The Mystery Of The Lost Avenger by Linda Maria Frank

Good news for all Annie Tillery Mystery Followers. The Mystery Of The Lost Avenger (book 4) is finally here. This book educates young minds using this fictional mystery that involves NCIS investigating the crash site of a World War II plane.

Turns out the pilot was Annie Tillery’s great-grandmother Charlotte who was a test pilot for Grumman and actually flew in battle. Annie, her mother Carol are intrigued by Charlotte’s note and decide to dig through the old family attic to see what they can find out about this mysterious family member. What they discover in the attic only adds to the mystery and soon Annie suspects that Charlotte’s ghost is reaching out to them from beyond the grave with an important message.

Annie’s decides to get her boyfriend Ty Egan who happens to be a pilot involved. Here is their conversation.

“Ty, you won’t believe what Mom has been telling me about a mystery concerning my great-grandmother. Mom, this is your story, and maybe Ty can see something we don’t. Can you fill him in on the details, so far? I’m just hearing this story for the first time, too.”

“Well, let me start with . . .” She shuffled the papers in her lap. “Here’s the letter we received from the Department of the Navy. And here’s a copy of a note we found in the plane. The note is written on some sort of a company form with and identification number on it. The number belonged to Charlotte, my grandmother.”

“I also have a letter from the Naval Crime Investigation Service about the condition of the plane where they found the note, and the pilot they found in the wreckage. There are skeletonized remains of a person whose identity they are trying to confirm. They know who flew the plane when it went missing, but they must confirm that it is that person. It is a woman.”

Mom added a new thought, “You know, it’s ironic. Charlotte did die in a plane crash many years later. She continued to fly recreationally after the war. When I went to Maryland to see if there was any record of her time at Grumman, I found these letters in the house where Charlotte spent her last years.”

Students and young adults of all ages will enjoy The Mystery Of The Lost Avenger. Although a series each book is unique and stands alone with no need to read in a particular sequence.

Theodocia McLean endorses The Mystery Of The Lost Avenger and all the books in the Annie Tillery Mysteries by Linda Maria Frank. This review was completed on June 24, 2016.

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Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys by Linda Maria Frank

Annie Tillery Mysterys book three ‘Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys’ can be summed up as Indiana Jones meets Nancy Drew with the skills and precision of CSI. A mystery unfolds amidst a mix of ancient history and modern innovation, in an ageless Eastern country where time moves at a camel’s pace.

Dedicated research by author Linda Maria Frank leaves no stone unturned while great description text transports the reader to the streets of Turkey with it mosques and minarets, towers and modern buildings. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “Water droplets plunked into the pool from the vaulted ceiling. After the heat of the bazaar and the street chase, it was deliciously cool. Ornate columns with carved capitals supported the ceiling. The bases were decorated with animal and human figures. There were a few visitors, but the enormity of the space muffled their conversations.”

Strong characters with great dialog brings us to dusty archeological site in one of the oldest towns in human history called Catalhoyuk. Nothing can explain it better than this quote: “We were in a valley of shapes I couldn’t believe were not made by humans, humans with a fabulous imagination. Conical formations called fairy chimneys in various sizes spread away from us in every direction. The color of bleached bones, they sat majestically among the gray-green brush and white claylike soil. The air shimmered from the heat. I could smell the odor of clay mixed with a faint herbal scent that must have come from the brush.”

Cosponsors from Vermont University are looking for a DNA connection between residents of Catalhoyuk and our original nomadic ancestors in Africa. Annie Tillery and her team go to work excavating this archeological site with all its inherit dangers and a mystery brings out the detective in Annie.

From the spell of an Ouija board to a magical balloon ride in the sky nothing is lost as this time and space makes all their senses come alive with amazing black and white graphics that bring the main characters to life.

Students and young adults of all ages will enjoy Annie Tillery Mysteries. Although a series each book is unique and stands alone with no need to read in a particular sequence.

Theodocia McLean endorses ‘Secrets In The Fairy Chimneys’ and the Annie Tillery Mysteries by Linda Maria Frank. This review completion date February 5, 2015.

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Girl With Pencil, Drawing by Linda Maria Frank

Annie Tillery Mysterys book two Girl with Pencil, Drawing is a spectacular read for students and young adults of all ages. Each book in the Annie Tiller Mystery Series is unique and stands alone with no need to read in a particular sequence.

The story line in ‘Girl with Pencil, Drawing’ by Author Linda Maria Frank draws the young reader into an adventure where young Annie Tillery goes for her first art lesson at a prestigious Art Gallery. With youthful exuberance and an eagerness to advance her drawing skills Annie arrives early. When she enters the studio she overhears a heated argument between two people who turn out to be her Art Instructor Francesca Gabrielli and the Art Gallery Director John DiCristiani.

Annie’s empathy for others and her sleuth personally draws her into a murder mystery when John DiCristiani turns up dead and Francesca Gabrielli is the prime suspect, Annie enlists the help of her Aunt Jill who is a NYPD Detective to help clear her new found friend and art mentor’s name.

