I tend to squeeze the words out around my other activities, whenever and wherever that’s possible (sometimes in the Woollies car park – true story!)


Your books are primarily about relationships, parenting and motherhood; What inspired you to write about these topics?

 

(See above: tweens, teens, lunchboxes.) In all seriousness, relationships, parenting and motherhood are topics which are sometimes dismissed as ‘domestic’ or peripheral to the unfolding of human history – but they’re fundamental to our existence. Everyone has a mother and a father. Most of us define ourselves predominantly in terms of our key relationships (or estrangements). Parenting is a human experience which can deliver unmatched moments of beauty, joy and sadness. All of these topics are endlessly fascinating to me - and ripe for writerly attention.
 
Your latest book An Unusual Boy was released on 20th October; How did you come up with the idea for An Unusual Boy?
 
I have a habit of drawing inspiration from real life and weaving it into my fiction (I wrote The Mother's Group, for example, when I was caring for my very sleepless second child) so An Unusual Boy is inspired partly from lived experience. Over the years, I've encountered many children - and adults, for that matter - who are 'different' in some way (some with diagnosis, others without). It's been simultaneously painful and inspiring to witness their joys and struggles as they navigate the often-unforgiving world around them, and that experience is very much reflected in the novel.

 
 What would you like your readers to get out of An Unusual Boy and how do you think it will resonate with them?


In terms of resonance, I think most parents – especially mothers – will relate to the character of Julia, who is bearing a significant ‘mental load’. She’s running a household of five, juggling a career as a music therapist, attempting to be available and supportive for her three children – one of whom is very ‘different’ – all the while trying to keep her marriage intact with Andy, who travels a lot for his work.

While Julia does a terrific job generally, she’s weary – and she’s deeply worried about Jackson. But she just keeps going, despite being under-resourced – and when things gets tough and slightly out-of-control, she calls on inner strengths she didn’t even know she had. The character of Julia bears witness to the incredible resilience of parents under pressure; and not just parents - but carers, grandparents and teachers who exhibit incredible levels of patience and love.

While everyone will have their own experience of the book, ideally I’d like to see readers emerge from this story with a renewed commitment to inclusion. One early reviewer of the work sums it up nicely, I think:
 
If this is a cautionary tale about the dangers to children of unsupervised internet access, then it is equally an admonition to avoid xenophobia of any sort: race, colour, creed or simply a different way of thinking, an alternate perception of the world. The common compulsion to “label” is countered by Julia: “Sometimes labels just put special kids in boxes. Sometimes they just give adults an excuse to stop thinking.” - Marianne (Goodreads)


What were the key challenges you faced when writing An Unusual Boy?


Time. Like Julia, in this hyper-busy time of life, I find myself very time-poor. Consequently it took me almost three years to write this book – yet readers tell me it takes them less than a day to read it. (I almost need therapy when they say that!)


Just for fun…..either or?


Tea or Coffee - Coffee (and bucketloads of it) 
Summer or Winter – Winter (blankies, open fires, blocks of chocolate, good books) 
Dog or Cat – both (seriously, I want one of each… but my husband is unconvinced) 
City or Country – Country (I miss the farm on which we lived a long time ago) 
Morning person or Night owl – morning person (it’s deeply irritating, my teenager tells me) 
Paperback or eBook – paperback (very 1970s, I know) 
Ninjas or Pirates – Ninjas (flexibility, agility and cool weaponry)


Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with us on The Burgeoning Bookshelf.

 

You can connect with Fiona at the following sites:

Website: www.fionahiggins.com.au

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fionahigginsauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fionahigginsauthor/

An Unusual Boy is out now and should be hitting bookshop shelves all over the country. 
Click on the cover to read my review

 
About the book

Julia Curtis is a busy mother of three, with a husband often away for work, an ever-present mother-in-law, a career, and a house that needs doing up. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Milla, has fallen in love for the first time, and her youngest, Ruby, is a nine-year-old fashionista who can out-negotiate anyone.

But Julia’s eleven-year-old son, Jackson, is different. Different to his sisters. Different to his classmates. In fact, Jackson is different from everyone. And bringing up a child who is different isn’t always easy.

Then, one Monday morning, Jackson follows his new friend Digby into the school toilets. What happens inside changes everything; not only for Jackson, but for every member of his family. Julia faces the fight of her life to save her unusual boy from a world set up for ‘normal’.

An extraordinary boy. The mother who loves him. The fight of their lives.

