Book review: Adventure on Whalebone Island by M.A. Wilson

  • Title and author:  Adventure on Whalebone Island by M.A. Wilson
  • Publisher:  Rainy Bay Press; 1 edition
  • Date of publication:  November 2, 2016
  • Pages:  178
  • Genre:  children’s fiction / action & adventure

DESCRIPTION:

Ryan and Kendra have come to Maple Harbour on the BC coast to spend their summer holidays with their aunt and uncle. They’re expecting a leisurely holiday swimming and playing on the beach with their cousins Claire and Nathan. Claire, however, has other ideas – exploring islands in her sailboat and searching for sunken treasure. But what’s hidden on mysterious Whalebone Island? Have the four of them come across a secret that others don’t want discovered?

Children aged eight to twelve will love this classic tale of adventure that recalls an earlier era of outdoor fun, leisure, and independence. In today’s over-scheduled society, Adventure on Whalebone Island stands apart for its celebration of the childhood joys of exciting outdoor exploits away from technology and the watchful eyes of parents. Filled with striking illustrations, Adventure on Whalebone Island is already a favorite of children, parents, and teachers alike.

Shortlisted for the 2017/18 BC Readers Choice Children’s Book Award (Chocolate Lily Award)

Buy the book:   Amazon    Indigo-Chapters

Meet the author:  Michael Wilson lives with his family in Gibsons, British Columbia. The Mystery of the Missing Mask is his second book for children. His first book, Adventure on Whalebone Island, was shortlisted for the BC Reader’s Choice Children’s Book Award and the Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Award. When not writing, he likes to sail his Flying Junior in the waters of Howe Sound.

Connect with the author:   Website   

REVIEW:  

Ryan and Kendra live in British Columbia, Canada and were super excited to spend two weeks with their cousins in Maple Harbour, on the BC coast.   Ryan, shy and studious wonders if he will fit in with his outgoing, active cousins.  Little does he know that his love of math and numbers will take him on an exciting and dangerous adventure!

I really enjoyed the way the author wrote from the eyes of a young person.  I could clearly picture myself feeling the same emotions and observing the same things the children would enjoy.  His descriptions were simple but thorough and I felt as thought I had personally gone on an adventure with them!

Adventure on Whalebone Island reminds of my own childhood spent devouring Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery books.

It was a pleasure meeting Michael at the Chapters bookstore in downtown Victoria.  I would be interested in reading more of his adventure books in the future.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR: Ralphie, Always Loved by Andrea Yerramilli

Book Details:

Book Title:  Ralphie, Always Loved by Andrea Yerramilli
Illustrated by: Samantha Van Riet
Category:  Children’s Fiction,  32 pages
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Publisher:  About Something Good, LLC
Release date:  October 28, 2017
Tour dates:  April 9 to May 4, 2018
Content Rating:   G

Book Description:

This is the story of the life, love, and adventures of a beloved family dog, and how he delighted and touched his family and everyone he met.

Ralphie was born with a heart on his belly.
He loves food, his family, his friends, his neighbors.
He loves pretty much everything and everyone.
And they love him back.
And that’s how it is all through his life.
Read the book and fall in love with him too.

Rambunctious and hyperactive, Ralphie had already been returned to the animal shelter three times, but when Andrea and her husband adopted him and gave him a loving home where he was understood, accepted, and taught, he learned fast. As Ralphie’s human family grew, so did his capacity for love and the ways he could express it. He remained a loving and beloved family member who touched the hearts of the whole neighborhood until he was ready to say goodbye at the grand-old age of sixteen. Ralphie, Always Lovedwill remind you of all that is good, and reaffirm your belief in love’s power to uplift and transform.

Buy the Book:

Andrea Yerramilli

Meet the Author:

Andrea has always been an avid reader and that jumpstarted her imagination at a very early age. In fact she escaped to the Land of Make Believe more often than her mother liked.

She is a former marketing professional who is a mom to kids both with and without fur. Andrea says that it helps to have one foot planted firmly in reality while the other is foot loose and fancy free in Imagination Land. She enjoys the best of both worlds.