With strong characters, flowing dialog and layers of mystery, soon everyone is caught up in a real who-dun-it that involves a long lists of suspects and hidden clues. Twists and turns with all the dangers that come into play when an International Art Fraud has been perpetrated.

I invite you to go beyond this headline: “Manhattan Business-Man Found Slain in Chelsea. John DiCristiani, a wealthy business man, whose financial interests reached as far as Hong Kong and Istanbul, was found shot to death in his posh apartment overlooking the Hudson River. Mr. DiCristiani’s body was found by an employee from his Soho gallery. The police questioned the employee, Ms. Francesca Gabrielli, at headquarters, but subsequently released her. Police would only confide that the murder weapon was found at the scene and that all other leads were being investigated. Mr. DiCristiani is survived by a son, Mark, twenty-five, a law student at New York University.”

Learn the ins and out of the art world that include how scientists tests for authenticity in original paintings by world renown artist like Renoir and the lucrative forgeries that make this underworld as treacherous as any international mob association.

Follow the clues, wait for the DNA evidence and sift through the ashes left by an arsonist. Inspire a young reader to discover the innate detective skills of Annie Tillery who is fast becoming the next Nancy Drew. This series should be placed on our schools’ summer reading list.

Theodocia McLean endorses ‘Girl with Pencil, Drawing’ and the Annie Tillery Mysteries by Linda Maria Frank. This review was completed on March 24, 2015.

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The Madonna Ghost by Linda Maria Frank

Come on vacation with Annie Tillery and her Aunt Jill to Long Island’s Fire Island. Stand with Annie on the Ferry and recall what she sees; “Looking out across the Great South Bay, I could see Fire Island in the distance, a long stretch of dunes and scrub pines across the horizon. At the western end of the island, was the black and white striped tower of Fire Island lighthouse, blinking away. Sailboats maneuvered across the dark blue waters of the bay in ballerina fashion, their sails puffed out by the wind like dancers’ gauzy skirts.”

Walk along the boardwalk which “opens onto a broad cement lane where homey little cottages, each with a tiny garden” stretch as far as the eyes can see. Relax with Annie and Aunt Jill in the charm of “Windalee” one of the oldest houses on the island where secret a secret passage was used to smuggle liquor onto Long Island in the twenties. The Long Island coastland has always been the perfect environment for shipwrecks, lost treasure, pirates, bootleggers, drug runners, kidnapping and terrorists.

Learn the history of settlers coming to Long Island as far back as the early 1800s and how Fire Island got its name. Become aware that men, women and children enduring treacherous seas in wooden ships came to Fire Island and some were forced to wade cold ocean water to make it to Bay Shore. Join Annie and TY on their quest to see ‘The Madonna Ghost’ as past accounts and island legend recalls seeing her walking on the Bay Shores in the mist of the salt water air to protect the grave of her infant child who perished while she was trying to make it to shore.

Mystery and suspense develops when Annie discovers that her Aunt Jill, who is a NYPD detective is not really on vacation, but working an active case. Watch Annie’s sleuth abilities interrupt her own vacation when her beloved Aunt Jill is missing and some unscrupulous neighbors beside “Windalle” are on the top of her short list.

Enjoy a youthful budding romance and see for yourself that “Fire Island must indeed be a paradise where dreams come true.”

Annie Tillery Mysterys book two ‘The Madonna Ghost’ is an enjoyable read for students and young adults of all ages. Each book in the Annie Tiller Mystery Series is unique and stands alone with no need to read in a particular sequence. Author Linda Maria Frank uses her own background in forensic science, great research, delightful writing skills, intensive character development and interesting dialog to keep her readers engaged in each one of her mysteries. The Annie Tillery Mystery series should be placed on our schools’ summer reading list.

Theodocia McLean endorses ‘The Madonna Ghost’ and the Annie Tillery Mysteries by Linda Maria Frank. This review completion date March 27, 2015.

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Just Say Mikey by Clint Adams

Just Say Mikey…an incredible journey from the insidious grips of fear…to the elation of ultimate freedom.

In today’s world, a climate dominated by technological advancements, it may be time to play spiritual “catch up.” Upgrades provide infinite options, but now more than ever people are finding one, single enhancement to be the most important they will ever implement, the elimination of fear from their lives.

Miguel, the central character in this mainstream novel for adults and young adults is unique, yet he shares a trait common to many children; a lifetime measured by days instead of years. Miguel happens to live with the skin-blistering disease Epidermolysis Bullosa, but he spends little time thinking about it. For Miguel, living with fear is far more deadly than this potentially fatal disease that encompasses his life.

Miguel happens to command an extraordinary ability to view life as few others do, with razor-sharp insights and an unwavering spiritual conviction that all things are possible to those who believe. The action in this novel revolves around Miguel’s many changes and transformations as he comes to realize that he was put on earth for a purpose, to teach others about the enormous power of belief and faith (in themselves)…just as ( Miguel believes) God intended.

Just Say Mikey is told solely through Miguel’s point of view, yet it is not a children’s (juvenile or middle-grade) book.