Friday, 23 October 2020

Book Review: Real Tigers by Mick Herron

Real Tigers
by
Mick Herron
 
 

 
Publisher: John Murray
Publication date: 11th February 2016
Series: Slough House #3 
Genre: Crime / Spy Thriller
Pages: 369
Format read: Kindle eBook
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

About the book

London's Slough House is where disgraced MI5 operatives are reassigned to spend the rest of their careers pushing paper. But when one of these fallen spies is kidnapped by a former soldier bent on revenge, the agents must breach the defenses of Regent's Park to steal valuable intel in exchange for their comrade's safety.

The kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg, however, as the agents uncover a larger web of intrigue that involves not only a group of private mercenaries, but also the highest authorities in the Security Service.

After years spent as the lowest on the totem pole, the spies suddenly find themselves caught in the midst of a conspiracy that threatens not only the future of Slough House, but of MI5 itself . . .

My review

I really enjoy Mick Herron's writing! It is witty, sharp and full of snark.

Real Tigers has the "slow horses" team back again in another amusing, tension filled episode in the Slough House series. They are a bunch of MI5 failures who spend their days scanning data looking for anomalies and dreaming of the break that will see them back at Regent's Park.

Those at the top, pulling the strings at Regent's Park, are constantly trying to back-stab each other, continually worried about their place in the hierarchy.

River once again acts before thinking, as he goes out on his own to solve a case. And Regent's Park are at the centre of a botched operation, calling in the slow horses to be the fall guys.

Sometimes I feel Herron doesn't like his characters. He puts them through trying situations and they never seem to get anything right. They constantly bicker and don't even like each other. However, all this suffering only makes them more endearing but don't get too attached as Herron doesn't baulk at killing them off.

Prepare for a wild ride with this story of corruption, double crossing, secrets and murder.

5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Photo: Goodreads

Mick Herron was born in Newcastle and has a degree in English from Balliol College, Oxford. He is the author of six books in the Slough House series as well as a mystery series set in Oxford featuring Sarah Tucker and/or P.I. Zoë Boehm. He now lives in Oxford and works in London.
 

 

 




 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Book Review: An Unusual Boy by Fiona Higgins

 An Unusual Boy
by
Fiona Higgins

An extraordinary boy. The mother who loves him. The fight of their lives.
 

 


Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication date: 20th October 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 391
RRP: $5.69AUD (Kindle)
Format read: eBook
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley

About the book

Julia Curtis is a busy mother of three, with a husband often away for work, an ever-present mother-in-law, a career, and a house that needs doing up. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Milla, has fallen in love for the first time, and her youngest, Ruby, is a nine-year-old fashionista who can out-negotiate anyone.

But Julia’s eleven-year-old son, Jackson, is different. Different to his sisters. Different to his classmates. In fact, Jackson is different from everyone. And bringing up a child who is different isn’t always easy.

Then, one Monday morning, Jackson follows his new friend Digby into the school toilets. What happens inside changes everything; not only for Jackson, but for every member of his family. Julia faces the fight of her life to save her unusual boy from a world set up for ‘normal’.
 
My review
 

An Unusual Boy is a heart-wrenching  story about a family struggling to keep from falling apart.

Julia is trying to run her family of five single handedly since her husband is overseas with work a large amount of the time. This can be stressful on a marriage at the best of times without the added burden of a child with a neurological problem.

I have to admit I was scared to read this book but I was also scared not to read it. We have our own unusual boy and although he is only four I worry about the life that is ahead of him. I could totally empathise with the Curtis family and the long road they have already travelled to get Jackson to the age of eleven. It was easy for me to imagine the years of doctors appointments, tests of all sorts and endless speech therapy.

So many reviewers stated that they fell in love with Jackson however in reality how many people can even tolerate someone else's child running circles around the table at a cafe or hitting out because the words won't come.

"Other parents have been less forgiving, including at Jackson's old school where we were progressively shunned by parents variously irritated or disturbed by Jackson's unusual behavior."

I read this book in one day and I cried from beginning to end. The tears are welling as I write this review.

An Unusual Boy is a book everyone should read. Mothers will resonate with Julia and her busy life, her constant tired state and always wondering if she is getting it right. 

Mother-in-Laws often get a bad rap in books so I was pleased to see Pamela step in and help out and for Julia to see her MIL in a new light. 

