Monday, July 27, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading

I can't believe that July is almost over. To be honest, I am not looking for summer to end. Being a librarian is something that I love, but the thought of going back to school during this pandemic is a scary thought. Our library will be closed to students, but instead we will go to the classrooms for library time. I'm still not sure exactly how that will look. And who knows, if the numbers keep rising, we may be virtual yet.

As for what I am reading this week, her we go:

I feel like I am lagging a little with this one. It has been a hectic few weeks because we just moved so to be honest that seems to be taking priority, but I am going to try and buckle down and get this one done in the next few days. I just don't seem quite as drawn to it as I was to the first book in the series, but that could be a lot of factors to be honest. 

I still haven't decided what I want to read next - do I pick something new or something that has been on my TBR pile for awhile? All of my physical books are in totes or suitcases from the move - maybe I'll just reach in and see if it is one I haven't read yet. I think we can all relate to having too many books to choose from.

Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Stacking the Shelves (1)

So, it's time to get back into the swing of things - sorry to have been gone for so long. I have some really good books on my TBR pile and can't wait to get started on them. 

Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams
Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale
One Step Behind by Lauren North
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Shadows by Alex North
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
We Hear Voices by Evie Green

Can't wait to see what you have stacked your shelves with!

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Friday, July 24, 2020

Book Beginnings on Fridays Hosted by Rose City Reader

I feel like I have been MIA for months and for that I apologize. The quarantine and COVID is wearing on me mentally but I have decided to jump back in because I haven't stopped reading. I do have MS and am on an immunotherapy drug, and being a Mom of 2 teenage daughters it has been a juggling act on what is safe and not, and how to keep our mental health in check. It has been a struggle to say the least. 


I started a new to me series a few weeks back and have decided to keep on reading. 

I vomited into the toilet, hugging the cool sides, trying to contain the sounds of my retching. 

A Court of Mist and Fury is the second book in A Court of Thorn and Roses series and it is good so far. We just moved so I haven't had quite as much time to read lately but I look forward to diving back in and finishing this one. 

If you have read this series please let me know your thoughts. Happy Reading!
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Susan Wingate
YA/Coming of Age/Mainstream Fiction

For those who enjoy reading books like Where the Crawdads Sing and My Sister’s Keeper
MACKENZIE FRASER witnesses a drunk driver mow down her seven-year-old sister and her mother blames her. Then she ends up in juvie on a trumped-up drug charge. Now she’s in the fight of her life…on the inside! And she’s losing.

HOW THE DEER MOON HUNGERS is a coming of age story about loss, grief, and the power of love.


Amazon →


the beginning
“a flower knows, when its butterfly will return, and if the moon walks out, the sky will
understand; but now it hurts, to watch you
leave so soon, when I don't know, if you will ever come back.” ―Sanober Khan