Opposing perspectives dominate the three main characters in this book. The protagonist, of course, is Miguel, a boy who is open to change, open to any new ways of keeping himself alive. Throughout the course of this story Miguel learns and applies these new ways taught to him by his Aunt Shirley (Kirkland), a woman who may be thought of as eccentric, revolutionary, and wise all at once. The antagonist is fear itself, personified in this story by Miguel’s mother, Shirley’s sister, Sharon Kirkland-Estes, a woman who loves her son dearly, but happens to be paralyzing him with her imposing fears and (dis)beliefs.

The geographical setting is comprised of three radically different environments within the San Francisco Bay Area, all in present-day. First is the luxurious, opulent, thirtieth-floor Nob Hill (San Francisco) apartment in which Miguel and his mother live. Second is Aunt Shirley’s serenely beautiful and sanctuary-like house in the Berkeley hills. Third is the hygienic and medicinal world of the Lucille Salter Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University (Palo Alto/Menlo Park). Many other Bay Area locales are significantly featured: Big Sur, Bodega Bay, Golden Gate Park, Marin County, and more.

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My Watch Doesn’t Tell Time by Clint Adams

“What if time runs out?” is the question that makes 14-year old Miguel Estes sweat every night. Miguel’s certain of three things though: he’s here to learn lessons, he lives with a fatal form of the skin-blistering disease E.B., and the clock never stops ticking. In his quest to learn everything from the challenging life he’s been given, Miguel discovers who’s responsible for time being over.

My Watch Doesn’t Tell Time is the third in a series of muti-cultural, fear-eliminating teen novels, which includes Fear Ain’t All That and Don’t Be Afraid of Heaven.

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Fear Ain’t All That by Clint Adams

How in the world did fear ever become so popular, especially when it never should have existed in the first place?

Why were we put here to do what we want, if we end up being too afraid to do it?

For some who read FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT, learning to exist without fear is an option. For twelve-year old Miguel Estes, it’s a necessity. Miguel happens to live with a fatal form of the skin-blistering disease E.B., yet believing he’ll have a future is what sustains him. “The longer you keep your To Do list, the longer you’ll have to hang around to get everything done,” says Miguel’s Aunt Shirley.

Through his insightful aunt, through his dreams about his brother Jorge in heaven, and through the challenging lessons he’s chosen to learn, Miguel is able to eliminate nearly every fear within him-all that’s left is his mighty power of belief. In the end, Miguel is the ultimate victor; he realizes he’s living life the way it was meant to be lived without fear.

FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT (review): In Fear Ain’t All That, Clint Adams has crafted a beautiful, very touching book, full of wisdom about life: Becoming comfortable at being different; Dealing with anger; Staying with hope; and most important, creating one’s own destiny. I couldn’t put it down, and strongly recommend it to both young people and adults. – Carla Perez, M.D., 13-year talk show host, ABC-Radio practicing psychiatrist for over thirty years FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT is the prequel to DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN, two multicultural fear-eliminating novels for teens.

AUTHOR INFO: Born in Oakland, California, Clint Adams, now lives in Viareggio, Italy. Having authored numerous academic publications while at the Washington Post and McGraw-Hill, Clint now actively markets his two fear-eliminating novels for teens, FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT and its sequel, DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN. Before writing, Clint was a professional actor with over 100 credits in TV, film, and theatre. Clint earned a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of California at Berkeley, and his master’s in marketing from San Francisco’s Golden Gate University.

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Don’t Be Afraid of Heaven by Clint Adams

How in the world did fear ever become so popular, especially when it never should have existed in the first place?

Why were we put here to do what we want, if we end up being too afraid to do it? In DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN, 13-year old Miguel Estes feels that being “scared to death,” and having “the life scared out of me,” are no longer just tired, old expressions, they’ve become part of a world-wide epidemic. Now rid of the fears that once paralyzed him, Miguel decides to help others eliminate theirs; he founds F.A.A.T. (Fear Ain’t All That), an after-school group with his eccentric but wise Aunt Shirley.

In its first meeting Miguel befriends Samantha, a girl diagnosed as having an exotic variety of phobias, fears, and anxieties. With a fierce determination, Miguel helps Samantha rid her life of one debilitating fear after another. Together, Miguel and Samantha learn much about life, fear, and death. Revelations from Aunt Shirley, and recurrent dreams of his brother Jorge (who already lives in heaven), also remind Miguel that “heaven is a far better place than here. It’s nothing to be afraid of; it’s the perfect place to be. Everything about it is perfect.”

After undergoing a radical transformation, a stronger-than-ever-before Samantha, grows to be ill. As her condition worsens, Aunt Shirley informs Miguel that the greatest lesson he can possibly share with his dear friend is to help her be unafraid of going to heaven. Of course he’s uncertain about accepting this task. But, paradoxically, it ends up being Samantha who teaches Miguel. Prior to leaving, Samantha feels only joy, excitement, and relief about her upcoming journey; Miguel, due to Samantha’s experience, becomes unafraid of his own mortality. Samantha, now completely fearless, moves on; although left behind, Miguel celebrates Samantha’s life as well as her death.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN is the sequel to FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT, two multicultural fear-eliminating novels for teens.