In 2013, Andrea and her husband started About Something Good (ASG) as a vehicle to curate, inspire and share goodness in the world. In a world where negative images flood the media, and words like “hate” get tossed around so easily, Andrea felt she needed a space that encouraged and focused on the words like “love” and the beauty that is life.
Andrea is committed to finding the good in everything, and believes: that a sense of belonging to someone’s heart is what makes us feel complete, that kindness goes a long way, and that keeping your mind and heart open can help when things happen that you don’t understand.

Andrea lives in New Jersey with her husband and children.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR SCHEDULE:

April 9   – Working Mommy Journal – book spotlight / interview / giveaway
April 9   – Diary of an Avid Reader – book spotlight / interview / giveaway
April 9   – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 10 – Bibliotheque – book spotlight / guest post
April 10 – Paulette’s Papers – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 11 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
April 12 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / interview / giveaway
April 13 – #redhead.with.book – book spotlight / giveaway
April 16 – 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News – bk spotlight / int / giveaway
April 16 – My Life. One Story at a Time. – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 17 – Books Direct – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 18 – Bookworm for Kids – book spotlight / interview / giveaway
April 19 – Fantastic Feathers – book spotlight / interview / giveaway
April 20 – Jane Reads –  book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 23 – Bound 2 Escape – book spotlight / interview / giveaway
April 24 – This and That Book Blog –  book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 25 – Books are love – book spotlight / interview / giveaway
April 26 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – book spotlight
April 27 – 100 Pages A Day – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 30 – Books for Books – book spotlight
May 1    – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – book spotlight
May 2    – The Autistic Gamer – book spotlight
May 3    – JBronder Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post
May 4    – The Book Girl – book spotlight / giveaway
May 4    – KC Beanie Boos Collection – book spotlight / interview / giveaway

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Book review: Florence & Leon by Simon Boulerice

  • Title & author:  Florence & Leon by Simon Boulerice
  • Publisher:  Quebec Amerique / Orca Book Publishers
  • Date published:  April 9, 2018
  • Pages:  32
  • Genre:  friendship, disability, shared experiences

DESCRIPTION:  Florence and Leon have never met. Florence is a swimming instructor. She has a small problem with her lungs: it’s as if she’s breathing through a straw. Leon is an insurance salesman. He has a small problem with his eyes: it’s as if he’s seeing the world through a straw. One day Florence and Leon bump into each other, literally, and this mishap turns their lives upside down. Over slushy drinks with proper straws, Florence and Leon find out how their differences make them alike.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Orca Canada

MEET THE AUTHOR:  Award-winning Québécois author Simon Boulerice writes principally for the theater but has also published novels for adults and children as well as poetry collections. Florence & Léon (QuébecAmérique) was nominated for the 2016 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Illustration (French). Simon still does the splits at least once a day.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:   Twitter    Facebook   

REVIEW: 

How long does it take to fall in love? 32 pages and a striped straw!

What a delightful and intimate story of two very different people who meet unexpectedly with a “bump”.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book was originally written in French and want to read it in that language as well.  The English translation was well done.

This would make a wonderful gift for a sweetheart.

 

 

 

 

Book review: The Myths of Safe Pesticides by André Leu

Book Details:

Book Title: The Myths of Safe Pesticides by André Leu
Category:  Adult Non Fiction,  168  pages
Genre:   Educational / Nature / Science
Publisher:  Acres USA
Release date:  September 15, 2014
Format available for review:  print & ebook (PDF)
Will send print books to: USA & Canada
Tour dates: March 12 to April 13, 2018
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

​The chemical-based conventional agriculture industry claims that the synthesized concoctions they sell as pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are safe when used as directed, but does the scientific evidence truly support their assertions? Organic agriculturist and lecturer André Leu delves into a wealth of respected scientific journals to present the peer-reviewed evidence that proves the claims of chemical companies and pesticide regulators are not all they seem.

Leu translates technical jargon into layman’s terms to break down the five most repeated myths about pesticide use: independent scientific analysis shows that pesticides are not at all as safe as industry leaders and regulatory agencies claim. The pesticide industry argues that human agriculture, and thereby the global population itself, cannot survive without using pesticides and herbicides, but Leu warns that human health is at great risk unless we break free of their toxic hold and turn to more natural methods of pest and weed regulation.