I loved Miss Marion and I think it takes someone very special to see something more to a child than their hyperactivity and to take it and turn it into a skill. That's the magic that some teachers possess! Every child has something special inside them.

An Unusual Boy is a story about acceptance, inclusion, diversity and not judging.

5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Fiona Higgins is the Australian writer of several bestselling contemporary novels including The Mothers' Group and Wife on the Run. Her work has been widely reviewed, translated internationally, and described as 'page-turning domestic melodrama for the social media age.' She lives with her family in Sydney.


Challenges entered: Aussie author challenge  #AussieAuthor20
                                 Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2020

 

 

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Book Review: Bluebird by Malcolm Knox

Bluebird
by
Malcolm Knox 

 

 
Publisher: Allen & Unwin 
Publication date: 1st September 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 496
RRP: $ 32.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 
About the book
 
A house perched impossibly on a cliff overlooking the stunning, iconic Bluebird Beach. Prime real estate, yet somehow not real estate at all, The Lodge is, like those who live in it, falling apart.

Gordon Grimes has become the accidental keeper of this last relic of an endangered world. He lives in The Lodge with his wife Kelly who is trying to leave him, their son Ben who will do anything to save him, his goddaughter Lou who is hiding from her own troubles, and Leonie, the family matriarch who has trapped them here for their own good.

But Gordon has no money and is running out of time to conserve his homeland. His love for this way of life will drive him, and everyone around him, to increasingly desperate risks. In the end, what will it cost them to hang onto their past?

Acclaimed writer Malcolm Knox has written a classic Australian novel about the myths that come to define families and communities, and the lies that uphold them. It's about a certain kind of Australia that we all recognise, and a certain kind of Australian whose currency is running out. Change is coming to Bluebird, whether they like it or not. And the secrets they've been keeping and the lies they've been telling can't save them now.

Savage, funny, revelatory and brilliant, Bluebird exposes the hollowness of the stories told to glorify a dying culture and shows how those who seek to preserve these myths end up being crushed by them.
 

My Review

Quintessentially Australian, Bluebird is a Sydney beachside suburb filled with born and bred locals who live in a haze of nostalgia remembering Bluebird before the developers set in.

Gordon Grimes is part owner of The Lodge, as it is affectionately called by locals. He has made it his life ambition to save The Lodge from developers even though it sits precariously on the edge of a cliff and is in desperate need of renovation.  The Lodge is always filled with a cast of hangers on, old surfers that spend their mornings chasing waves, their evenings reminiscing about life and their nights sleeping in the spare room of their widowed mothers' house.

Bluebird is a place where talk is overrated and time is expected to heal all wounds. Secrets swirl ominously around its inhabitants and there are plenty of old scores to settle, dodgy dealings, secret development plans and mates looking after mates.

Delivered through multiple POV from a diverse cast of characters, all linked to The Lodge in one way or another, there is never a dull moment in this irreverent, and at times politically incorrect, satire.

A story of love, loss, family, community and belonging; Bluebird is sardonic, perceptive, outrageously funny and deeply moving.

4/5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Photo: Goodreads
 Malcolm Knox was born in 1966. His award-winning novels and non-fiction titles have been published in Australia and internationally. A journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald since 1994, he has won three Walkley Awards for investigative journalism, magazine feature writing and sports journalism, as well as a Human Rights Commission Award. He lives in Sydney with his family.



Challenges entered: Aussie author challenge  #AussieAuthor20

 

 

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Book Review: The Night Letters by Denise Leith

The Night Letters
by
Denise Leith

 

Publisher: Ventura Press 
Publication date: 7th October 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 364
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
 
About the book
 
For five years, Australian doctor Sofia Raso has lived in Kabul’s vibrant Shaahir Square, working with Dr Jabril Aziz to support the local women. She knows that living peacefully in Kabul requires following two simple rules: keep a low profile; and keep out of local affairs.

Yet when threatening night letters from the Taliban taunt the town, and young boys disappear from Jamal Mina, Kabul’s largest slum, Sofia can no longer remain silent. While the square is encased by fear, an elegant former warlord proves an unlikely ally, and a former lover re-emerges with a warning. As the search for the boys intensifies, and Sofia feels herself being drawn back into a love affair she thought had ended, it soon becomes clear that answers will bring a heavy price.

Gripping and evocative, The Night Letters takes you to the heart of Kabul in a story of secrets, friendship and love in all its imperfect guises.
 