AUTHOR INFO: Born in Oakland, California, Clint Adams, now lives in Viareggio, Italy. Having authored numerous academic publications while at the Washington Post and McGraw-Hill, Clint now actively markets his two fear-eliminating novels for teens, FEAR AIN’T ALL THAT and its sequel, DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEAVEN. Before writing, Clint was a professional actor with over 100 credits in TV, film, and theatre. Clint earned a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of California at Berkeley, and his master’s in marketing from San Francisco’s Golden Gate University.

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Welcome To Harmony: A Tale From The Town Of Harmony by Dan Trumpis

Being twelve years old is already hard enough. Being a werewolf makes it even harder. Dillon Howell and his parents have just moved to Harmony, a small town in Northern California. Like all kids, he just wants to fit in and make friends, while keeping his “condition” a secret, of course. But Dillon quickly finds out he’s not the only person in town who isn’t what he appears to be. Welcome to Harmony, Dillon Howell. Your life is about to change forever.

Book Review For Welcome To Harmony by Dan Trumpis

The township of Harmony in Northern California could be like any small town in America, but it isn’t. Like in most small towns secrets are desperately tried to be kept and the Harmony forest is the keeper of many secrets. For Dillon Howell moving to Harmony with his parents gives him a new chance to fit in and make new friends. If just being a teenager isn’t enough of a challenge for Dillion, being a Werewolf presents its own set of challenges. As Dillion and his family settle into the normal day-to-day life at home and at school the supernatural forces in the dark forest beckon to him and he finds that he is not the only one in this town with a secret. Come with Dillon to Harmony and see what life has in store.

Theodocia McLean endorses ‘Welcome To Harmony’ by Dan Trumpis. The author skillfully writes this epic middle grade fantasy (PG) in a way that encourages teens to read. Life in Harmony might mirror their life in some routine ways and then again it might just be a little darker, more intense, and hairier than normal. This review was completed on November 6, 2014.

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Talon, Come Fly With Me by Gigi Sedlmayer

Talon, come fly with me is a delightful middle grade story set in Peru with a family of condors and missionary Australians.

Is it possible for condors to understand humans?

Suspend your beliefs and watch how an under-size girl, Matica, finds friends with a family of condors, after being rejected by the Indians because of her size.

There are beautiful descriptions of the flight of the condors, and more so when Talon is cared for by Matica. The language suits this age group and does not talk down to the reader.

This is a great inspirational story for everyone. It will lift you up and make you believe in adventures, friendships, acceptance in a whole new light.

Come and take the journey that is called Matica’s life. It is filled with rejections, heartbreaks, growth and loneliness, but through it all, it will make you feel stronger.

Talon, Come Fly With Me is the first book in this series and you will be blown away!!!

In a world full of pain this story gives ones hope.

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Bloody Klondike Gold: A Randi Braveheart Mystery Short Story by A. K. Taylor

A summer trip to the Klondike can be deadly…

Randi and her friend go to the Mineral Creek mining claim in the Klondike to visit her father during the mining season. Sabotage, theft, and a death threat turn wilderness summer fun and normal mining operations into a fight for survival…

Bloody Klondike Gold is an introductory short story to the new Randi Braveheart Mystery Series by award winning Teen/YA author A.K. Taylor! Stay tuned for the first installment To Catch a Catfish coming in 2017.

Book Review

Short stories are to an avid reader like chocolate to sweet tooth. Bloody Klondike Gold by A. K. Taylor is a short Story introduction to the Randi Braveheart action suspense mystery thriller series.

Two teenage friends, Randi and Brittany drive the long 2, 700 mile trek from San Francisco to southeast Alaska. Randi’s father, William Wallace Braveheart was already on location as his reputation for finding gold at any location made him a valuable asset.

Mining communities are tight knit as the environment, equipment and the mining processes inherit dangers make mining for Gold a driving force with the claim crews but also a draw for the darker side of human nature.

The summer starts out as an adventurous vacation with Randi dreaming of fishing in cool streams to a mining community’s worst nightmare.

If you enjoyed Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mysteries then I invite you to read ‘Bloody Klondike Gold’ to prepare for ‘To Catch A Catfish’ scheduled for release in 2017. If this short story is any indication of what is to come with ‘To Catch A Catfish’ then prepare yourself for an action packed, suspense mystery thriller.

Theodocia McLean endorses Bloody Klondike Gold: A Randi Braveheart Mystery Short Story as the introduction to A. K. Taylor’s new action suspense mystery thriller series coming soon. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on September 23, 2016.

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HYM and HUR by Phillip Frey

Hym and Hur are a young couple who never age and have been in love for more than a century. They also possess an array of magical abilities, two of which are either to play pranks on humankind or to perform good deeds. Enacting both at the same time is now what gets them into trouble, especially since it’s the unruly character of Death they must deal with to bring their plans to fruition.

The prank Hym and Hur have come up with must first be agreed upon by Death, who happens to be a rambunctious, difficult character. Once agreed upon, the prank is set in motion. Hym and Hur soon discover Death had tricked them into a contract with dire consequences for all of us.

