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.
Connect with the author:  Website
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 spotlight: Haven (Chronicles of Warshard #1) by Katherine Bogle


Book Details:

Book Title:  Haven (Chronicles of Warshard #1) by Katherine Bogle
Category:  YA fiction,  208 pages
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Friesen Press
Release date:  May 2016
Available for review in:   ebook format (ePub, PDF or mobi file)
Tour dates:  Aug 15 to Sept 2, 2016
Content Rating:  PG-13 (This rating means this book MAY contain some f-words, religious profanities, non-explicit sex scenes and/or violence.)

Book Description:

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home. Haven must make a choice; take her people and flee to the foreign Republic across the sea or lead a last stand against a powerful dictator.

Buy the book: Amazon  ~   Barnes & Nobles  ~  Book Depository                                                     Indigo Chapters


Meet the Author:

Katherine Bogle’s debut young adult novel, Haven, came second in the World’s Best Story contest 2015. She currently resides in Saint John, New Brunswick with her partner in crime, and plethora of cats.


Connect with the author:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook


Aug 15 – FLY HIGH! – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 15 – ACReads – review
Aug 16 – Don’t Judge, Read – review / author interview / giveaway
Aug 16 – Celticlady’s Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 17 – T’s Stuff – book spotlight / interview / giveaway
Aug 17 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Aug 18 – Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
Aug 18 – Singing Librarian Books – review / giveaway
Aug 19 – 100 Pages A Day – review / giveaway
Aug 22 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Aug 22 – Library of Clean Reads – review / interview / giveaway
Aug 23 – Blooming with Books – review / giveaway
Aug 23 – – book spotlight / giveaway
Aug 24 – Lukten av Trykksverte – review / giveaway
Aug 25 – History from a Woman’s Perspective – review
Aug 26 – The Autistic Gamer – review
Aug 29 – Bookaholic Banter – review / interview / giveaway
Aug 30 – Haddie’s Haven – review
Aug 31 – JBronder Book Reviews – review / guest post
Sept 1 –  Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway
Sept 1 –  Olivia’s Catastrophe – review
Sept 1 –  Bookworm for Kids – review / giveaway
Sept 2 –  The Travelogue of a book addict – The Book Drealms – review / giveaway
Sept 2 –  All the Doodles ‘n Scribbles – review / interview / giveaway


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Book spotlight: Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff


Book Details:

Book Title:  Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall by Aaron Safronoff
Category:  YA fiction,  385 pages
Genre:  Fantasy Adventure
Publisher:  Neoglyphic Entertainment
Release date:  May 2016
Available for review in:  Print or ebook (gifted Kindle copy, ePub, PDF or mobi file)
Will send print books:  USA
Tour dates:  July 4 to 29, 2016
Content Rating:  PG (No sexual content, drugs or bad language. Some mild violence, and there is a death in the book.)


Book Description:

“Sunborn Rising: Beneath the Fall is the best vivid fantasy YA book of the year.” –Entrada Publishing

On a distant world of forests floating on an ocean around a star,
a blight threatens to plunge all life into darkness.
But three friends seek the light.
Together, they will Fall and be lost.
And at the very Root of darkness, they will find themselves.
But will it be enough to help them find their way home?

The world of Cerulean

Light and water flow from the ocean into the roots of the Great Trees, up through the boughs, and out over the lush canopy. But the once vibrant treescape has grown dim over generations of arboreal life, and the creatures of the forest have forgotten the light.

Barra, a young, willful Listlespur, finds her late father’s hidden journal, and reads about the old world and the mysterious plague her father believed destroyed it. He wrote that he warned the Elders. He urged them to take action. Those were his last words.

Together with her two best friends, Barra will explore every bark, wood, and leaf of the Great Forest to relight her world and complete her father’s story, even if she has to travel beneath the Fall.

