Month: December 2015

The Question by R. Breuer Stearns

iRead Book Tours

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?

The Question Book ReviewAbout The Question

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.

My Thoughts

The Question is an interesting novel that took me a while to get in to the story. I found the beginning of the novel hard to follow as it seemed to jump around a little bit, which caused me to have to re-read certain parts of the book over again. This made it a little hard for me to get into the novel and the characters like I usually do. Once I was about halfway through I was able to follow along much clearer and did not have to backtrack as much through the novel to understand the current plot.

The Question is not a light read but instead you invest your time in this thought-provoking novel. You question your own thoughts, beliefs and ideologies. It is a book to learn and expand your thoughts.

You can purchase a copy of the book on Amazon.

Rating: 3.5/5

About 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.

The Giveaway!

My Canadian and American readers can now enter to win one of ten copies of The Question. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Whispers in the Reading Room Book Review

Litfuse Book Tour

In Whispers in the Reading Room Lydia’s job at the library is her world, until a mysterious patron catches her eye and perhaps her heart.

Whispers in the Reading Room Book Review

About Whispers in the Reading Room

Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.

Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.

Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.

Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks-the man so many people fear-is actually everything her heart believes him to be.

My Thoughts

Our two main characters in this novel are so very different but at the same time so much alike in their fondness of books and the escape they provide. Sebastian is not all he appears to be but at the same time there is such a sweet side to him that wants to come out. He wants to be what Lydia needs him to be but he is just not too sure how he can this way. He allows his past to predict his future and couldn’t be more wrong.

I love Lydia’s character, she is strong but so unsure of herself at the same time. She is refreshingly kind-hearted and open. She would do anything for those around her, even at the expense of her own happiness. Her story is not a sweet, kind life but one of hardships and an upwards battle.

Whispers in the Reading Room is a fantastic read from start to finish that will leaving you hoping and praying for Lydia to have strength and to finally receive all that she deserves for her kindness.

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse blog tour page. You can purchase a copy of the book here.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Add Spanish Flair to Your Holiday Cooking with Persimon®

Add Spanish Flair to Your Holiday Cooking with Persimon

The holidays are all about family, fun and food. It is also the perfect time to switch up your regular holiday meal time favourites to enjoy the tastes of another culture. What better way to try something new then by adding some Spanish flair to your holiday table this year with Persimon® persimmons, a fruit that is grown in the Ribera del Xuquer Valley near Valencia, Spain.

The versatile Persimon® , given this name to distinguish it from other persimmons because of its characteristics which includes that it is ready to eat as soon as you buy it – no waiting for it to ripen. I thought it looked similar in appearance to a bell pepper or even a tomato but it has the sweet taste of a mango. They are completely seedless, pitless and do not require peeling (although some people may prefer to peel the skin similar to an apple).

Add Spanish Flair with Persimon® At Your Holiday Meal

This unique fruit is perfect to eat on cereal, yogurt, ice cream (my personal favourite!!) or even on a salad. It gives a Spanish flair to the every day, something I think we can all appreciate during the long, cold months when the regular routine becomes bland and boring. The Persimon® Says website is full of mouth-watering recipes for you to try (many of the ingredients you will find in your home so don’t worry about not having them on hand!).

Add Spanish Flair to Your Holiday Cooking with Persimon®

Our family loves their bread (must be the Italian in us, we always have to have a loaf of bread at a meal or as a snack) so we couldn’t wait to try the crostini with Persimon® and manchego cheese. The recipe itself was incredibly simple needing only olive oil, spinach, baguette, Persimon® and manchego cheese. Instead of a wine reduction we drizzled the recommended apricot jam on top. It was a wonderful explosion of flavour when you bit in the crostini. You had the sweet with the taste of spinach and old cheese with the crusty bread. It was definitely a taste I have never experienced before but it was well worth it. The flavours combined to make an appetizer that we gobbled up right away. The crostini had such an amazing flavour to it that we just couldn’t resist!

Make sure you head into your local Food Basics or Sobeys to pick up a case of Persimon®  persimmons before it is too late – they are only around until mid-January. You can also follow Persimon® Says on Twitter to keep up to date with news, recipes and more.

How do you enjoy your Persimon® persimmons during the holiday baking season?

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The Wedding Chapel

Litfuse Book Tour

For sixty years, the wedding chapel sat silent, waiting for love. But times have changed and the hour has come when it just might be too late.

The Wedding Chapel Book Review

About The Wedding Chapel

Retired hall-of-fame football coach Jimmy “Coach” Westbrook never imagined anything would come of his labor of love–the wedding chapel he built for Collette Greer, the woman he fell for back in ’49. But now an offer has come to turn the chapel into what it was meant to be–a place for love–and Jimmy sees no reason to hang onto his dream any longer.

Photographer Taylor Branson is trying to make a life for herself in New York. Leaving her hometown of Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, she put a lot of things behind her, including her family’s abysmal marriage rate. But love surprises her when she falls head-over-heels for Jack Forester, a top ad man. Their whirlwind romance results in an elopement, and a mountain of doubt. Jack, while genuine in his love for Taylor, can never seem to overcome his own demons to find the words of his heart.