The Day Before

I, one Miss MacKenzie Becca Fraser, was never one for saying fuck much. But as with life, things change.
The year before, Dad removed Tessa’s training wheels. The bike had grown up, was halfway between a tricycle and a teenager’s bike. Her eyes glowed when the trainers came off. Her smile? Buoyant. My bike was what Tessa called a big girl bike—a beach cruiser in Tiffany box blue. Mine didn’t have ribbons shooting out of the handles. Can you imagine me going to school with ribbons out of the handles? My peeps would never let me live it down.
The evening before what people called the worst thing that’s happened on the island since Becca Winthrop went and flopped over dead of heart failure at the liquor store, we set off on a night ride—Tessa and me. We left Mom at home stirring up dust with her favorite electric broom. Tuesday was a lazy fall night, one with the sun and moon in competition for the evening sky; with the sun being selfish for time, trying to hang on to day even though it knew it should just stop shining, give up, and go away. We’d stuck playing cards in the spokes of our tires to add to clicking crickets, tree frogs chirping, a not-so-distant fox hacking out a cough to alert its scattered pack of food found—a doomed rabbit or kitty kibbles left out on someone’s porch. Up the hill, deep in the woods, an owl’s Psalm echoed back from its mate as if they were holding invisible hands across the horizon, not wanting to let go. Their song played while we rode.
We’d split the deck of cards, each one clipping twenty-six onto our tire spokes to deter animals from darting out into the lane ahead. Because that was all we needed—to crash into a raccoon crossing the street. Not much good for the coon either. But the road was deserted, and I kept Tessa in front, keeping my eye out for her.
Tessa rode her bike fast like she was angling to lasso the moon, which sat high at the end of the road over Old Man Johnson’s cattle farm. The big, yellow ball lolled around atop a silhouette of gossamer evergreens framing a large swatch of grazing land.
Wind fluttered that silky sable ponytail of hers as we came off the downhill side of False Bay Drive where the road at the end of summer stripes a path of thirsty grass along the strait, where cows graze in a pasture trimmed by a stand of golden poplars, crooked and bending toward the north sky away from steady winds coming off the water. Most people think that on our island in the Pacific Northwest, we live in slickers and galoshes year-round. But that’s the secret we have. Seattle gives our island a bad reputation, makes us soggy when we’re not. We live in what meteorologists call a banana belt or a rain shadow, so our island lacks the lush, drippy rainforests often found in other parts of the Pacific Northwest.
Each downstroke of my pedals matched rhythm with the plastic ribbons whipping off Tessa’s handlebars, whizzing like a thousand bees around her hands. When she skidded to a halt in front of me, I yanked left, my wheels slipping as I swerved to miss her, no doubt balding a spot on the tire’s rubber.
“What’s wrong with you?” I demanded, anger flashing hot in my cheeks and pooling into my chest.
Tessa didn’t seem to hear me. She was gaping up at the sky with that moon gaping back at her.
“What?” I repeated, but this time we were both fixed on the dang moon.
“Do you see it, Mac? The deer?” Tess was in the habit of starting, finishing, and rereading Thurber’s The White Deer for, like, the millionth time—a read way above her grade. In fact, she often fell asleep with the stupid book open-faced on her chest. Then the next morning she’d stick a crow feather in the book to mark her place and set it on her nightstand, ready for her evening read.
“There’s no deer in the moon, dork, but there might be a man if you look hard enough. You need to read real stuff. You’re getting weird.”
“See its horns?”
“Antlers.” I told her. “A hungry moon like that likes to eat seven-year-olds for dinner.” “Nuh-uh,” Tessa answered.
I rolled my bike backward, parallel to hers, close enough to sneak my hand around the back of her head and yank her ponytail.
 “Don’t,” Tessa yelped.
I enjoyed hearing her whiny kid voice. Mom called it plaintive. But Mom liked to make things sound more sophisticated. Her beaten-up chest of drawers was a chiffonier. The mossy stone patio, a pergola. Mom wanted more out of life, and I suspected she harbored a few regrets. “Our island didn’t hold a candle to New York City,” she’d complained one night. “Not even to Seattle. At least Seattle has an international flair,” she’d said.
Mom could have been a model if she’d pursued it, but she’d fallen in love, had kids. The what-happenedto-my-life syndrome seemed to have snagged her in a net she couldn’t get out of. She often talked about things she would do after Tess and I were out of school, when the house and her life were her own again. A longing filling her words, just enough for me to sense an underpinning of resentment. Her gaze would shift to the window, outside, away and away, but not for long; and she would chuckle. Then, she’d sit upright and say, “Oh, we wish on stars and mushroom caps for moon dust and fairies.” I don’t know where she got that phrase, but Mom always trotted it out when she got wistful. Maybe it came from Gramma Kiki. Who knows? It really doesn’t matter, but the oddity of a phrase like that will stick with you.
And although our island boasted an international school—Spring Street School—our town was mostly country, with nothing international about it. We didn’t even have a stoplight. Just stop signs and, of late, one abused turnabout.
When I glanced sideways at Tessa, she was straddling her bike as she stared up at the moon. I noted a certain otherness in her expression, as if we weren’t alone, as if the ghost of that deer she’d spotted in the moon had plopped onto her shoulders and was weighing her down. Her eyes seemed dark with worry and as deep as a pair of bottomless wells, shimmering with unshed tears. I think about that worry sometimes. It haunts me still.
“Come on,” I said. “We’d better get home. Mom’s already in a snit.”
“I wonder what the deer eats, Mac. Do you think it’s hungry?”
“One thing it doesn’t eat, Tess, is cheese!” I said, laughing, but Tessa didn’t get it. She didn’t know then, or ever, about the man in the moon or about the cheese the moon was allegedly made of.
I used to like the word allegedly. I’d learned it as a vocabulary word at the start of my junior year, and I got it right on a pop quiz in homeroom spelling. The teacher even had me write my sentence on the board: Gemma allegedly hid the pencil from me, but there was no evidence to prove that for sure. The sentences I would write with this word now could not be more different: I was allegedly taking care of Tessa when we went to the park the day after looking at the deer moon. And I was allegedly not watching when the car hit her.  Allegedly became an important word for me after Tessa died. It’s weird to recall how much I liked the word in my junior year but hated it afterward when I heard the cop use it.
Allegedly,” he’d said, “the younger one was in the older sister’s care.” And then, as though no one understood, “The older one was supposed to be watching the younger one.” He said one as if we were buttons on a conveyor belt at some stupid button factory. The jerk.
After Tess died, I started counting the days of the moon as it sketched out a path in the sky from crescent to half to gibbous to crescent again. I called it moon spying, and every month when the moon was ripe, I used to rush outside to search that big ol’ cheese wheel. Maybe I’d spy Tessa riding on the back of the deer ghost, but mostly I just hoped she might see me searching the moon for a glimpse of her.