Buy the book:   Amazon ~ Author Website

Watch the book trailer:

Aaron Safronoff

Meet the Author:

Aaron Safronoff is author of the Discovery Award winning science fiction novel, Spire. Since his debut, he’s published a sequel, Fallen Spire, and a novella of literary fiction, Evening Breezes.

Safronoff’s diverse background includes the formal study of computer science, bio-chemistry, and culinary arts. However, most of his career has been in the videogame industry in quality, production, and design.

Today, Safronoff is the co-founder and Chief Storyteller of Neoglyphic Entertainment, and is busy writing his fifth novel, the second installment of the Sunborn Rising series.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook


July 4 –   Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 4 –   A Bookworm’s Musing – review
July 4 –   Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review
July 5 –   Heidi’s Wanderings – review / giveaway
July 5 –   Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / guest post / giveaway
July 6 –   The Autistic Gamer – review
July 6 –   Discovering/Writing Life – review / author interview / giveaway
July 7 –   misty103 @ HubPages – review / author interview
July 7 –   Reading Authors – review / giveaway
July 8 – – book spotlight / giveaway
July 8 –   Science & Fiction – review / author interview
July 11 – Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway
July 11 – Room With Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 12 – Bookworm for Kids – review
July 12 – Book Reviews Nature Photos of Everything in Between – review
July 13 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review / giveaway
July 13 – Blooming with Books – review / giveaway
July 14 – fuonlyknew – review / giveaway
July 15 – BOOKSOMEREADS – review
July 15 – The Travelogue of a Book Addict – The Book Drealms – review / giveaway
July 18 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
July 18 – Puddletown Reviews – review / giveaway
July 19 – 100 Pages A Day – review / giveaway
July 20 – JBronder Book Reviews – review / giveaway
July 21 – Readers Muse – review / guest post
July 22 – 3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy , + Sissy, Too! – review / giveaway
July 25 – Tales of the Marvelous – review / author interview
July 26 – Brooke Blogs – review / guest post / giveaway
July 27 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – review / giveaway
July 28 – Life as Leels – review
July 29 – Pause for Tales – review
July 29 – New Horizon Reviews – review



1. Five winners will each receive a signed hardback copy of Sunborn Rising AND a free signed CD of the original musical soundtrack (open to USA only)

2. One winner will also win a 16’x20’ high quality (giclée) printed piece of the original art on canvas, signed by author Aaron Safronoff as well as Christopher Chamberlain the Art Director (valued at $100) – open to USA only

3. Ten winners will each get a gifted Kindle copy of Sunborn Rising with a $10 Amazon gift card AND a free digital download of the original musical soundtrack (open international)

Giveaway ends Aug 6, 2016.

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Book spotlight: The War of Words by Amy Neftzger

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Book Details:

Book Title:  The War of Words by Amy Neftzger
Category:  YA fiction, 330 pages
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Fields of Gold Publishing, Inc.
Release date:  March 3, 2016
Available for review in:  Print and ebook (ePUB and PDF)
Will send print books:  USA
Tour dates:  April 18 to May 13, 2016
Content Rating:  PG (No cursing, but some violence (a few battle scenes)

Book Description:  

Sometimes there’s no better way to understand reality than through fantasy, and the best way to find truth may be in a book – if you can find the right one.

Battles against darkness, a quest for truth, and a search for the book that no one can read are all part of the fantasy adventure in The War of Words. As an evil sorcerer wages war by using mysterious shadows and seeks to gain control by confusing the residents as to what’s real and what isn’t, the fate of the kingdom rests in the hands of Kelsey and Nicholas.

As the youngest officer in the king’s army, Kelsey fights the evil sorcerer s shadows on the battlefield as she explores the kingdom searching for the key to winning the war. Nicholas, a young sorcerer in training who is mastering his craft, discovers how the right words can change the course of the future.

Explore an enchanted maze, uncover the power of words, and learn about friendship in this whimsical tale.

Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Book Depository

Amy Neftzger author pic

Meet the author:

Amy Neftzger is the author of fiction books for both adults and children. She has also been published in business and academic journals, as well as literary publications.

