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Sunday, November 14, 2021

5 Star Review for Neill McKee's "Kid on the Go"

 We are so excited to be part of:

Neill McKee’s






Kid on the Go! Memoir of My Childhood and Youth




Book Summary

In this new book, McKee takes readers on a journey through his childhood, adolescence, and teenage years from the mid-40s to the mid-60s, in the small, then industrially-polluted town of Elmira, Ontario, Canada—one of the centers of production for Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. 

McKee’s vivid descriptions, dialog, and self-drawn illustrations are a study of how a young boy learned to play and work, fish and hunt, avoid dangers, cope with death, deal with bullies, and to build or restore “escape” vehicles. You may laugh out loud as the author recalls his exploding hormones, attraction to girls, rebellion against authority, and survival of 1960s’ “rock & roll” culture—emerging on the other side as a youth leader. 

After leaving Elmira, McKee describes his intensely searching university years, trying to decide which career path to follow. Except for a revealing postscript, the story ends when he accepts a volunteer teaching position on the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia.

Purchase your copy now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Make sure to add it to your GoodReads reading list too.

About the Author

Neill McKee is a creative nonfiction writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has written and published three books in this genre since 2015. His latest work is Kid on the Go! Memoir of My Childhood and Youth, a humorous and poignant account of his growing up in an industrially-polluted town in Ontario, Canada, and his university years. This memoir is a stand-alone prequel to his first travel memoir Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah (2019) on his first overseas adventures in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo), where he served as a Canadian volunteer teacher and program administrator during 1968-70 and 1973-74. This book won the 2019 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Biography–(other than a New Mexico/Arizona subject) and a Bronze Medal in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards (Ippy Awards). 

In late 2020, McKee also released Guns and Gods in my Genes: A 15,000-mile North American search through four centuries of history, to the Mayflower—an entertaining account of how he searched for his roots in Canada and the US, in which he employs vivid descriptions, dialog, poetic prose, analytical opinion, photos and illustrations. In this work, McKee slowly uncovers his American grandmother’s lineage—ancestors who were involved in almost every major war on North American soil and others, including a passenger on the Mayflower, as well as heroes, villains, rascals, and ordinary godly folk. Through his search, McKee exposes myths and uncovers facts about the true founding of America.

McKee, who holds a B.A. Degree from the University of Calgary and a Masters in Communication from Florida State University, lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Russia and traveled to over 80 countries on assignments during his 45-year international career. He became an expert in communication and directed/produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, and wrote a many articles and books in the field. McKee is now busy writing another travel memoir on his career. He does readings/book signings and presentations with or without photos. He prefers lively interactive sessions.

Follow the author online at:

Author’s website:

Kid on the Go! book page:

Kid on the go! buy page:

Author's digital library:





--- Upcoming Blog Tour Calendar

November 15th @ Katherine Itacy's Blog

Stop by Katherine and read her review of Neill McKee's memoir Kid on the Go!. You can also enter to win a copy of the book for yourself too!

November 17th @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog

Join Beverley as she features a guest post by author Neill McKee on issues on writing about your hometown.

November 20th @ Sweet Silly Sara

Visit Sara's blog and read her review of Neill McKee's memoir Kid on the Go!.

November 24th @ Beverley A. Baird's Blog

Visit Beverley's blog again and read her review of Neill McKee's memoir Kid on the Go!.

November 24th @ C. Lee McKenzie

Join C. Lee McKenzie today as she interviews author Neill McKee, author of the memoir Kid on the Go!.

November 26th @ StoreyBook Reviews

Visit Leslie's blog where she shares an excerpt of Neill McKee's memoir Kid on the Go!.

November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog

Join Anthony as he interviews Neill McKee, author of the memoir Kid on the Go!.

December 2nd @ The Mommies Reviews

Visit Glenda's blog today where she reviews Neill McKee's memoir Kid on the Go!.

December 4th @ Mother Daughter Bookclub

Join Cindy today when she reviews Neill McKee's memoir Kid on the Go!.