Learn about:

  • The “Rigorously Tested” Myth
  • The “Very Small Amount” Myth
  • The “Breakdown” Myth
  • The “Reliable Regulatory Authority” Myth
  • The “Pesticides Are Essential to Farming” Myth

Andre Leu

Meet the Author:

André Leu is a longtime organic farmer in Australia and a director of Regeneration International. He served as president of IFOAM Organics International from 2011 to 2017. He speaks widely and regularly testifies to governments and NGOs worldwide on pesticide safety and policy. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Myths of Safe Pesticides.

Connect with the publisher:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Author’s Twitter

REVIEW:
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Andre Leu’s extensive research led to this incredibly detailed book about  pesticides and how we can be better informed when making decisions about what we should eat and feed our families.
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Some of the things he expounds on are:
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– Myth:  Pesticides are essential to farming;
– Myth:  Most pesticide formulations sold on the market are rigorously tested;
– Myth:  The very small amount;
– Myth:  The breakdown myth; and
– Myth:  The reliable regulatory myth.
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One of the things I learned is that once a chemical degrades, it is not harmless.  Research has shown than many of the metabolites from agricultural poisons can cause heath and reproductive problems.  Some pesticides such as diazinon, malathion, chlorpyrifos and dimethoate become even more toxic when they break down.
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We often think that, when we wash our food we are removing all of the pesticides.  Dimethoate (widely used as a fruit fly treatment) is a systemic pesticide because it is absorbed into all the tissues of the plant, including the edible portions such as the flesh of the fruit.  Washing our food will not remove the bulk of the poison, which is inside the food.  It breaks down into an even more toxic metabolite called omethoate.
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Complete with charts, graphs and illustrations, this book makes this complicated subject more easily understood by the layman.  It’s quite a vigorous read but the book is divided into the five main “myth” sections which makes it easier to absorb.
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The author’s final word:
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The lack of rigorous testing and the blatant disregard of the current science by regulators means that, until these data gaps are filled, the most logical option is to avoid food from farming systems that use these toxic compounds.”
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Simply put, there are no safe pesticides in any amount.  You may want to read the author’s newest guide:  “Poisoning Our Children: The Parent’s Guide to the Myths of Safe Pesticides”.
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Book review: Poisoning Our Children: The Parent’s Guide to the Myths of Safe Pesticides by André Leu

Book Details:

Book Title:  Poisoning Our Children: The Parent’s Guide to the Myths of Safe Pesticides
Author: André Leu
Category:  Adult Non Fiction,  206 pages
Genre:   Educational / Parenting / Nature – Science
Publisher:  Acres USA
Release date:  March 1, 2018
Format available for review:  print & ebook (PDF)
Will send print books to: USA & Canada
Tour dates: March 12 to April 13, 2018
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Parenting was never easy. While loving, teaching and nourishing children, parents also seek to protect them from harm. The past few generations, however, have been silently attacked by thousands of manmade, poisonous chemicals carried into homes and children’s bodies in our food supply. The chemical-based conventional agriculture industry claims that the synthesized concoctions they sell as pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are safe when used as directed, but does the scientific evidence truly support their assertions?

When pesticide residues are found in 77 percent of all foods in the United States, it’s important to know the truth. Organic agriculturist André Leu has weeded through a wealth of respected scientific journals to present peer-reviewed evidence proving that the claims of chemical companies and pesticide regulators are not all they seem.

Buy the Book:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Acres USA
Add to Goodreads
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Watch André Leu discuss​ a better way to grow our food:

Andre Leu

Meet the Author:

André Leu is a longtime organic farmer in Australia and a director of Regeneration International. He served as president of IFOAM Organics International from 2011 to 2017. He speaks widely and regularly testifies to governments and NGOs worldwide on pesticide safety and policy. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Myths of Safe Pesticides.

Connect with the publisher:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Author’s Twitter