A few of her favorite things include traveling, books, movies, art, the Oxford comma, and gargoyles.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook


April 18 – Tales of the Marvelous – review
April 18 – misty103 @ HubPages – review / author interview
April 18 – Moon Shine Art Spot – review / author interview / giveaway
April 19 – Readers’ Muse – review / guest post
April 20 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / guest post / giveaway
April 20 – Heidi’s Wanderings – review / giveaway
April 21 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway
April 21 – Sahar’s Blog – review
April 22 – – book spotlight / giveaway
April 25 – JBronder Book Reviews – review / author interview
April 26 – Bookroom Reviews – review / author interview
April 26 – Cover2Cover – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
April 27 – Discovering/Writing Life – review / author interview / giveaway
April 28 – The Autistic Gamer – review
April 29 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – review
May 2 –    Book reviews nature photos and everything in between – review
May 2 –    A Peek at My Bookshelf – review
May 3 –    Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – book spotlight / guest post
May 4 –    3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy , + Sissy, Too! – review / giveaway
May 5 –    Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway
May 6 –    Katie’s Clean Book Collection – book spotlight / giveaway
May 9 –    Bookworm for Kids – review / giveaway
May 10 –  Blooming with Books – review / giveaway
May 11 –  Pause for Tales – review
May 11 –  Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review
May 12 –  Singing Librarian Books – review / giveaway
May 12 –  A Mama’s Corner of the World – review / giveaway
May 13 –  Create With Joy – review / giveaway
May 13 –  Novel Escapes – review


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Book review: Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith


Book Details:

Book Title:  The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith
Category:  YA fiction, 292 pages
Genre:  Action Adventure/ Paranormal
Publisher:  Two Petals Publishing
Release date:  September 2015
Available for review in:  mobi file (for Kindle), ePub, PDF
Tour Dates:  Feb 29 – March 31, 2016
Content Rating:  PG (Action/ fight scenes, some violence)

Book Description: 

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses is an action-adventure story about five teen boys who are mysteriously exposed to a foreign energy source that gives them extremely heightened senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become hypersensitive gifts that forever change the world!

The story chronicles their effortless interrelations and later exposes the testing of their deep bonds, and introduces the reader to an array of supporting characters who alter the boys’ lives forever. The Urban Boys offers young and mature readers central themes of loyalty, responsibility, honesty, fear, and triumph, which become artfully integrated with cinematic-level action and high drama.

We wonder, will they pass the test of fate, and will each of us pass the test of our very own lives? Intriguing, intelligent, and full of action, The Urban Boys offers a memorable, emotion-packed, thrilling ride for traditional and digital readers of all ages! (first in a series)

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Praise for The Urban Boys:

“An energetic YA adventure debut with stellar action sequences. Smith’s writing is intelligent and often lyrical. Her exuberant prose never fails to dazzle.”- Kirkus Media

“Author K.N. Smith uses her mastery of the written word to weave an entrancing, yet powerful tale of adventure that keeps you turning pages in an unquenchable desire to find out what happens next. The author’s matchless prose details cinematic fight sequences and fully developed characterizations especially in a final, stupendous scene that will take your breath away and leave you limp with spent emotions. Five stars for this imaginative and inspiring story, sure to be as appealing to general audiences as it will be to the YA crowd!” 5-stars – Publishers Daily Reviews

“I LOVE to read, but live a hugely busy life. It gets more complicated upon that rare occasion when a book is so captivating, so enthralling, that it is impossible to walk away. With only definitive hours in a day, something has to give. For me, that was sleep! And it was worth every sacrificed minute. “The Urban Boys” was the grand slam home run and exceeded my wildest expectations and I would bet, maybe yours, as well. Totally new concepts and a rich crew of characters – good, bad and ugly… and suspenseful twists that keep you guessing, and such beautiful, strong writing! A must read for fans of YA action/adventure/fantasy!!” 5-stars – Indie Book Reviewers