When Taylor takes an assignment in Heart’s Bend, the job does more than send her back to her hometown, but into a world of family secrets buried beneath the sands of time.

When Taylor’s journey intersects with Coach’s, they rediscover the heartbeat of their dreams and that the love they long to hold is right in front of them. And worth every waiting moment.

My Thoughts

A powerful story of love, betrayal and forgiveness. Two sisters who are tied together by World War II and the death of their parents, seek a new life in America. It is there that they find they have fallen in love with the same man. Instead of allowing fate to choose who he should love, it is one-act of cruelty that leads to years of unhappiness and loneliness.

The book is written both in the present and past tense, which gives us an interesting picture into the main characters lives. Each character is given a chance to tell their part of the story and we don’t truly appreciate the depth of the secrets that were held on to until closer to the end of the novel. These even caught me off guard! The end was sweet and left me in tears hoping for a better tomorrow for all of the characters in the novel.

The Wedding Chapel is a well written and unique story that you will not want to put down! You can find more reviews on the Litfuse blog tour page or you can purchase a copy of the book here.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best-selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding Dress, Love Starts with Elle, and Once Upon A Prince. She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker. Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Flu Season is Coming, How Are You Preparing?

Flu Season is Coming, How Are You Preparing?

La traduction en français de cet article est ci-dessous

I love working in Family Medicine because every day is different and unpredictable. I am able to share in the special moments in some patients’ lives and watch them grow as a family. I can lend a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold on to and share some personal advice from my own struggles as a parent (not to mention that I also get to receive advice from patients!).

Family Medicine also has its down side as I am constantly exposed to viruses throughout the year, especially during flu season. With the upcoming flu season, I will be taking temperatures from many patients; I will also be taking oxygen stats, and weights of infants and young children. All of this exposes me to potentially serious viral illnesses, including the flu, which I can in turn bring home to my own two children. One of my kids suffers from asthma and has been in the hospital many times over the last ten years due to his asthma being exacerbated by the flu.

Your annual flu shot is your families’ best defence against the flu virus. The flu is a very serious illness that can present in different ways in different people; some may get a fever and chills, while in others the flu can lead to pneumonia and possible hospitalization. Children can be vulnerable and they are also the ones who may be overlooked when it comes to vaccinations due to fear of needles.

Flu Season is Coming, How Are You Preparing?

This was true at one time in our home. Our son hated needles and vaccines, it became such an ordeal that we decided five years ago against taking him for his annual flu shot because of his fear. We felt that if we protected ourselves and kept up with hand washing at home and encouraging him to do so at school, that he would be safe. Unfortunately for us, we were very wrong. That year he developed Influenza B that required him to stay in the hospital.

Flu Season is Coming, How Are You Preparing?

This was one of the most terrifying times for us as parents. We felt as though we had let our son down. If we had ensured he had received his flu shot, there was a strong chance he would never have been in the hospital because of the flu. The flu vaccine is safe for children six months of age and older who have no contraindications to the vaccine

Ontario has new options for our kids to make sure they receive a flu vaccine. This year, Ontario children and youth aged two to 17 can receive the flu vaccine in a nasal spray FREE. This nasal spray offers protection against FOUR strains of influenza (versus the three strains that the regular vaccine protects you from). The best part for many other parents in the same boat as us, is that it eliminates the fears that your child may have about receiving an injection. For parents, this is a win-win situation.

You can receive the flu vaccine or nasal spray from your health care provide or local public health unit. It is also available at participating pharmacies for anyone five years of age and older. Getting the flu shot is your best defence against getting the flu. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your health care provider for more information or visit to find a location near you.

There are many ways to stay healthy and reduce the spread of the flu virus and many of us need to remind young children about the importance of following these simple tips during the fall and winter months.

These tips include:

  • Receive your annual flu shot.
  • Washing our hands with soap and water after touching tables, chairs, shared items and before we eat.
  • Not sharing food and drinks at school. Kids love to share and this is great but it can also expose them to lots of germs. We can encourage them to show sharing and caring in different ways.
  • Taking a multivitamin and following the Canada Food Guide. Proper nutrition goes a long way for optimal health so make sure to fit in lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for not only your child but you too!
  • Teaching your child (and other adults too) that sneezing or coughing into the crook of your elbow rather than sneezing or coughing into your hand helps prevent the spread of germs. Especially since most people don’t properly sanitize their hands afterwards.

Receiving a flu vaccine is one part of many small steps in order to remain healthy this flu season. How do you prepare and stay healthy through flu season?

This post was developed in association with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The opinions of the author are my own. For additional information on the flu or to find out where to get a flu shot, click here.

If you’re still on the fence about getting the flu shot for your kids, there’s a great new alternative you’re going to want to know about. Want to learn more? 

Learn how to ward off the flu this season.

Check out why you should be getting a flu shot for your kids, even if they aren’t high risk.

Prêts, pas prêts, la saison de la grippe arrive!