REVIEW:
.
Andre Leu’s extensive research led to this incredibly detailed book about  pesticides and how we can be better informed when making decisions about what we should eat and feed our families.
.
Some of the things he expounds on are:
.
– Myth:  Pesticides are essential to farming;
– Myth:  Most pesticide formulations sold on the market are rigorously tested;
– Myth:  The very small amount;
– Myth:  The breakdown myth; and
– Myth:  The reliable regulatory myth.
.
He also goes into detail about chemical cocktails in food and water.  What happens when chemicals/pesticides are mixed?  For example, estradiol combined with other chemicals is capable of  mimicking estrogen.  When this chemical is mixed with other chemicals, their potency is often doubled, which, in turn, can lead to breast cancer.
.
Rain samples tested in Europe contained such high levels of pesticides that it would be illegal to supply it as drinking water.
.
Complete with charts, graphs and illustrations, this book makes this complicated subject more easily understood by the layman.  It’s quite a vigorous read but the book is divided into the five main “myth” sections which makes it easier to absorb.
.
The author’s final word:
.
“Even if regulatory authorities started tomorrow, it wold take decades and billions of dollars in funds to test all the registered pesticide products and the thousands of common combinations to acquire the relevant missing data needed to establish the safe use of these poisons.
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Adopting farming systems that replace pesticides with nontoxic, natural methods of pest control is the most effective and logical way to avoid the current uncertainties surrounding pesticide use.”
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Simply put, there are no safe pesticides in any amount.
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Book review: Waking Isabella, because beauty can’t sleep forever by Melissa Muldoon

Book Details:

Book Title:  Waking Isabella: Because beauty can’t sleep forever by Melissa Muldoon
Category:  Adult Fiction,  250  pages
Genre: General Fiction
Publisher:  Matta Press
Release date:  December 2017
Format available for review: print & ebook (mobi, ePub, PDF)
Will send print books out: internationally
Tour dates: Feb 19 to March 23, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (The story begins with violent rape and murder scene, touches on themes of miscarriage, murder, Nazi violence during war, adultery)

Book Description:

Waking Isabella is a story about uncovering hidden beauty that, over time, has been lost, erased, or suppressed. It also weaves together several love stories as well as a few mysteries. Nora, an assistant researcher, is a catalyst for resolving the puzzle of a painting that has been missing for decades. Set in Arezzo, a small Tuscan town, the plot unfolds against the backdrop of the city’s antique trade and the fanfare and pageantry of its medieval jousting festival. While filming a documentary about Isabella de’ Medici—the Renaissance princess who was murdered by her husband—Nora begins to connect with the lives of two remarkable women from the past. Unraveling the stories of Isabella, the daughter of a fifteenth-century Tuscan duke, and Margherita, a young girl trying to survive the war in Nazi-occupied Italy, Nora begins to question the choices that have shaped her own life up to this point. As she does, hidden beauty is awakened deep inside of her, and she discovers the keys to her creativity and happiness. It is a story of love and deceit, forgeries and masterpieces—all held together by the allure and intrigue of a beautiful Tuscan ghost.

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Watch the trailer:
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Melissa Muldoon

 Meet the Author:

Melissa Muldoon is the Studentessa Matta—the crazy linguist! In Italian, “matta” means “crazy” or “impassioned.” Melissa has a B.A. in fine arts, art history and European history from Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, as well as a master’s degree in art history from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She has also studied painting and art history in Florence.

Melissa promotes the study of Italian language and culture through her dual-language blog, Studentessa Matta (studentessamatta.com). Melissa began the Matta blog to improve her command of the language and to connect with other language learners. It has since grown to include a podcast, “Tutti Matti per l’Italiano,” and the Studentessa Matta YouTube channel. Melissa also created Matta Italian Language Immersion Tours, which she co-leads with Italian partners in Italy.

Waking Isabella is Melissa’s second novel and follows Dreaming Sophia, published in 2016. In this new novel about Italy, the reader is taken on another art history adventure, inspired by Melissa’s experiences living and traveling in Italy, specifically Arezzo, as well as her familiarity with the language and art. For more information about Waking Isabella and links to Melissa’s blogs and social media sites, visit www.MelissaMuldoon.com.

As a student, Melissa lived in Florence with an Italian family. She studied art history and painting and took beginner Italian classes. When she returned home, she threw away her Italian dictionary, assuming she’d never need it again, but after launching a successful design career and starting a family, she realized something was missing in her life. That “thing” was the connection she had made with Italy and the friends who live there. Living in Florence was indeed a life-changing event. Wanting to reconnect with Italy, she decided to start learning the language again from scratch. As if indeed possessed by an Italian muse, she bought a new Italian dictionary and began her journey to fluency—a path that has led her back to Italy many times and enriched her life in countless ways. Now, many dictionaries and grammar books later, she dedicates her time to promoting Italian language studies, further travels in Italy, and sharing her stories and insights about Italy with others. When Melissa is not traveling in Italy, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Melissa designed and illustrated the cover art for Waking Isabella and Dreaming Sophia. She also curates the Dreaming Sophia blog and Pinterest site: The Art of Loving Italy. Please visit the Pinterest page for pictures of Arezzo, the Giostra del Saracino, and all the places we go in Italy in both books. Visit MelissaMuldoon.com for more information about immersion trips to learn the language with Melissa in Italy, as well as the Studentessa Matta blog for practice and tips to learn the Italian language.