During their attempt to break the contract, Hym and Hur try to save the relationship of an earthbound couple, knowing they are truly meant for each other. A good deed that will bring Hym and Hur even more trouble.

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Free To Be Me: A Book For Teens & Tweens by Tara L. Kay PharmD MBA

Free To Be Me: A Book For Teens & Tweens by Tara L. Kay PharmD MBA

Being a teenager has its ups and downs. Being stuck between childhood and adulthood, it’s hard to know where to fit in. It’s an awkward and insecure time of life. There is the desire for independence coupled with a fear of standing out. Free to Be Me: A Book for Teens and Tweens uses relatable cartoon characters to discuss real issues such as stress, peer pressure, bullying, and teen fears. It also offers constructive ways adults can better support teens.

Free to Be Me validates the thoughts and experiences teens face on a day-to-day basis. While individual experiences may differ, the overall issues faced do not. Hopefully, the discussions within the book’s pages prove helpful not just to teens but also to the adults in their worlds.

Book Review: This small book is packed with information for teens and tweens.

The ‘Free To Be Me’ book cover along with the illustrations inside the book are hand drawn.

Great Advice For Teens Quote: “Embrace Your Individually”.

Subjects Covered:

  • What Issues Are Important To You As A Teen?
  • Stress
  • Bullying
  • Peer Pressure
  • Are These Issues Gender, Race, Socio-Economic Or Demographically Specific?
  • What Is Your Biggest Fear Or Concern As A Teen?
  • What Can Adults Do To Support Teens Better?
  • What Programs or Systems Could Be Implemented To Support Teens Better?

My thoughts: This book is as much for parents as for teens. The best scenario would be for a teens and parents to read this book together and have open and safe dialog. In addition, I think adults who work with tweens and teens such as school teachers, school counselors, church leaders, scout leaders, civic organization youth leaders, librarians and all care givers should make this book available to youth and provide a safe place for discussion.

I (Theodocia McLean) endorse Free To Be Me: A Book For Teens and Tweens by Tara L. Kay PharmD MBA. When you purchase this book for your teen please download the author’s first book titled ‘Let The Sun Shine In: A Book Of Positive Affirmations For Kids’. As a grandmother I have purchased both these books and highly recommend them. I purchased this book from Kindle on May 11, 2017 and the review completed on May 24, 2017.

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Let The Sun Shine In: A Book Of Positive Affirmations For Kids
by Tara L. Kay PharmD MBA

Inspired by Louise Hay’s message, “Your thoughts create your life”, Let the Sun Shine In was created as a tool for children to learn and understand that they have control over their thoughts and words and, ultimately, what happens in their life.

Within the pages of Let the Sun Shine In, kids will learn the difference between negative thoughts and positive affirmations. Child-inspired illustrations and simple text demonstrate how to make the change from negative thoughts and words to positive ones. The happiness, freedom, and confidence that come from this ability are beneficial for children for their entire lives!

Genre: Children’s Non-Fiction

Book Review:  From a Grandmother’s point of view the book cover and title got my attention right away.

The title “Let The Sun Shine In” is above a child’s drawing of two children standing on a green landscape with flowers and blue clouds with the sun’s yellow rays permeating their world brought a smile to my face.

No greater time has our children, grandchildren and adults needed “Positive Affirmations”. The very fact that LifeRich Publishing (trademark of the Reader’s Digest Association Inc.) picked up this book tells me that they have put their stamp of approval on this book.

Author Tara L. Kay PharmD MBA, dedicates this book, “For the children-may you always cherish the gift of your uniqueness, and know that only you define you.”

Simple, positive life affirmations fill 24 white pages of this book with beautiful, colorful childrens’ drawings (with actual words from the children) will uplift children and adults. The drawing on each page has a border that makes me think they should be sewn into a patch work quilt. My grand-kids will love this book. Every child needs to read and hear these positive affirmations every day.

Tara L. Kay is a licensed clinical pharmacist who has been practicing for over fifteen years in various settings. Additionally, Tara is a certified Reiki master of Dr. Usui’s System of Natural Healing, and she has certification in craniosacral therapy with the Upledger Institute. Tara also practices EFT/tapping, a hands-on healing technique that balances and realigns energy. Tara incorporates alternative therapies into the scope of her practice as a pharmacist to improve the health and well-being of her clients. Tara strives to educate her clients and to facilitate their physical, spiritual, and emotional health and growth as they move along their own path toward enlightenment.

I (Theodocia McLean) endorse ‘Let The Sun Shine In: A Book Of Positive Affirmations For Kids’ by Tara L. Kay PharmD MBA. I purchased this book from Kindle and the review was completed on July 31, 2016.