J’adore travailler en médecine familiale. Pourquoi? Parce que chaque journée est différente et imprévisible! Je partage des moments extraordinaires dans la vie de certains patients, et je les regarde grandir au sein de leur famille. Je suis l’épaule sur laquelle on pleure et la main qu’on saisit. Je m’inspire de mes propres difficultés dans mon rôle de parent pour donner des conseils (et j’en reçois aussi de mes patients).

La médecine familiale a aussi son côté négatif, car je suis constamment exposée à des virus tout au long de l’année, surtout pendant la saison de la grippe. À l’approche de la nouvelle saison de la grippe, je m’attends à prendre la température de nombreux patients, à compiler des statistiques d’oxygène et à vérifier le poids de nourrissons et de tout-petits. Tout cela m’expose à des maladies virales potentiellement dangereuses, y compris la grippe, que je risque de transmettre à mes deux enfants à la maison. L’un d’eux souffre d’asthme et on a dû l’amener à l’hôpital plusieurs fois ces dix dernières années à cause de crises d’asthme exacerbées par la grippe.

Votre vaccin annuel contre la grippe constitue le meilleur moyen de protéger votre famille contre le virus de la grippe. La grippe est une maladie très grave qui peut présenter différents symptômes. Certains malades ont juste de la fièvre et des frissons, alors que d’autres attrapent une pneumonie et doivent être hospitalisés. Les enfants sont notre population la plus vulnérable, celle qui risque aussi de ne pas être vaccinée à cause de la phobie des seringues.

Flu Season is Coming, How Are You Preparing?

C’est du moins le problème que nous avions à la maison. Notre fils détestait les seringues et les vaccins. C’est devenu une épreuve si dure qu’il y a cinq ans, nous avions renoncé à lui administrer le vaccin antigrippal annuel. Nous pensions qu’en prenant des mesures de protection, en nous lavant régulièrement les mains à la maison et en l’encourageant à faire de même à l’école, il serait protégé. Grave erreur! Cette année-là, il a contracté une grippe B qui a nécessité un séjour à l’hôpital.

Flu Season is Coming, How Are You Preparing?

Nous, ses parents, avons connu des moments effroyables. Nous avions l’impression de lui avoir joué un mauvais tour. Si nous l’avions fait vacciner contre la grippe, il y a de fortes chances qu’il n’aurait jamais été hospitalisé à cause de cette maladie. Le vaccin antigrippal est sans danger pour les enfants de six mois ou plus pour lesquels il n’y a pas de contre-indications pour ce produit.

L’Ontario offre de nouvelles options pour veiller à ce que les enfants soient vaccinés contre la grippe. Cette année, les enfants et les jeunes de l’Ontario âgés de 2 à 17 ans peuvent recevoir GRATUITEMENT un vaccin antigrippal en vaporisateur nasal. Celui-ci les protège contre QUATRE souches de la grippe (au lieu de trois avec le vaccin ordinaire). Le plus beau, pour les parents comme nous, c’est que les enfants n’ont plus peur de recevoir une injection. Une situation gagnante sur tous les plans!

Pour recevoir le vaccin antigrippal sous forme d’injection ou de vaporisateur nasal, adressez-vous à votre fournisseur de soins ou bureau de santé publique. Les pharmacies participantes peuvent également vacciner toute personne âgée de cinq ans ou plus. Se faire vacciner est la meilleure protection contre la grippe. N’hésitez surtout pas à demander des renseignements à votre fournisseur de soins, ou visitez pour savoir où vous faire vacciner.

Il existe une multitude de façons de protéger sa santé et de réduire la propagation du virus de la grippe. Nous avons tous besoin de rappeler aux jeunes enfants l’importance de suivre quelques conseils faciles pendant l’automne et l’hiver.

Les voici :

  • Se faire vacciner tous les ans contre la grippe.
  • Se laver les mains avec de l’eau et du savon après avoir touché une table, une chaise ou un objet partagé avec quelqu’un d’autre, ou avant de manger.
  • Ne pas partager d’aliments ou de boissons à l’école. Les enfants aiment beaucoup partager, ce qui est excellent, mais cela les expose à toutes sortes de microbes. On peut les encourager se montrer généreux d’une autre façon.
  • Prendre des multivitamines et suivre le Guide alimentaire canadien. Une bonne nutrition aide beaucoup à protéger la santé. Donnez des fruits et légumes frais à votre enfant, et mangez-en aussi!
  • Montrer à votre enfant (et à des adultes aussi) comment éternuer ou tousser dans le pli du coude plutôt que dans la main pour aider à éviter la propagation de microbes. En plus, la majorité des gens ne se désinfectent pas correctement les mains.

La vaccination contre la grippe constitue l’une de nombreuses mesures faciles à prendre pour protéger sa santé pendant la saison de la grippe. Et vous, que faites-vous pour rester en forme pendant la saison de la grippe?

Cet article a été préparé en collaboration avec le ministère de la Santé et des Soins de longue durée de l’Ontario. Les opinions de l’auteur sont les siennes.

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