Susan Wingate is a #1 Amazon bestselling award-winning author of over fifteen novels. Susan writes across fiction and nonfiction genres and often sets her stories in the Pacific Northwest where she is the president of a local authors association. She writes full-time and lives in Washington State with her husband, Bob.


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Monday, July 20, 2020


N.J. Croft

A woman with a rare genetic illness must uncover her connection to a terrorist group before their next attack in this exciting new bio-thriller from the author of Disease X.

Lucas Grafton has spent the last ten years hunting the Conclave, a secret organization who took everything from him, including his very identity. Now he has a lead—an imminent terrorist attack on London—code-named “Descartes”. But he can’t connect the dots until a seemingly innocent woman appears during his stakeout.

Jenna Young can’t believe she was attacked and barely escaped with her life. Now she’s on the run with a stranger…and racing against the clock. With only a note left by her father after his death, telling her to use the code-word “Descartes” to get the pills that slow the progression of her illness, Jenna has only days before her body will start to rapidly deteriorate.

Lucas and Jenna must piece together why she’s wanted by a terrorist group she’s never heard of. And why, despite her claims that she needs an unknown and presumably illegal drug to stay alive, she seems to be getting stronger by the day…


Darkness had fallen by the time Luke arrived at the outskirts of the village, fifty miles north of London. He drove slowly through the quiet streets until he spotted the black SUV parked in the shadows between streetlights on the edge of the road.
Pulling up behind, he got out of his own vehicle and slipped into the passenger seat of the car ahead.
Callum tapped his earpiece to show he was listening to someone and glanced up. “You look like shit.”
“Thanks.” Truth was he felt like shit. “Where are they now?”
“In there. It’s the doctor’s surgery.” Callum nodded toward a building opposite. It stood back from the road with a parking area in front containing a single vehicle. Lights shone from the front windows. “Carson’s questioning him. So far it’s been just questions, but I have an idea Carson’s about to up the game.”
“What’s he asking?”
“Apparently, the doctor has been doing some searches on things he shouldn’t be.”
“Such as?”
Callum turned to him with a grin. “Descartes? Does that cheer you up?”
Oh yeah. The muscles in his belly clenched tightly. Maybe they were on to something, after all. “Do you have a comm unit for me?”
Callum handed him one, and Luke placed it in his ear.
“Sit down.”
A man’s voice.
“Look, I don’t know who you are, but I suggest you leave before I call the police.”
The sounds of a scuffle came down the earpiece.
“Now, tell me about Descartes.”
“I told youI don’t know anything about any Descartes.”
A dull thud and the doctor’s next words were panicked.
“It’s a place…on the moon…I don’t know what else it means.”
There was a moment’s silence followed by a shrill scream.
“Shit.” Luke reached for the door handle, but Callum halted him with a hand on his arm.
“Where are you going?”
“To stop this.”
“Luke, think. This doctor is one man. We’re trying to stop an attack that could kill thousands, maybe more, and he’s our only lead.”
“We’ll take them both in. Find out what they know.”
“And you reckon they’ll talk if we ask them nicely?” Callum’s tone held disbelief.
“There are some lines we don’t cross.” While he had few qualms about questioning anyone connected to the Conclave, as far as he could tell, this doctor was an innocent.
Callum’s expression hardened, his mouth tightening into a narrow line. “Maybe we need to start.”
A low moan echoed in the earpiece. Luke gritted his teeth. “And if we do, what’s next? We might as well just give up and join the bad guys.”
He stared into Callum’s cold eyes until the other man looked away. Then he shrugged off Callum’s hand and climbed out of the vehicle. Another scream from his comm urged him on, and he raced across the road. From the conversation in his ear, time was running out.
Luke drew his pistol and edged around the building until he reached a window where light spilled from the interior. As he peered inside, the breath left him. The light clicked out.
“You’re too late.” Callum’s voice came over the comm.
“No fucking kidding.”
“What do you want me to do?”
He rubbed at the scar on the back of his neck. A dull pain throbbed in his temple. He pressed a finger to his forehead and tried to force his brain beyond the heavy weight of defeat.
“Stay with Carson.”
He stood motionless in the shadows. A minute later, Carson strode out of the building just as a car pulled into the parking area, catching him in the fierce glare of the headlights. He turned, shoved his hands in his pockets, and strolled away, disappearing around the back of the building.