December 5th @ Fiona Ingram's Blog

Join Fiona today when she shares Neill McKee's guest post on writing a memoir in a youth's voice but with present-day adult reflections.

December 7th @ CK Sorens' Blog

Make sure to stop by CK Sorens' blog today and check out a feature of Neill McKee's memoir and enter to win a copy of the book too.

December 8th @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she shares her thoughts about Neill McKee's memoir Kid on the Go!. You'll also have the chance to win a copy for yourself too.

December 10th @ Bookshine and Readbows

Join Steph as she shares Neill McKee's guest post about how mentors changed his life.

December 10th @ Jill Sheets' Blog

Join Jill as she interviews Neill McKee and features his memoir Kid on the Go!.

December 12th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog

Visit Anthony's blog again as he shares his thoughts on Neill McKee's newest memoir Kid on the Go!.


And what you've all been waiting for - 5 Star Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto:

Kid on the Go! is an honest and sometimes humorous story to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The story is engaging and contains just the right amount of detail. This is a thought-provoking coming of age story that drew me right in. McKee is an expert story-teller with a great sense of humor. This is a work of creative nonfiction and a stand-alone prequel to McKee's award-winning "Finding Myself in Borneo" which tells of his days in Malaysia as a volunteer teacher (1968-70) and field staff (1973-74).

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Book Review of Elizabeth Kirschner's "Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts" (- Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto)

I am so excited to be part of  Elizabeth Kirschner’s






Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts


This tour began November 1st - thank you WOW! Women on Writing for the invitation to take part!



Book Summary

Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts is a raw and intense collection of intricately layered short stories that touch on the recurring themes of sexual violence, domestic abuse, mental illness, and addiction.

The characters are often cruel and inhumane with parents speaking in riddles to their abused children. The narrators are all women, usually unnamed, who have a lost, dissociated quality to them, as the details of their lives seem to fray.

As the stories develop, some of these narrators find love and normalcy, though not always happily. Violence pulses steadily throughout the collection, but it is the author's hope that the stories not only reveal the breadth and power of her poetics, but also give voice to the disturbed, the dispossessed and the lowly in an elegant, lyrical form.

Purchase your copy now on and Barnes and Noble. Also make sure you add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author, Elizabeth Kirschner

Elizabeth Kirschner is the author of Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts. It was brought out by Atmosphere Press in June, 2021.

Kirschner has published five volumes of poetry, most recently, My Life as a Doll, Autumn House Press, 2008, and Surrender to Light, Cherry Grove Editions, 2009. The former was nominated for the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Patterson Book Prize and named Kirschner as the Literary Arts Fellow in the state of Maine, 2010.

Her memoir, Walking the Bones was published by The Piscataqua Press, February, 2015. It was the winner of the North Street Book Prize for best work of nonfiction by an Independent author.

Kirschner has been writing and teaching multi-genres across four decades. She served as faculty in Fairfield University’s low-residence MFA in Creative Writing Program and has also taught at Boston College and Carnegie-Mellon University.

She has collaborated with many classical composers and this work is featured on numerous CD’s, including The Dichterliebe in Four Seasons, Schumann/Kirschner.

She currently serves as a writing mentor and manuscript consultant and teaches various workshops in and around her community in Kittery Point, ME.

Stay in touch with Elizabeth by visiting her website or by following her on GoodReads.

--- Upcoming Blog Tour Calendar

TODAY @ Bring on Lemons

Stop by Crystal's blog today and read her insights into Elizabeth Kirschner's book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.

November 9th @ Mindy McGinnis' Blog

Join Mindy as she shares author Elizabeth Kirschner's guest post about how one’s thematic concerns or obsessions are presented, not stated.

November 10th @ Madeline Sharples' Blog

Join Madeline as she features author Elizabeth Kirschner's guest post about the invention and supremacy of character.

November 11th @ The Frugalista Mom

Join Rozelyn as she reviews Elizabeth Kirschner's book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts. You can also enter to win a copy of the book for yourself.

November 15th @ Memoir Writer's Journey

Kathy Pooler shares author Elizabeth Kirschner's guest post about how the short story evolves.