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Cold Coffee Press Spotlight Interview With Author Tara L. Kay PharmD MBA

Tara Kay grew up in Southern Connecticut and currently resides in North of Boston, Massachusetts. She has been a practicing pharmacist for over 15 years in various settings. Tara received her Bachelors in Pharmacy from the University of Connecticut at Storrs, her PharmD from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy/Allied Health, her MBA from Fairfield University and her Ayurvedic Health Practitioner certification from the Natural Healing College. Additionally, Tara is a certified Reiki Master of Dr. Usui’s System of Natural Healing and she has certification in Cranio-sacral Therapy with the Upledger Institute. Tara also practices EFT/Tapping, a hands on healing technique that balances and realigns energy.

Tara incorporates Alternative Therapies into the scope of her practice as a Pharmacist to improve the health and well-being of her clients. Tara strives to educate her clients and to facilitate their physical, spiritual and emotional health and growth as they move along their own path towards enlightenment.

Tara’s practice is inspired by her life-long commitment to health and wellness. She is a dedicated, compassionate and devoted healthcare professional and healer. She takes a unique approach to healing with each client based on their need by using both her knowledge of medications, herbs and supplements and Alternative Therapies.

Tara believes that each individual holds the power to heal themselves and that by honoring the body, mind and spirit many miraculous awakenings can occur.

Tara published her first book entitled, “Let the Sun Shine in, a book of positive affirmations for kids” in June 2016. It was inspired by Louise Hay’s message, “your thoughts create your life, as well as Tara’s own experience with positive affirmations.

Interview:

What makes you proud to be a writer from Massachusetts? The North Shore is an incredibly beautiful and inspiring place to live. I feel very fortunate to have moved here 6 years ago. It is a summer destination for many avid beach goers and outdoor enthusiasts, of which I am one and it also offers many cultural, educational and social activities.

What or who inspired you to become a writer? I believe my writing endeavor was divinely inspired. I have been a pharmacist for over 15 years and I have incorporated a number of alternative methods into my practice along the way. My focus has always been on health and wellness. While I have benefited from the messages and teachings of authors such as Louise Hays, I never thought about writing. After my divorce, I began using positive affirmations on a daily basis to help me through my healing process. Earlier this year, I took an amazing trip to South Africa where I was deeply moved by Nelson Mandela’s story. I returned home, sat down one evening and wrote the first draft of my book.

Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and did you use it to your advantage? I’ve always had an awareness level beyond my years. I knew this even as a child but didn’t fully understand it. I grew up in a home with a very controlling father and a mother whose voice was rarely heard. I can’t say my upbringing played a conscious role in my writing but it obviously sparked something within me.

When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? I returned home from an amazing trip to South Africa at the end of January 2016. In February, I left a job of 8.5years, started a new job and moved. During this time of transition, I came home from work one night and wrote the first draft manuscript. By the beginning of March the illustrations were complete. I secured a publisher at the end of March.

What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? The outpouring of support, encouragement, enthusiasm and excitement. This is my first book. I realize it will be for some and not for others. I’m ok with that. I know in my heart that it will get into the hands of those that need and desire it.

What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? Navigating the world of self-publishing. At first it seemed overwhelming but I had the pleasure of working with a great team at Life Rich Publishing. They guided me step by step and made the process seamless.

How many published books do you have? Two.

Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Free To Be Me: A Book For Teens & Tweens by Tara L. Kay PharmD MBA

What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Believe you can and you will.

Who is your favorite author and why? Harper Lee because she never gave up on her dream of being a writer. She persevered at a time when women’s rights are not what they are today. She achieved great honor and success and yet never got caught up in it.

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Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 1) by A. K. Taylor

Winner of the 2012 Indie Reader Approved Award

Nominated as “A Great Book for Kids” by fantasy and science fiction reviewer CC Cole

What if the fate of two worlds were in the hands of one person: you?

The childhood secret of a troubled teen warrior is used against her by her enemies. It turns out what Neiko imagined is real, and she becomes trapped in the same world she imagined by an otherworldly evil that is worse than the devil. Getting home is the least of her problems.

The Indians and the Crackedskulls are locked in the turmoil of a war that has raged for centuries, and it is presently in a stalemate. Her enemies, Raven and Bloodhawk, have come up with a scheme to take her down, but in doing so they inadvertently open the door to another universe and to an otherworldly evil. Neiko later finds out that a land she thought she had only imagined is actually real and the dark being is not a figment of her childhood imagination-he is terrifyingly real and she faces him for the first time. To make matters worse, it is now in her world and he has evil plans especially for her.

After several standoffs with the malevolent Ramses the Dark Pharaoh in Hawote, she is trapped in Qari by his strange and powerful magic. Trapped in another universe in a place that is not exactly the way she imagined it, and she must somehow find a way to teleport home. That is easier said than done; the odds are overwhelmingly against her and her scorpion-cobra companion as they must travel to find the answer and help but at the same time avoid Ramses’ allies, traps, and tricks. Can she come back home and turn the tables on her enemies?

Best for tweens and teens 12-17 and the young at heart adult!

Book Review

I can’t begin to imagine A. K. Taylor as a young girl writing fascinating fantasy tales like Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (Neiko Adventure Saga Book One). Granted as an adult the author has revised this teen writing project and added the wisdom and balance of being a grown, educated and married woman.