Connect with Melissa:

Website ~ Twitter ~  Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Youtube

REVIEW: 

For  anyone who loves history, art and anything Italian, this is the perfect novel for you.  The story begins with Isabella de Medici, a 16th century Italian princess and her mysterious, and the circumstances surrounding her untimely death as well as the disappearance of  her most beloved painting.

Nora, a researcher and art lover is recuperating from a failed marriage.  She is at a point in her life where she must decide to take the safe route and remain a researcher or follow her dreams to return to Italy.  A chance Facebook message from an old friend ignites her passion for Italy once again and inspires her to investigate Isabella de Medici and her mysterious past.

The author’s historical research really makes this novel “come alive” as we are transported to different time periods and places in search of elusive clues to missing pieces of artwork.  The introduction of realistic characters and multiple storylines that ultimately lead back to the beginning of the story made for an interesting and enjoyable read.  Brush up on your Italian, there is plenty in this book!  Take care, you may end up enjoying a cappuccino yourself on sun drenched day somewhere in historic Italy.

GIVEAWAY:

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Book review: The Love Lottery (A Comic Tale of Lessons in Life, Love, Dating and the Odd Samosa Party) by Raj Dhawal


  • Title & author:  The Love Lottery (A Comic Tale of Lessons in Life, Love, Dating and the Odd Samosa Party) by Raj Dhawal
  • Publisher:  Clink Street Publishing
  • Date of publication:  February 20, 2018
  • Pages:
  • Genre:  adult fiction

Description:  

In our fast-paced digital age, never has finding the one felt more like playing the lottery.

If anyone knows about the cruelty and chaos of dating in the 21st century it’s Raj Dhaliwal; accountant by day, hopeless romantic by night.

By his own admission, Raj is a tax wizard but a clumsy disaster area when it comes to matters of the heart. This book charts his misadventures in the art of looking for love in an age when a man’s best intentions can be coldly dismissed by a swipe to the left.

The Love Lottery: a comic tale of lessons in life, love, dating and the odd samosa party explores the emotional rollercoaster of dating, charting the epic excitement and anticipation, highs, lows and disappointments of our ever optimistic search for romance.

As a British-born Indian gent, Raj compares and contrasts the social and cultural distinctions between his family, his friends and the women he meets on the dating scene; a route to romance that’s littered with speed dating, online dating and feverish matchmaking, in this funny and heart-warming book. As self-appointed United Nations Love Ambassador, Raj has made it his mission to date the weird and the wonderful in the pursuit of lasting love.

Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Chapters/Indigo  

Meet the author:    

Living in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire Raj Dhaliwal works as an accountant for the car manufacturing company Land Rover.

 

 

REVIEW:

I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places
Lookin’ for love in too many faces
Searchin’ their eyes, lookin’ for traces
Of what I’m dreamin’ of
Hoping to find a friend and a lover
I’ll bless the day I discover,
Another heart- lookin’ for love.

The song  “Looking For Love” sung by Johnny Lee kept coming to mind while I read this book.  Just where does one go to find true love?

As a visual artist, the cleverly designed book cover immediately caught my eye.  Having spent many years immersed in Indian culture, I was curious to read of the author’s experiences as he searches for his soul mate.  The impression I get after reading his many experiences is “yikes!”  It’s a battlefield out there!

This diminutive essay is liberally laced with the author’s self-deprecating humour and examples of some of his more awkward social encounters.

Do I have any suggestions for this long-suffering and tormented dude?  Get a dog.  Chicks love them. 😀

Book review: The Clock Flower (Book 3 of The F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey

Book Details:

Book Title:  The Clock Flower by Barbara Casey (Book 3 of The F.I.G. Mysteries)
Category:  YA Fiction,  208 pages
Genre:   Mystery / Fantasy
Publisher:  Gauthier Publications, The Hungry Goat Press Imprint
Release date:  February 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 (There is light profanity and some threat of violence.)