See more reviews:

Book Trailer:

K.N. Smith author pic

Meet the author:

K.N. Smith is an American author and passionate advocate of childhood and family literacy programs throughout the world. She continues to inspire students of all ages to reach their highest potential in their literary and educational pursuits. Her creative, lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist, turn, and grind through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narratives. She lives with her family in California.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook


The premise of five young boys endowed with five different superpowers is an interesting one.  The overall theme of the book is “good against evil”.  The story’s setting takes place in Danville, a small utopian-themed town where everyone is kind and helpful and family relationships are tightly knit. Unbeknownst to the boys and citizens of Danville, however, the neighbouring town of Sandry Lake is experiencing decay and oppression inflicted by a dark overlord.

As much as I enjoy reading YA fiction, I felt bombarded by all the characters that were introduced early on in the plot.  I was completely lost and it took me until at least half way through the book to figure who was who.  There were a lot of unnecessary details in the plot that didn’t add to the storyline.  I was confused as I kept trying to ascertain the importance of these details to the overall plot.  I’m not sure if the author purposely had the book narrated like a storyteller recounting a fairytale but I kept hearing Vincent Price’s voice in my head as I kept on reading.

I feel that this story would make an excellent graphic novel.

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Book spotlight: At the Sharp End of Lightning (Oceanlight Book One) by N.R. Bates

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Book Details:

Book Title At the Sharp End of Lightning by NR Bates
Category:  YA fiction, 444 pages
Genre:  Fantasy / magic realism / sci fi
Publisher:  NR Bates Publishing
Release date:  October 2015
Available for review in:  Print, ebook, mobi file (for Kindle), gifted Kindle copy, ePub, PDF
Will send books:  USA & Canada
Tour dates: Jan 4 to 29, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13 (There is one f-word, but no other profanities, sex, violence)

Book Description:

AT THE SHARP END OF LIGHTNING. The interwoven fantastical tale of family, of loss and sacrifice, of unexpected gifts and coping with disability and new abilities set against the backdrop of climate change occurring across parallel worlds. In Oceanlight, Yalara Narika, a winged Sea Sprite, searches for her lover over immense seas only to find catastrophe and realization that her world is in turmoil.

Meanwhile in the safe suburban normality of North Wales, Einion Morgan Alban, a restless youth afflicted by a disease of the blood, is nearly murdered by a man in a white suit. Yalara and Einion must discover the causes of their near-deaths and their as yet unrevealed connections as they both face upheaval to their lives and their worlds.

Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble


Meet the author:

​NR Bates was born in London, grew up in Wales, and lived in Canada and Bermuda. He shares his life with his wife and his house with seven cats, one dog and the subtropical wildlife of lizards, wolf spiders and ant colonies that seek out a better life indoors.

He is an oceanographer and scientist, and has published more than one hundred and thirty scientific papers on ocean chemistry, climate change and ocean acidification. He is a Senior Scientist at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences and Professor of Ocean Biogeochemistry at the University of Southampton, UK.

​His novels focus on epic fantasy and magic realism, and inspired by his deep love of the ocean and environmental sciences. He has also recently published a small book of short-stories set in Paris, entitled “The Fall of Icarus (The Elevator, The Fall of Icarus, and The Girl)”.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Facebook


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Book spotlight: The Question: If You Could Have the Answer to Only One Question What Would You Ask? by R. Breuer Stearns


Book Details:

Book Title:  The Question:  If You Could Have the Answer to Only One Question What Would You Ask? by R. Breuer Stearns
Category:  Adult fiction, 270 pages
Genre:  Fantasy / adventure / thriller
Publisher:  CreateSpace
Release date:  May 15, 2015
Available for review in:  Print, ebook (PDF)
Will send books:  USA & Canada
Tour dates: Dec 1 to 31, 2015
Content Rating: PG-13 (The story contains some graphic violence and occasional sexual allusions.)