November 19th @ CK Sorens' Blog

Join Carrie as she shares Elizabeth Kirschner's guest post about the mind behind the story, it's circular as opposed to linear nature.

November 21st @ Word Magic

Join Fiona as she features a guest post by Elizabeth Kirschner about her obsession with language.

November 25th @ The Good Book Nook

Visit Polly's Instagram page where she reviews Elizabeth Kirschner's book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.

November 27th @ Lisa Haselton's Book Reviews and Interviews

Jon Lisa as she interviews author Elizabeth Kirschner, author of the book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.

November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog

Join Anthony as he reviews author Elizbeth Kirschner's book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.

December 1st @ McFly Book Bliss

Join Marisa as she features author Elizabeth Kirschner and an excerpt from her book Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts.

5 Star Book Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts is a lovely collection of intimate stories. I was uncomfortable reading each short story - but in a way that made me more aware as a human. I find it interesting to learn more about other people, and each story in this collection brought it's own pain and it's own story giving a voice to those who aren't always able to speak up for themselves. Kirschner's ability to draw me into the world of each character speaks to her ability as an author.

Because the Sky is a Thousand Soft Hurts is very well done. I comment Kirschner on her writing ability and her bravery in sharing such uncomfortable stories in a beautiful way!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Book Review of Pregruncy: AN ELITE RUNNER’S JOURNEY TRAINING THROUGH PREGNANCY (Review by Crystal J. Casvaant-Otto; book by Natasha LaBeaud Anzures (Author), Marco Anzures (Author)

I was recently contacted by Natasha LaBeaud Anzures, Ph.D. regarding her new book  PregRUNcy ; As a runner and mother I thought it would be an interesting read. Thank you to Natasha for providing me a copy to review.

Book Blurb:

I decided to write Pregruncy as soon as I found out that I was pregnant. Like many others, I have always been fascinated with the notion of exercise during pregnancy, and what the entire pregnancy experience would be like. Years before I ever became pregnant, I would read any articles that came my way about the topic. I was never the person who said that they were going to have a family, or became starry-eyed when thinking about cradling my stomach during the third trimester. No, I have always been more curious about the process of pregnancy. Curious about the stages of growth and how different people cope with the cards that they are dealt. But, I noticed that there were few resources available for the elite runner trying to navigate the world of training during pregnancy. There were morsels of details deep in Instagram posts, but there was no consistent stream of information available that showed what each day of training looked like, and that was what I was on a quest to share.

My husband, who is also my coach, and I decided that I would use my own personal experiences to help others navigate pregnancy. While I understand that this is a very small n-value (n=1) with just me, I also knew that I had not found a resource that chronicled each day of training and the pregnancy experience. I kept thinking about how helpful it would be to know what the whole journey looked like for someone, as opposed to snippets along the way. I also know that my experiences with pregnancy are my own and may not match someone else’s. I wanted to see what was possible during pregnancy. I had heard so many notions about what a woman can and can’t do while they are baking a baby for over nine months, and most of the guidance errs on the ‘can’t’ side without much evidence supporting it.

Marco and I decided that he would also keep his own notes during this process so that we could have two perspectives. He never read my notes during the pregnancy, and I never read his. The notes were combined later so that the “coach’s notes” could be sprinkled in throughout.

What we learned is that the human body can do some amazing things and withstand an incredible amount of pain. We also learned that the healthcare system in the United States has a long way to go in terms of care for pregnant women.

Book Review by Crystal J. Casvant-Otto: 

This book was interesting. I learned I am definitely not an 'Elite Runner' which was a new term for me. and for anyone curious about it, I found this article to be quite helpful: Three Difference Between Elite Runners and Average Runners from the Panther Sports Medicine Blog.  As an average runner (truthfully more of a below average runner); I found PregRUNcy to be fascinating. I'm the mother of 6 who runs a few days a week to maintain her sanity. Running is my happy place and I find that it's easier to be patient when I take a half hour a day to do something for myself. Nathasha LaBeaud Anzuers, Ph.D is very different and running definitely is a passion for her. Running is my side gig and it's her primary gig so I enjoyed viewing things from a completely new and different perspective. Thank you to Nathasha and Marco for sharing your journey with readers. No two pregnancies are alike, but it's fun learning about someone else's experiences! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Best Gift Ever! A 5 Star Review for "Rise, A Girl's Struggle For More" by Diann Floyd Boehm. Review by Crystal J. Casavant Otto