Book Description:

Dara Roux, abandoned when she was seven years old by her mother. Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan. Accepted to Yale University.

Mackenzie Yarborough, no record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan. Accepted to MIT.

Jennifer Torres, both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was sixteen. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan. Accepted to Juilliard.

The three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—as they are called, have graduated from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women after returning from New York City where Dara learned why her mother abandoned her all those years ago, and they are now attending universities where they can further their special talents. This means they will be separated from each other and from Carolina, their much-loved mentor and teacher who is “one of them,” for the first time in their young lives. They vow to try living apart for one semester, in the so-called real world that doesn’t include the orphanage; but if things don’t work out, they will come up with another plan—a plan where they can be together once again.

​Dara is invited through Yale University to take part in an exciting archeological project in China. Jennifer, once again visualizing black and white images and the unusual sounds of another cadence that seem to be connected to Mackenzie, is engrossed in creating her next symphony at Juilliard. Mackenzie, because of her genius at problem-solving, is personally chosen by a US Senator to get involved in a mysterious, secret research project involving immortality that is being conducted in a small village in China—not too far from where Dara is involved with the archeological site. Once there, however, she finds herself facing a terrifying death from the blood-dripping teeth of an ancient evil dragon. Her best friends, the FIGs and Carolina, rely on their own unique genius and special talents to save her as she discovers the truth of her birth parents.

The Cadence of Gypsies: Book 1 of the F.I.G. Mysteries

Book Details:

Book Title:  The Cadence of Gypsies (Book 1 of The F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey
Category:  YA fiction,  272 pages
Genre:  Literary/Mystery
Publisher:  Gauthier Publications/Hungry Goat Press
Release date: April 2015 (e-Book)
Content Rating:  PG-13 (A few expletives, mild sexual innuendo)

​Book Description:

On her 18th birthday Carolina Lovel learned that she was adopted and was given a letter written by her birth mother in an unknown language. After years of research she travels to Italy on a mission to find the truth about her past. Carolina is accompanied by three extremely gifted but mischievous students the FIGs from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. In an effort to help their favorite teacher, the FIGs will have to use their special abilities to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, and the one thing that is strangely similar to what Carolina was given. Their search will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

The Wish Rider: Book 2 of the F.I.G. Mysteries

​Book Details:

Book Title:  The Wish Rider (Book 2 of The F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey
Category:  YA Fiction, 160 pages
Genre: Literary / Mystery
Publisher:  Gauthier Publications
Release date:  May 10, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Dara Roux and her two best friends, Mackenzie Yarborough and Jennifer Torres, the three collectively referred to as the F.I.G.’s (Females of Intellectual Genius) because each has an intelligence quotient in the genius range, have just returned from Frascati, Italy. It was there that their much loved teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, discovered that her birth parents were gypsies, and that she had a connection to the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world.

Now, with graduation from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women behind them, Dara asks her friends to help her locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. Relying on Dara’s gift for speaking and understanding foreign languages, the black and white images that stir musical cadences in Jennifer’s mind, and Mackenzie’s mathematical calculations that normally provide numerical solutions and answers to life’s most difficult questions, the determined young women tirelessly go from one address to another in search of Dara’s mother.

Their determination turns to desperation, however, as they encounter a dark hidden society more dangerous and terrifying than they could have imagined. It is there that Dara hopes to find out why she was abandoned in a candy store all those years ago.

​Buy The Clock Flower:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

Barbara Casey

Meet the Author:

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, as well as book-length works of nonfiction true crime and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her nonfiction true crime book, Kathryn Kelly: The Moll Behind Machine Gun Kelly, has been optioned for a major film and television series. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency. Established in 1995, she represents authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. Barbara is also a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in cutting-edge adult nonfiction. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband, and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix; Fitz, a miniature dachshund; and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.
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Connect with the author:  Website
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REVIEW:
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The Clock Flower is the third novel in the FIG series about three gifted young women and their mentor, Caroline.  If you have already read the other two books you will have already met each girl:  Dara – the linguist, Mackenzie the math whiz and problem solver and Jennifer – gifted in music and art.
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Because of their unusual gifts and personalities, the girls have bonded with each other and with Caroline, who treats them as younger sisters.  Their inability to interact with others places them at a disadvantage and Caroline acts to smooth the way for them.
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This novel focuses on Mackenzie, who is asked to help troubleshoot a missing ingredient in a very ancient formula in China.  Intuitively, the other two girls as well as Caroline seem to be drawn into her world through music, art and Carolina’s intuition as a gypsy’s daughter.  As with the previous two books, we can expect plenty of excitement and plot twists in this story.
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The author is able to develop fascinating plots and storylines which keep you hooked throughout the book.  However, I found that too much time was spent trying to make this book into a standalone, in fact almost 40% of the book was trying to recapture the storyline from the first two books.  There was a lot of repetition during the first part of the book and the storyline could have done with more character development.
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I always enjoy a good mystery and The Clock Flower keeps you on the edge of your seat.  I look forward to reading another FIG adventure!
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BOOK TOUR: Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers by Rod A. Walters

Book Details:

Book Title:  Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers
Author: Rod A. Walters
Category:  Adult Non-Fiction, 228 pages
Genre:  Humor
Publisher:  Omega Man Press
Release date:  November 2016
Format available for review:  print and ebook (mobi & PDF)
Willing to send print books: internationally
Tour dates: Feb 12 to 23, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Mild and indirect innuendo to both sex genitalia, a short essay about the fictional “AssBook,” an essay on current health-care talk, a teaser “is his cord long enough?” to get readers to choose a short piece on electric cars next, etc.)

Book Description:

Written to make Dave Barry, Lily Tomlin, and Ben Stein laugh, Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers delivers the experience of a balanced life, and the wisdom to like most of it, and then laugh at the rest of it. What the heck, Barry lives in Miami, habitat of geezers, and Ben Stein is one. The world really needs that push, vigorous or gentle, from misanthropes & geezers, the world’s most valuable golden gremlins. Misanthropes pretend to not like or need other people, but in reality they merely prefer their own company much of the time. Geezers, aside from that silly name, also like their own company quite well. Both share the virtue of seeing the world calmly. You get pointy bite-sized life pointers from these experienced gremlins, told in easy bite-size chunks. Laughter included in the price! Two out of three wouldn’t be bad either. Life is good! So laugh a little at yourself on the way through these pointy essays, and that will buy your laughing at the world’s simpler parts, guilt free.

Golden Gremlin comprises about 70 short essays bundled into six topic areas:

NATURE: boys, ugly drivers, and coffee cups in the ‘fridge.
WORDS: the real meaning of Caucasian and Genre.
BUSINESS: deafness at the economics conference, and getting on AssBook.
KITCHENS: sushi chefs, and truth about manna.
HISTORY: when Hell froze, and Attila the Honey.

Golden boy gets to be GOLDEN GREMLIN: experience overcomes certainty.
What things could possibly be more important!

Buy the Book:    Amazon

Rod A. Walters

Meet the Author:

Rod Walters lives and writes in upstate New York to prove he can be an all-season writer. Since he wants everybody to be all-season persons no matter her or his circumstance, his writing aims sharply toward the practical—without turning into one of those godawful do it ma’ way authors. Life, after all, is practical hour by hour. Self-described as “old enough to know better, and he probably is,” his former life as Army officer, engineer, and administrative assistant could not have better prepared him to write both light and more serious short pieces pointing to creating a balanced life. Chuckling at yourself usually makes a good takeoff, he says. Giving up having to be certain makes for a good landing, especially for one’s friends! Then again, who the heck wants to live a balanced life? Mostly everybody does. That’s why he now writes. Although many friends nudge and badger him to be a Facebook and Twitter butterfly, he tries not to spend many numbing hours a day with circular keyboard tapping. Writing works better.

Connect with the Author: Website 

REVIEW:

mis·an·thrope

ˈmis(ə)nˌTHrōp,ˈmiz(ə)nˌTHrōp/
noun
a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society.

If you are looking for a good encyclopedia / self-help / dictionary / literature guide all rolled up in one small volume, you’ve found it.  Not to mention a healthy dose of sarcasm and just plain silliness – Golden Gremlin: A Vigorous Push from Misanthropes and Geezers – is as unique as its author.