Book Description:

THE QUESTION invites readers to consider this premise:

If you could have the answer to one question, and only one question, what would you ask… and who would try to stop you from asking it? 
To what extremes would they go?
THE QUESTION is a thriller that explores a new way of thinking, a method powerful enough to answer very complex questions . . . perhaps powerful enough to solve the universe’s most fundamental mysteries . . . perhaps powerful enough to resolve religions’ most beguiling unknowns.

THE QUESTION is an adventure story . . . fiction that you may wish, may believe, may know, is true. The narrative occurs in the present, with scenes in California, Washington, D.C., Paris, Shanghai, New York, and Afghanistan.

The story is aimed at high-school and older readers and contains some graphic violence and occasional sexual allusions. The plot is action-oriented with an element of scientific fantasy, similar to Jack Finney’s “Time and Again.” The prose is crisply written, professionally edited, and organized into movie-scene chapters.

THE QUESTION is ideal reading for anyone who is curious . . . for those who gaze into the cosmos at night and wonder . . . for those who look into the mirror and imagine . . . for those whose hearts beat faster when confronting the unknown . . . for readers who enjoy a fast paced, contemporary thriller that inspires them to think.

Buy the book:   Amazon  ~  Book Depository

R. Breuer Stearns author pic

Meet the author:  

R. Breuer Stearns is an investor and author.

Mr. Stearns graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover (1970), Harvard University (AB, 1974), University of Chicago (MBA, 1977), and DePaul University College of Law (JD, 1979). He rapidly ascended on Wall Street in the 1980’s, serving as Managing Director, Mergers & Acquisitions at Lehman Brothers and Head of Investment Banking (North America) at UBS Securities.  While living in New York, he founded “Terrific Teachers, Inc.,” a foundation dedicated to identifying and rewarding the best of the best of the city’s public high school teachers.

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Stearns launched a private investment bank in the former Soviet Union.  He spent the early 1990’s seeking to marry emerging science, primarily emanating from Russia’s Defense sector, with Western capital.  During this period, Mr. Stearns made a small fortune, albeit from a larger one.  The venture provided a remarkable lesson in hubris, a tremendous reservoir of internal strength, and first-hand source material for Mr. Stearns’ first book, Winning Smart After Losing Big (Encounter Books, Beijing University Press).

Subsequently, Mr. Stearns served as Chief Financial Officer of The Dial Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of Columbia/HCA Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of PacifiCare, Inc., President and Chief Operating Officer of Vascular Genetics, Inc., and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quepasa Corporation (QPSA:Amex).

Mr. Stearns is a Founder of VestaPoint Capital LLC, a family of investment funds focused on real estate development.  He lives in Arizona with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and a horse.  He travels extensively and is intensely curious.

Connect with the author:   Website

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Book review: I Love My Pet Elephant by Lauren Micchelli


Book Details:

Book Title: I Love My Pet Elephant by Lauren Micchelli
Category:  Children’s fiction, 28 pages (aged 3-7)
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing
Release date: April 28, 2015
Available for review in: print
Will send books:  International
Tour dates: December 9 to 23, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:

A colorful tale of friendship and fun between a little girl and her best friend – her pet elephant! I Love My Pet Elephant is a delightful medley of reality and fantasy, with shenanigans and adventures brought to life through vibrant illustration and simple rhyming text.

Buy the book here:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Chapters/Indigo

Other children’s books by Lauren Micchelli

A unique book filled with quirky scenarios and colorful pictures. A twist on the ordinary, this story touches the imagination with an entertaining assortment of “what if” possibilities!
(ages 3-6)


The first book of the Maddie and Murphy series. Maddie’s dreams take her on different nighttime adventures. Accompanied by her dog, Murphy, Maddie finds herself where no child has gone before – the North Pole!  (ages 4-8)


Maddie gazes out her window at the night sky. As bedtime nears, Mom tells Maddie a secret- that a wish on a star could really come true!  An excited Maddie makes her wish – to go to the moon! What unfolds is so much more! (ages 4-8)
Buy Lauren Micchelli’s books on Amazon

Lauren Micchelli author pic

Meet the author:

Lauren Micchelli is a newly published author, having penned her first book in 2014. She has since continued the Snootzytime Adventures of Maddie and Murphy series, and went on to publish A Day Of What Ifs and I Love My Pet Elephant.