Take a moment and think back to your childhood bedroom. Recall your favorite toys, the ones you played with the most and the ones that caused you some discomfort in the dark. Now imagine your bedroom transformed into a fantasy land were you were called upon to battle for the good and defeat evil between reality and imaginary. What if you found out those imaginary worlds and the people/creatures in it were real and you became trapped there? Some things you imagined were incorrect. What would you do?

Neiko’s has one foot in reality and the other where she is Captain Neiko Kidd, commanding officer of the Desert Storm Falcons a hidden world that coexists with the known one. These woodland warriors battle with the Crackedskulls and it has to be done before supper.

I always like to share a quote from each book that I review, not to spoil, but to engage. Now imagine yourself back as a teen trying to communicate with your mom and see if it would go something like this:

“Well, here goes nothing,” said Neiko as she walked down the hall. She was trying to measure up what to say to her mother about what happened. She sat down at the table and waited for her mom to hand her dinner. They prayed, and after they finished, Neiko began eating.

“I wonder where your daddy is,” her mom said, trying to break the silence.

“I don’t know, probably got held up at LP again,” Neiko replied with a mouth full of cabbage.

“Is there something on your mind? You’re awfully quiet.”

“Yeah, um—did you hear anything strange—like in my room… like metal hitting the wall or something?”

“No, why?”

“I was just wondering because a couple of strange things happened a few minutes ago.”

“Like what?”

“Well—like…um—I was playing with Ramses, and when he hit the wall he clanged, and then I tried to bring him in the toy box; I missed, and he hit the side and said ‘Ow’.”

“Who is Ramses?”

“One of my toys—the guy with the shiny armor.”

“Amanda,” she groaned in an aggravated manner, then said gently, “Oh—yeah— well… that’s nice, dear.”

“Mom, I ain’t makin’ this up. It really happened.”

“That’s really using your imagination. Did this happen during a battle?”

“No! This wasn’t pretend—this was real. Like in real life,” Neiko stammered.

“Oh, well, that’s a really nice joke—”

“I’m not joking—and I haven’t even laughed about it. If I was joking, then I would be laughing my head off.”

“Has he ever done this before?” “No.”

“Did he come with any special real-life sounds or anything?”

“No, he was just a plain toy. I’ve had him for a long time, and I’ve played with him a million times, and it’s never happened before—never mind, let’s talk about something else.”

The question begs to be answered, would your Mom believe you? What if your real or imaginary friends reveled in the fact that your Mom just didn’t understand.

I encourage teens and young adults to read ‘Neiko’s Five Land Adventure’ and learn from a peer that you must have courage and the strength to face the odds and fight for what you believe. Teens will enjoy this book and perhaps it will encourage them to write about their toys and action figures that seem to at times, take on a life of their own.

This book was winner of the ‘2012 Indie Reader Approved Award’ and this book was nominated as “A Great Book for Kids” by fantasy and science fiction reviewer CC Cole

Author A. K. Taylor created the Map of Hawote/Georgia and the Map of Qari and has been writing and drawing since the age of sixteen. She worked with another artist to create the 23 black and white photos that help bring the story to life IN THE Sixty-five chapters. There are also letters and an amazing log titled “Neiko’s Log” at the end of this book which details, people, places and events. This log will help young readers as this series continues.

For parents: The author grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections. She has her degree from University of Georgia with a biology degree. I think she is a good role model for teens and young adults.

Theodocia McLean endorses Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 1) by A. K. Taylor and encourage teens and young adults to read Neiko’s Five Land Adventure (Book One), Escape from Ancient Egypt (Book Two), The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide and her latest book title Bloody Klondike Gold. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. This review was completed on October 20, 2016.

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A Regency Yuletide by Becky Lower

After a disappointing season in London, Sophie Davenport returns home without a marriage proposal. No sooner does she settle back into her country life than she learns her uncle has arranged for her to marry the local vicar’s son, a respectable and utterly forgettable man. He’s returning home immediately after the Christmas holiday and they will wed. She sets about making this last Christmas with just she and her mother memorable.

Jeremy Wyatt hatches a plan to help his friend Thomas and his love, Emma, escape to Gretna Green and marry before her father comes after them. What he’s really doing is avoiding heading to his parents’ home, where he is the son who is always making the wrong choices. But their carriage becomes hopelessly mired in the mud from the incessant rains so Jeremy sets off to find shelter for them at the first house he comes to.

Sophie welcomes the wet and weary travelers, and her mother agrees to house them temporarily until they can free the carriage. Sophie forms a bond not only with Emma, but with Jeremy. However despite the sparks they ignite in each other, they have to maintain their separate paths.

But love and mistletoe have a way of upsetting even the best-laid plans.

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Escape From Ancient Egypt (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 2) by A. K. Taylor

Winner of the Bronze Medal Award and Best in YA Historical Fantasy in the 2013 Wisebear Book Awards!

Winner of the UP Authors Approved Award for the 2013 Fiction Challenge!

**Top 50 Amazon Bestseller in Teen and Young Adult Science Fiction/Fantasy Time Travel and Teen and Young Adult Action Adventure categories!