“Carson’s on the move—don’t lose him,” Luke commanded, keeping his gaze on the approaching car.
“I’m on it.”
The car parked in front of the surgery entrance. The headlights died, and the driver sat for a while. Hopefully, they would take the lack of lights as a sign the place was closed and drive off. Instead, a woman climbed out and slammed the door. The locks beeped, and her gaze shifted back and forth between the other car and the darkened building.
She appeared young, somewhere in her mid-twenties, tall and slender, dressed in a red skirt and black top, her long blond hair a vivid contrast against the darkness. As she turned slightly, her face was lit by the dim glow from the streetlights behind him. She was flawless. High cheekbones, wide mouth, pale skin, and eyes slanting under arched brows.
She walked toward the surgery, her movements graceful but tentative, then paused at the door and glanced around.
Luke took one last look at the woman, the urge to warn her flashing through his mind. He shook his head. Soon the place would be crawling with cops.
Time to get out of here.
Excerpt 2
Panic flared, and Jenna forced it down, breathing slowly, deeply. She stared at the man and allowed her hatred to show in her face.
He straightened and backed away, leaning against the far wall with his arms folded across his chest. “She’s all yours, Doc.”
Jenna’s gaze darted to the second man in the room. The doctor approached, and she flinched as he wiped the blood from her face with a paper towel, his touch almost gentle. He rolled a trolley close beside the chair, and she peered at it out of the corner of her eyes. It contained electronic equipment and a set of needles and bottles.
He patted her lower arm below the elbow and inserted a needle into the vein to collect blood. After he’d filled two small bottles, he labeled them and put them on the counter across the room.
Jenna concentrated on his actions, preventing her mind from thinking about what was to happen. He came back, looked at her for a moment, then hooked a finger in the neck of her T-shirt and tore it, exposing the tops of her breasts. Her eyes snapped closed, but she forced them open and watched as he taped two monitors to her chest. He fiddled with the dials of the machine and stepped back.
“Your name?”
Her gaze darted  to the other man, who raised an eyebrow and made a move as though to straighten.
“Jenna Young.”
At the soft chuckle across the room, her hatred rose.
The man in the white coat took her through a series of questions about who she was and what she did, and she answered them truthfully. There was no reason not to—she was sure they must know this stuff already. They were calibrating some sort of lie detector. For a moment, she allowed herself to hope they would believe her when she told them she knew nothing—that they wouldn’t resort to torture—until her glance flicked again to the man leaning against the wall. His eyes followed the rise and fall of her breasts, and for the first time his expression was clear: he looked eager.
“Okay, it’s ready.” The doctor stepped away from her.
Though she hated to beg, she knew she had to try. “Please, don’t do this. I don’t know anything. I can’t tell you what I don’t know.”
The man in black moved to stand in front of her, but she couldn’t tell what he was thinking. “Tell the truth, and this will be all over.”
“You really believe that?”
When he glanced away, she knew there was no help. This was going to happen, and she could do nothing. All the same, she couldn’t stop herself fighting against her bonds. It was futile and left her panting with frustration.
“Tell me about Descartes.”
The voice was soft, reasonable. She opened her mouth to answer, to tell them about the letter from her father, but couldn’t make the words come out. Her mind screamed at her to tell them whatever they wanted to know, whatever it took to stop them from hurting her. But she couldn’t do it. Something inside her would not allow her to give in to them; some stubborn, stupid streak would not give them the satisfaction. She glared into his eyes.
“Go to hell!”
He turned to the doctor. “Hook her up.”
The doctor selected a needle from the trolley. He tapped her arm again and inserted the needle into her vein, attaching it to an intravenous bag before nodding to the other man, who crouched down in front of Jenna.
“This is something Doctor Smith here has been working on for us. Just so you know, it’s a combination of truth serum and pain inducer.” He reached across and stroked a finger down over the skin of her cheek. “It’s very effective. You’ll want to pass out, take my word for it, but you won’t. So, you have one more chance. What do you know about Descartes?”
Goddamn fucking Descartes. She was beginning to hate the name.
She clamped her lips together and looked away.
“Go ahead, doctor.”