Impressively, she was the recipient of New Book Award 2015 for I Love My Pet Elephant.

​Lauren Micchelli grew up in West Caldwell, New Jersey and currently resides in northern New Jersey.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter

I forgot how much I enjoyed poetry!  What a delightful way to read to a child and instil in them the love of rhyme.  The illustrations were so so cute – I read through the book several times because I enjoyed them so much.  I particularly like the picture with the little girl getting a shower!  Is that too cute or what?
Written for children who age from 3-7, this sweet little tongue-in-cheek book will be a wonderful addition to a beginner’s library.

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Book review: Convergence by Trudie L. Hayes



Book Details:

Book Title:  Convergence by Trudie L. Hayes
Category:  Middle Grade fiction, 340 pages
Genre:  Thriller / Fantasy
Publisher:  Self
Release date:  August 2015
Available for review in:  Print, PDF
Will send print books:  USA & Canada
Tour dates:  October 12 to November 13, 2015
Content Rating:  G

Book Description:  

It was the first day of school and anxieties were running high. For certain​ ​there was the excitement of moving up a grade, but there was also the dread of anything and everything that could go wrong. Not only were the possibilities endless, they were totally out of your control. Whether or not you were accepted rested squarely on the shoulders of the popular kids. Suppose you were too short or too tall; too smart or not smart enough; too rich or too poor; or just plain different?

These thoughts were fresh on the minds of Otis, Chandler and Marissa. Three pre-teens whose paths had never crossed, although they lived in the same town in Connecticut. Their backgrounds were so diverse they may as well have lived worlds apart. That was all about to change when on their way to school a series of bizarre events lump them together. Literally!

Join them on this unreal journey to alternate realities never before re­vealed. Go back in time to a parallel past, the All Agos. Coexist in a present experience that mirrors your own, the Ne’er Now. Finally and with greater understanding, manifest in a future of your creation, the Will Be Once.

Then you will have come closer to achieving …as it should.

Trudie L. Hayes author pic

Meet the author:   

Trudie L. Hayes’ personal story and family life influenced her mission to spread the core values of self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-love to children and persons of all ages. An affiliation with physically and mentally disabled adults and children spanning many years is a major contributing factor. The caregiver role has been paramount throughout much of her life, even while furthering her education or working full-time in a corporate setting.

These experiences have given her a deep understanding of the trials and struggles associated with a compromised existence. As well as the inspiration and joy derived from living life to one’s personal best.

It is through these myriad life experiences that Hayes began writing and registering several related trademarks. With a grander vision of promoting confidence and self-worth.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Hayes still calls the Nutmeg State home. The oldest of two children, she remains close to her siblings. When Hayes is not writing or managing her business, she dedicates her time to other creative outlets and artistic pursuits. Hayes has a deep appreciation and passion for music in its many forms; she enjoys writing song lyrics, performing, and has an affinity for Jazz.

Connect with the author:    Website  ~  Twitter 

The first day of school is always nerve wracking but for the three young people in this story, their first day turns out to be more than they expected.  Melissa, Otis and Chandler soon discover that things aren’t always what they seem to be.  These three come from different backgrounds but soon they learn that they have more in common than they can ever imagine.
The premise of the story is an interesting one.  The author should be commended for a good plot.  However, I found myself struggling as the storyline lacked coherence.  Some parts of the story were just not believable – I won’t cite any instances because I don’t want to give away the plot.  Perhaps if I were a middle grade reader, I would find this more to my liking.

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