Have you lost something? (i.e. husbands ALWAYS losing their car keys).  There are only 16 logical places where any object can be found (you can find the list in the book) (which adds valuable years to your life) (after the cussing).  One of my pet peeves is the overused word “absolutely”.  Want to break the habit?  Pages 94 and 95.  You’ll learn the appropriate word substitutions.  The essay on “The Buffet Rule” draws our attention to the extreme sport of walking through a restaurant buffet.  There’s gotta be a better way to improve crowd control.  Yes, he even takes issues with electric cars and I have to agree with him.  Sure they’re good for the environment and cheap to run but how often have you been waiting for a lift and you suddenly turn around to find the car sitting behind you for 10 minutes?  Where’s that lovely engine noise to kickstart your heart?

Liver.  Yep,  liver.  Remember how traumatized you were as a kid when you had a piece of shoe leather liver placed before you with the words “you won’t leave this table until you eat it all?”  Mr. Geezer has included the perfect liver and onion recipe to encourage you to revisit your past.
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If you have a weird sense of humour and love history, politics and vacuums, you’ll pretty much tear through this book.  Written in short essays that are just the right length for bathroom reading, this book will give Uncle John’s Bathroom reader a run for its money.
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Book review: Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces

  • Title and author:  Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #5) by Iain Reading
  • Publisher:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Date published:  February 14, 2015
  • Pages:  238
  • Genre:  mystery / thriller / women sleuths / YA fiction

Book description:

Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces is the eagerly anticipated fifth instalment of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency book series. This series features the intrepid teenage seaplane pilot and amateur detective Kitty Hawk as she continues in the footsteps of Nancy Drew and Amelia Earhart on her epic flight around the world. (But why is she wearing a superhero costume?!?)

After meeting up with an old friend in the eternal city of Rome, Kitty Hawk unexpectedly stumbles (almost literally) into a bizarre mystery involving creepy disembodied voices, secret hidden rooms, unbreakable mathematical codes, ominous chain-smoking strangers and an array of plundered artworks by such famous masters as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh – all of it wrapped up and entwined in an enigmatic riddle hanging in plain sight right in front of everyone’s noses. With the help of friends both old and new, Kitty Hawk follows a trail of cryptic clues that leads her on a breathless tour across a quintessentially European landscape – from ancient Roman Italy to the darkest corners of Germany, Austria and beyond.

As with the previous books in the series, this new installment is perfect for firing the imaginations of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history, this exhilarating adventure will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they attempt to help Kitty Hawk try and solve the extraordinarily bizarre Mystery of the Masterpieces.

There are currently five books in the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (book 1), Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway’s Ghost (book 2), Kitty Hawk and the Icelandic Intrigue (book 3), and Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic (book 4), and Kitty Hawk and the Mystery of the Masterpieces (book 5).

“In the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series the heroine finds herself in a new geographic location in each book. The series will eventually have a total of 13 books in it (maybe more) and her flight around the world will be completed in the end,” says Iain. “The books are sequential but one could definitely read any of the later ones before reading the earlier ones.”

For more information, go to http://www.kittyhawkworld.com/

Buy the book:   Amazon    Barnes & Noble

About the author:

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club.

To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/

Connect with the author:    Website    Facebook    Twitter    Kitty Hawk Website

REVIEW:  

Kitty is now in Rome where she will be meeting Charlie, her friend from Alaska.  A chance encounter with a thief, a walnut vendor and a scraped leg launch both of them into a totally unexpected international intrigue.  We are introduced to Matteo and his two sisters, Vega and Giulia.

As Charlie and Kitty are getting to know their new Italian friends, Kitty is admiring the paintings in their home.  After having just visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, she has a “feeling” that these paintings may be authentic.  No way.  Yes way.  Not only are the paintings authentic but the “plot thickens” as Matteo’s house is broken into and they discover that their father’s home has a secret room housing a radio and transmitter which is still transmitting code.

As with all Iain Readings books, we explore history, literature, art, music and this time cryptography.  It was fascinating to learn how codes are written and deciphered.  We were also taken on a tour of Dachau and learn some interesting details about Nazi Germany.

I just visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam recently and could relate to everything they were talking about in the book. As with the first four books, this book is divided into 54 short chapters which makes reading this book such a breeze (mind you, you probably won’t want to put it down – it’s way too exciting!)

Another super interesting Kitty Hawk mystery that will keep up well past your bedtime!  I’m sad that there isn’t another book in the series.  I’m sooo hooked!