After a number of years wandering the world in search of adventure, N.J. Croft finally settled on a farm in the mountains and now lives off-grid, growing almonds, drinking cold beer, taking in stray dogs, and writing stories where the stakes are huge and absolutely anything can happen.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

Anna Incognito by Laura Preble

Laura Preble
Literary Fiction/Women's Fiction

Lots of narrative pull...wonderfully complicated. - Jincy Willett, author of The Writing Class, and anthologized by David Sedaris in Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules.

Anna Colin Beck knows all too well what can happen when things go wrong really wrong. So, she's spent the last several years living an extremely regimented life at home, doing everything she can to avoid subjecting herself to the torments of a germ-infested world. Everything must be just so, and when things don't go to plan, she punishes her own body...and that still hasn't helped alleviate her pain.

After a chance meeting in a laundromat, she finds herself completely infatuated with another person, something that hasn't happened to her in a long time. Dr. Edward Denture is seemingly brilliant and magnetic...and in the blink of an eye, she's attending intense somatic therapy sessions as his newest client. The more he draws from her, the further their relationship grows, until it's crossed countless lines and consumed Anna with a fierce toxicity. And before she knows it, she finds herself buckled into the driver's seat of a powder-blue El Dorado for a solo cross-country road trip, determined to stop his wedding. It's a trip that will test every limitation she's ever set for herself, and though she's planned extensively for all contingencies, there are some twists and turns you just can't prepare for.
With wry observations on the intersection of luck, fate, and life, Anna Incognito is a searing, darkly witty exploration of what it means to be alive.

PRAISE FOR ANNA INCOGNITO 5/5 "Rich with witticism in the face of painful realities and evoking lyrical truisms throughout, from of a rating scale of 1 – 5 this novel is so off-the-charts good, it deserves a 10." LINK HERE 4/4 "The writing was captivating...This book would be great for readers who are struggling with mental health or for those trying to understand it better. Are you ready to go for a drive with Anna?. Buckle up, because you are in for the ride of your life!" LINK HERE

Kirkus Reviews:  "The protagonist’s acerbic wit and mordant tone work well in the difficult material in Preble’s unconventional road novel. A razor-sharp, oddly fun  romp through the American West." LINK HERE


Mascot Books →

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Laura Preble is the award-winning author of the young adult series, Queen Geek Social Club (Penguin/Berkley Jam), which includes the novels Queen Geeks in Love and Prom Queen Geeks. Her novel, Out, dealt with the concept of LGBTQ rights within a young adult dystopia; Alex Sanchez, author of Rainbow Boys, says "Out explores an intriguing, mind-bending, and challenging portrait of an upside-down world that turns the tables on homophobia, acceptance, and love.” She has won a Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize, and has been published in North American Review, Writer’s Digest, Hysteria, and NEA Today.