My review
 
Australian Doctor Sofia Raso is accepted to work in a medical practice in Kabul. After 5 years working there she is much loved by the local Afghanistani people and she now calls Afghanistan home. Sofia has come to accept many of the cultural differences but when young boys start disappearing from Kabul’s slums, to use a sex slaves to the rich and powerful, she knows she can no longer keep silent.

The Night Letters is told through a few main characters all residing or working in Shaahir Square; Omar, an ageing shop owner, who has had many wives but still laments over losing the love of his life. Iman, a young girl who works in the doctors’ office, is the face of change for women in Afghanistan. Sofia Raso, the Australian doctor who has worked her way into the hearts of the people of Shaahir Square. Dr Jabril Aziz, born in Afghanistan but educated in America resulting in a blending of cultural ideas. Behnaz, the wife of Chief of Police, Wasim, is old enough to remember a time before Taliban rule and grieves for how much they have lost. Daniel Abiteboul, a UN aide worker is introduced as a love interest for Sofia but their romance is very much understated.

Through these main characters, and a few other minor characters, Denis Leith gives the reader a broad spectrum of the citizens of Afghanistan. We get to see their thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams and also their despair as they live in fear of reprisal from the Taliban.

There are two mysteries running through the story. One being the night letters being left at the door of both Dr Jabril and Chief Wasim’s house advising them to warn their friend to stop or they will be in danger, and also the mystery of the young boys’ disappearing and who was behind this.

There is quite a lot of humour surrounding the night letters and all the gossip it creates in the square with everyone thinking they are “the friend” that needs to stop doing whatever. This humour really lightens up what could otherwise be a sad story.

I loved the descriptions of the square and the shops, the shop owners and their interactions which brought the whole scene alive whilst I was reading.

I don’t know much about Afghanistan however the author’s fondness for this country and its people shone through in her words.

Filled with strong women The Night Letters is a poignant story with characters that will touch your heart and leave you wanting more.

4/5   ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author 



Denise Leith is a Sydney author, and former lecturer of International Relations, and Middle East politics at Macquarie University. Her debut novel, What Remains (Allen & Unwin, 2012) was shortlisted for the Asher Award and the Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Awards - Christina Stead Award. She has also published two non-fiction works, The Politics of Power (University of Hawaii Press, 2002), and Bearing Witness: the Lives of War Correspondents and Photojournalists (Random House Australia, 2004).

Denise’s work has involved extensive travel, including time in an AIDS hospital in South Africa, in a refugee camp in the Middle East and in an isolated village in the mountains of West Papua. She currently resides on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.  

 
Challenges entered: Aussie author challenge  #AussieAuthor20
                                 Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2020
 
 

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Author Interview: Question & Answer with Teal Swan

 

Photo credit: Goodreads

 

Today I would like to welcome author Teal Swan to The Burgeoning Bookshelf.

TEAL SWAN is an international speaker, best-selling author, and a survivor of severe childhood abuse. Today, having integrated her own harrowing life experience, she inspires millions of people around the world towards truth, authenticity, freedom, and joy. Swan is also the author of six internationally published books, the creator of hundreds of frequency paintings, as well as the popular "Ask Teal" YouTube series, which currently has more than 80 million views and almost one million subscribers. She is also the owner and founder of Teal Eye LLC, a company focused on bringing self-empowerment and healing back to the individual. In conjunction with her vision of creating positive world change, Swan founded HEADWAY FOUNDATION, a nonprofit company that enables ideas, goals and ventures that are aimed at positive world change by ending suffering. In the years to come, Headway Foundation will encompass programs, centers, scholarships and products that better our world; such as in the areas of justice reform, education, environmental endeavors, end of life care, health, parenting, integrative medicine and food industry reform. Headway Foundation seeks to create the changes within our society that will create a better life for all beings who call this earth their home.

Tell us what your new book, Hunger of the Pine, is all about?

Hunger of the Pine is my first fiction novel, and is a poetic novel about life on the streets in America. The book centers on Aria Abbott, a teen in the foster care system. She has been placed in a Christian foster home where the father is molesting her and her delinquency problems have turned her into the 'scapegoat' of the family. When the tension between her and her foster parents rises, she runs away and begins her life on the streets of Chicago. She soon meets Taylor, another homeless youth who is dreaming of fame, fortune and the sunshine of L.A. Together they board a Greyhound bus and never look back. In this bright new world, Aria will discover a whole community of people living in the shadows, in the margins of society. As Taylor follows his dreams, Aria follows her heart. But she will discover that it isn’t always clear who you can trust, that strangers can be kind, or treacherous, or sometimes as familiar as your own reflection, if you’re willing to look hard enough.