 5 Star Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

At one point late in the book "Rise", Ruby tells her mama: "Momma, this is the best gift ever, having your approval, I will make you proud, I promise." Before I got to the word approval, tears had welled up into my eyes. This book was the best gift ever for me as a reader! I never had a real grandmother and would often 'adopt' the older ladies in the neighborhood or church and fill that void in my life. Yes, it was a wonderful substitution, but after reading "Rise" I feel like Diann Floyd Boehm through her wonderful character Ruby gave me an amazing gift of a truly rich relationship with a grandmother. The characters in this book were written so well - I found my lip curling into a smile as Ruby's daddy spoke of his gun when the boys would call on her. Family birthday parties, rides on the train, and even a wig and some dyed eyebrows - this book was full of laughter, fun, lessons, and love! What a talented author and truly beautiful story! This is a fabulous book for young or old, female or male - if you enjoy a heartwarming tale, you'll love every page of "Rise"!

Purchase this amazing story on Amazon! 

Now that I've told you how I feel about this book - let me tell you more about the book and it's author:

Rise! A Girl’s Struggle for More

Rise! A Girl’s Struggle for More is an old-fashioned, historical family drama-a sweet, yet edgy, coming of age story. Set in the 1920s, it is based on the life of the author’s grandmother. The main character, Ruby Pearl, is mature beyond her years and was born at least a decade too soon. Growing up in the middle of a family of nine children in Oilton, Oklahoma, with her nose constantly in a book, she was known as the girl that would rather read than can tomatoes. Ruby feels destined for greater things. Ruby studies hard to make good grades, while her parents smile and humor her. They continually encourage the courtship with her beau, Arthur, who they fully expect will be their son-in-law when the two graduate from high school, but Ruby has loftier goals. She admires her momma and big sister, Rilla, the “CEOs of the household” and knows some day she will have children and a home of her own to manage, but first things first!

Rise! A Girl’s Struggle for More is Anne of Green Gables meets the “It Girl” of the 20s … but with a sophisticated twist. Ruby’s ‘coming of age’ story evolves amidst the backdrop of a horse and buggy town welcoming its first motor cars, and parents brought up in the Victorian era grappling with their daughters showing their ankles and dating! Following the inspiration of the suffrage movement, Ruby becomes a pioneer for girls her age, breaking all norms, defying tradition (and her parents) to become a truly independent woman.

About Author Diann Floyd Boehm (learn more on her website as well). 

**Please note: official launch will be on October 20th (you can tune in  to see it live on Diann's FB page or YouTube channel at 2 pm Atlantic).

Diann Floyd Boehm is an award-winning international author. Diann has always enjoyed the art of storytelling and has taken her imagination to print. She has five published children’s books, and two of her books have won awards.

Harry the Camel’ won the ‘Best-Translated Book Award by the Authors Marketing International, ‘Moonling Adventures-Serengeti’ won First Place in Texas Best 2021 Children Book Award, and ‘Harry the Camel won Best Seller for 2021 in B4R Bookstore! In addition, Diann has the Little Girl in the Moon Series, which has now become the Moonling Adventures.

Diann’s first Young Adult (YA) Official Launch is October 6, 2021, ‘Rise A Girl’s Struggle for More.’ The Launch will take place in Drumright, Oklahoma, at The Drumright Historical Society. Diann’s YouTube Channel, ‘The Story Garden,’ allows everyone to hear Diann read her books and interviews of various authors who read their stories to the viewers. Additionally, Diann is the co-host for ‘Rapping with Dr. Jacalyn LLCTM – ‘Fashion Fitness, Travel & Leisure’ on Friday mornings Live stream on various platforms. Diann is also an invited host for the Indie Beacon Radio Show, where she interviews authors from multiple genres.