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Thursday, July 9, 2020


Dr. Barry Allen Lycka & Harriet Tinka
Nonfiction / Self-Help / Motivational

Each author suffered near-death experiences and sought renewal through the wisdom of human virtues that refocused them on a life of richness, appreciation, joy and service.

Offered in the format of an enchanting and charming dialogue between the two authors, the book also includes their chronicles of pain and triumph, allegories and stories, along with inspirational and insightful quotes. The exploration of each of the 13 Golden Pearls creates a necklace of self-empowerment that will enhance anyone’s life.

The Golden Pearls shared offer a roadmap for living a life that is rich in love, achievement, appreciation, joy and service. They offer strength, comfort and encouragement.

The authors are on a mission to transform lives. Dr. Allen Lycka is now a full-time speaker, author and transformational leader and Harriet Tinka coaches young women to fully embrace who they are through her Empower Me programs.


Amazon U.S. →

 Amazon Canada →


Two lives changed, irreversibly, in an instant, by devastating events…but rather than be destroyed, these two individuals faced the ensuing challenges, embracing them as turning points. Seizing the second chances before them with both hands, they chose the path to “Living a Fantastic Life.” In doing so, they discovered “13 Golden Pearls” to guide them…which they are eager to now share with you - to inspire you for your own journey.

Dr. Allen Lycka has been acknowledged as one of the leading cosmetic dermatologists in the world for three decades. A pioneer in cosmetic surgery, he helped to develop laser assisted tumescent liposuction – an advanced body sculpture technique, and Moh’s Micrographic Surgery, an advanced means of removing skin cancer with 99% success. He has lived and practiced in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada since 1989. He’s written 17 books, 30+ academic papers and hosted the number one internet radio show in the world – Inside Cosmetic Surgery Today. He is a co- founder of Doctors for the Practice of Safe and Ethical Aesthetic Medicine and founder of The Canadian Skin Cancer Association. He has won the prestigious Consumers Choice Award For Cosmetic Surgery for 16 consecutive years.

In 2003, Dr. Lycka’s life changed drastically when he suddenly developed a right foot drop and then misdiagnosed as ALS (Lou Gherigs’ disease). Still, he maintained his status as a leading cosmetic doctor for 30 years.

Because of what he learned, he is co-authoring the book The Secrets of Living A Fantastic Life with Harriet Tinka, a former fashion model and Woman of Distinction. He is also currently co-authoring two more books: one with Corie Poirier entitled, “bLU Talks Presents: Business, Life and the Universe” and one with Jack Canfield entitled, “The Pillars of Success.”

Currently acknowledged as a leading expert in Living A Fantastic Life and Turning Points, he is a transformational speaker, thought leader, coach, and mentor.

Dr. Lycka is happily married to Dr. Lucie Bernier-Lycka for 38 years and they have four lovely daughters and seven beautiful grandchildren. He counts his family as his most important accomplishment.


Website Link:
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As a Turning Point expert, Harriet Tinka is a perfect example of someone finding a need in the community and filling it. Despite dealing with obstacles in her life, she has overcome those hurdles and has found success by inspiring thousands of audiences reach their full potential.

Though stabbed, kidnapped and left for dead, she turned that horrifying experience into motivation. She has inspired and given hope to women who are faced with domestic violence. She is known by her students as a “Powerhouse Role Model” who makes being genuine the most powerful thing of all.
Harriet is an invigorating transformational speaker, passionate life coach, blogger, Chartered Professional Accountant, Football Official, and an ultra-marathon runner. She is the founder and CEO of the award-winning Social Enterprise, Empowered Me Inc, a company whose mission is to inspire and empower girls and women.

Harriet has received numerous awards including YWCA Woman of Distinction, Global Woman of Vision, Afro- Canadian Community Woman of the Year, Action for Healthy Communities Youth Empowerment Award, Rotary Integrity Award and Daughter’s Day Award just to mention a few. She is a tireless philanthropist, and a Toastmaster Divisional Champion.

Harriet feels blessed to have her journey supported by her partner Steve and her three lovable children Tristan, Rhiannah and Aaliyah.

For more information, visit
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