 

What was your inspiration behind the writing the book?

As far as I know, no one has ever written a poetic novel about life on the streets of America. I wanted to highlight homelessness through descriptive writing and used a main character as a lens through which to see a snapshot. I also wrote it because I feel that we as a society -- especially in America -- need to look in the mirror at homelessness and see that it is a problem caused by many systemic failures within society. For this reason, there are many 'reasons' someone ends up on the street. And we aren't really solving those reasons. People are complex, and it we need to see them with more compassion and understanding. And, it is with this 'understanding,' rather than labeling people good or bad, that we may see the root cause of behaviors and accurately resolve that root cause.

 

You have written a lot of non-fiction books. Why did you decide to take the leap into fiction?

I want people to feel the raw reality of a side of life that they might never have experienced themselves by using descriptive writing to emotionally put them there. I am a descriptive writer first and foremost. My other books are informational, which I love, but they were not an opportunity to exercise my skills as a writer. Descriptive writing is a whole other beast than writing non-fiction that is engaging yet informative. It is to convey an emotion or sensory experience with words instead of to convey a concept for the purpose of comprehension. I want people to love the writing in and of itself, and remember it for the writing, and for their experience learning about homelessness as well as.

 

Why did you decide to tackle the topic of youth homelessness?

A Great many people don't relate to homelessness or the issues surrounding it. But a great many do and those people are drowning in the feeling that they were just born to suffer. I wanted to show the reality of homelessness and make it relatable to those who don't understand it. But I also wanted to insert some answers and hope into this novel for those who do. To be 'real' it had to be a mixture of "this is too much to surmount" and "you can surmount it". It needed to be tragic but also inspirational. And people who relate to these characters, especially the main character will not have thought of themselves as a protagonist.. as significant...As someone capable of love and triumph and of finding belonging and love... until now!

 

What do you think society can do to help the homeless population? 

The issue of homelessness is not an easy one because so many systemic factors within society contribute to it. This means there is not a one size fits all solution. For example, the failures within parenting and beyond that the foster care system cause youth homelessness.

Society's complete lack of care for the mentally ill and the fact that there is literally nowhere for them to get help if they don't have money, contributes to homelessness in the mentally ill and veterans. The fact that a person on social security is not getting enough money to afford both food and housing and often medications causes senior citizen homelessness. The lack of prioritization within society when it comes to understanding and finding solutions for the needs of those who are in need, create this multivariable factor scenario where suddenly a great many people are on the street. It's time to see the broken-ness of our system and stop thinking things are being taken care of by 'someone else' when they are not.

 

What do you hope readers take away from A Hunger of Pine and Aria’s story?

I want people to feel the raw reality of a side of life that they might never have experienced themselves by using descriptive writing to emotionally put them there. Also, a better and more empathetic view of the homeless population. We tend to be so uncomfortable with homelessness that we compartmentalize it and tell ourselves that we could never be in the same position... That homeless are like a 'breed' of people or another species unto themselves. Understanding this why behind homelessness actually makes it impossible for us to keep this 'separation' alive. To keep them marginalized. When we stop seeing people as "other", when we relate to them, we suddenly have the motive to do something because we identify with them instead. I wrote this book to create this identification, understanding and relatability so as to close this perceptual gap.

 

Thank you for stopping by and spending some time with us on The Burgeoning Bookshelf.

Hunger of the Pine by Teal Swan was published on 13th October 2020 by  Watkins Publishing


 

Blurb:

Aria Abbott has never had a home. Drifting through the foster system for most of her life, she finally finds herself in a situation so unbearable that she has no choice but to run away. Sleeping on the streets pushes Aria beyond any suffering she has felt before; the only thing worse than seeing no escape is the knowledge that no one in the world cares enough to try and find her.

Enter Taylor, a homeless young man with a charismatic smile and a dream of fame, fortune, and the sunshine of LA. Swept up in his energy, Aria and Taylor board a greyhound bus and never look back.

In this bright new world, Aria will discover a whole community of people living in the shadows, in the margins of society. As Taylor follows his dreams, Aria follows her heart. But she will discover that it isn’t always clear who you can trust, that strangers can be kind, or treacherous, or sometimes as familiar as your own reflection, if you’re willing to look hard enough.

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