When being stuck in the past has a whole new meaning…

What if your worst enemy sent you on a one-way ticket to the past? Worse, later he shows up and tries to play match-maker with a dominant historical figure while all of history and the future are on the line? Survival is just one problem, but then add your friends into the mix…

Following an intense battle between the Indians and the Crackedskulls, Neiko and her comrades enjoy victory while her enemies suffer a crushing defeat. Victory is short lived for Neiko when Francesco pays her a visit at her home and sends her away in order to collect on his threat of revenge. She is banished into the ancient world of ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramesses II the Great on a one way ticket.

Lost and trapped in this ancient world, it doesn’t take very long for trouble to find her. Taken by a rich man, she is reunited with three of her friends that had been missing, and an eleven-year-old mystery is finally solved, but one of Neiko’s friends is still unaccounted for. After escaping from the rich man and journeying to Thebes, Neiko and her comrades have actually jumped from the pan and into the fire.

Things go horribly awry when Pharaoh finds out about Neiko and becomes infatuated with her. Francesco comes to Egypt on orders to bring her back, but he has other plans. Can Neiko and her friends thwart Francesco, return to the 21st century, and escape from the past and one of the greatest kings that ever lived?

Best for teens and tweens 12-17 and the young at heart adult!

If you love the action, adventure, and time travel intrigue of Back to the Future and Time Machine (except without the time machine) and modern 21st century Native Americans in ancient Egypt, but the story of the Ten Commandments and the Prince of Egypt in reverse with a battle of wills and the motives of passion from Pharaoh, and the comic relief of The Big Bang Theory, you’ll love Escape from Ancient Egypt!

For a Behind the Scenes backstory and the events of the story from Ramesses’ point of view go to: backwoodsauthor.com/2016/10/04/behind-scenes-exploring-backstory-escape-ancient-egypt/

Book Review

Escape From Ancient Egypt by A. K. Taylor is book two in the Neiko Adventure series. Although penned as a series, each book stands alone with action adventure all its own.  ‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ is for those young adult readers who enjoy time travel to ancient Egypt with a Native American Indian twist.

The book starts out with a wonderful map drawing of Egypt Ca 1300 BC drawn by author. The seven photo illustrations were produced by a separate artist. Her book cover design is by Mallory Rock.

In chapter one, Neiko (main character) emerges from a portal and makes a log entry concerning Hawote, a “hidden land that coexisted with the United States, Canada, and Mexico”.

Forty-three chapters reveal realistic characters, imaginative fantasy with action suspense drama, easy to follow dialog that will keep the reader engaged anticipating the next carefully placed photo that brings visual enhancement to the story.

In order to give you the reader a feel for the author’s writing style, I quote a passage from chapter three and share a description of the illustration photo in this chapter.

“Neiko’s vision turned from the green light to the world spinning around her in dizzying speed. Neiko wasn’t moving, but she felt like she was in freefall—like someone had cut the cable from an elevator, and she was plummeting with it. Descending in what—space and time? The evergreen and colorful deciduous vegetation of the Hawote woodlands changed to a desert with a river with some greenery and palms nearby. The cool autumn air of Hawote in October transformed into stifling, searing, dry heat. Pyramids, sphinxes, and strange statues spun around her after her house, porch, and front yard disappeared within the vortex. It was nighttime in Hawote, but the sun rose and set as time flew by— from west to east—backwards. Beneath her bare feet the wood from her front porch turned to nothing then into hot, soft sand.

Neiko’s world stopped spinning, and the sun was high in the sky. Neiko watched the sun to be sure it didn’t move again. Wherever she ended up, she guessed the time must be about high noon there judging by the sun’s position in the sky after a few moments of observation. The heat was intense, and she discovered she must be somewhere far from home. “Where?” was the ultimate question.”

There is a photo of an Indian within this script. “The man chattered in a language she didn’t understand—God knows what he was saying to her. He thrust at her a fine scarab necklace. Neiko looked at him puzzled with her right eyebrow raised. The language didn’t sound like Arabic since she watched a lot of action movies. Neiko put up her hands and shook her head and signed “map” and “phone” and spoke the words in every language that she knew of but got nowhere.”

As you can see Neiko is far from home. You must become a detective yourself and read this book to find out how and why Neiko travels through time? What mystery involves Neiko and some of her friends? How does a Native American girl fit into ancient Egypt culture and what is a girl to do when the Pharaoh takes a romantic interest? What will it take to get Neiko out of the past and back home?

‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ was the finalist in the ‘Wisebear Digital Book Awards’, winner of the ‘Bronze Medal Award’,  ‘Best in YA Historical Fantasy in the 2013 Wisebear Book Awards’ and Winner of the ‘UP Authors Approved Award for the 2013 Fiction Challenge’.

I invite you to read the first book in this series titled ‘Neiko’s Five Land Adventure’ and ‘Escape From Ancient Egypt’ as both books stand alone with their own adventure.

Theodocia McLean endorses Escape From Ancient Egypt (The Neiko Adventure Saga Book 2) by A. K. Taylor. I purchased and reviewed this book from a Kindle format. The review was completed on September 8, 2016.

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