Book Review: Giant Island by Jane Yolen

In this wondrous book by award-winning fantasy author Jane Yolen and award-winning fantasy illustrator Doug Keith, two children and a dog explore the coves and caves of a tiny island. Under the watchful eye of Grandpa, the kids are thrilled to discover a huge surprise: the craggy rocks, tufted grass, and wind-swept trees on Giant Island are much more than they seem. Jane Yolen’s text entrances readers with hints of age-old magic, and pays tribute to mystery, curiosity, and friendship. Doug Keith’s paintings invite readers to discover the giant secret for themselves. Visit Giant Island, where fantastical adventures await.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from Edelweiss. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Two children go to Giant Island with their grandpa and don’t understand why such a small island is called Giant Island…until they explore while Grandpa is fishing. They have a great time playing and exploring, and they have a big secret when it’s time to go home!

Giant Island is an amazing book that children will want to read again and again. The story is a great fantasy, and the illustrations (paintings) are wondrous. They help to tell the story especially at the end. Such a fun read!

About the Author

I was born on February 11, 1939 in New York City at Beth Israel Hospital, the first child of my parents, Isabel Berlin Yolen and Will Hyatt Yolen. Because my grandmother Mina Hyatt Yolen’s family, the Hyatts, only had girls, a number of us were given their last name as a middle name to carry it on. So I am Jane Hyatt Yolen, and my brother, Steven Hyatt Yolen, was born three and a half years later. Alas, we are no relation to the Hyatt Hotels, no matter how often I have tried to convince the staffs there.

I love being a writer. In 2018, I celebrated #Yolen365 in which my 365thbook (yes, that is a Yolen book for every day of the year) was published. Actually, 365 and 366 published on the same day. Since then, that number has grown to 378.

The first man I married, in 1962, David W. Stemple, is the only man I married. He and I have three children and six grandchildren. Alas, he died of cancer in March, 2006 after 44 years of a wonderful marriage. I live in Western Massachusetts right next door to my marvelous daughter Heidi (the little girl in OWL MOON). My sons live far away with their families, Adam in Minneapolis, Jason in Charleston, SC.  I also have a house in Scotland where I live about four months of the year. The rest of my life is all book talk.

For more about Jane Yolen and her books, go to her website.

About the Illustrator

Doug Keith attended the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art in New Jersey and graduated in 1974. He worked his way through ad agencies in the New York area for five years until an opportunity to relocate with an industrial design firm brought him to Seattle in 1979. A desire to start his own studio became a reality in 1982, and business has been growing ever since. Keith’s ability to work in a variety of styles and mediums has attracted clients such as Sports Illustrated, the Seattle Times, the Seattle Mariners, the Goodwill Games, local TV stations, restaurants and advertising agencies. Along the way, Keith has won an Emmy award for television graphics (KIRO-TV), a Society of Newspaper Design award (the Seattle Times), and national recognition for his innovative and amusing alphabet designs. Keith has found his love of sports (and sense of humor) invaluable in making the conventional alphabet more than just a group of letters. In his sports alphabets, players, referees, cheerleaders and fans bend and contort every which way to form all the letters. In each letter is a story which is commonly known to every sports fan, which explains why Keith’s work is just as at home in a boardroom as it is in a playroom.

Book Review & Giveaway: Stealing the Selkie’s Heart by Ella Rose

Stealing the Selkie’s Heart (The Selkie Seas, #1) by Ella Rose

Publisher:  Lightning Platypus Press, (July 19, 2022)
Category: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 979-8985603811
Available in Print and ebook, 286 pages

Stealing the Selkie’s Heart

A cursed town, a kidnapped selkie…what will happen when love is on the line? 

Powerful selkie warrior Ronan must negotiate with a group of local sirens before war breaks out. The last thing he needs is a desperate human who steals his sealskin, intent on forcing him to help her. He decides to seduce her, get his skin back, and fulfill his mission. But finding out she’s his True Mate changes everything…

Widow Una MacCallan is determined to save her small Scottish fishing town from the curse that fell over it twenty-four years ago, even if it means blackmailing the fierce selkie. Though she knows he is the key to breaking the spell, she doesn’t anticipate the attraction between them. She can’t afford the distraction, and she doesn’t trust that his interest is anything more than a manipulation, a bid for freedom. But she keeps finding herself tempted…

Together, they must race against time to break the curse. But as the two get closer, they find themselves asking: can they give up love to save those around them? What is the price for their newfound passion?

Stealing the Selkie’s Heart is an exciting enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance and the first book in The Selkie Seas series by Ella Rose. Let it steal your heart today!


Guest Review by Sal

‘Stealing the Selkie’s Heart (The Selkie Seas, #1)’ by Ella Rose is a wild ride from start to finish! Right from the start, I could tell that this book was going to fit my interests and as I read along, I knew that I was correct.

Set in 1861 in the Hebrides Islands of Scotland, the book first introduces us to Ronan, a male selkie. Now, in case you don’t know, selkies are mythical creatures that can change back and forth between a seal form and a human form at will, simply by removing their seal skin. But there is a downside to this. The selkie’s seal skin has to be kept safe and hidden at all costs. If a human were to steal the skin, the selkie would have to bend to their will until it was returned.

This is a real myth that some will be familiar with (especially those of us with Scottish ancestry), but this book takes it to a new level by having Ronan’s selkie skin be stolen by none other than a woman who turns out to be his one true mate.

Una is a young widow who only wishes to seek Ronan’s help in stopping the curse that has been put on her town. However, once she finds out exactly how she is connected to Ronan, well, let’s just say things change a little bit. The two quickly begin to fall for each other, and each moment that they grow closer was a joy to read.

This is a fantastic paranormal romance and I highly recommend it if you enjoy the genre! This is also a great book to start out on if you’ve never read a paranormal romance but would like to try your first. Ella Rose’s writing is beautiful, descriptive and entertaining, and I can’t wait to read more from her in the future!

About the Author

Ella Rose is a paranormal romance author who loves kink, ink, and cake, and hopes you do too. She is a bi-sexual author writing through a Bi-Polar Disorder lens and thinks representation and mental health matter. She is the author of The Selkie Seas series, which includes Losing the Selkie’s Skin and Stealing the Selkie’s Heart.

Her latest selkie short stories will appear in Dark Rose Press’s Worlds Apart and Dragon Soul Press’s Beyond Atlantis anthologies. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Paranormal Romance Guild.



This giveaway is for 2 print or ebook copies. Print is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on November 24, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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New Release: From Machu Picchu to El Dorado by Lino Omoboni

Indulge yourself with the charming and whimsical “From Machu Picchu to El Dorado” by Lino Omoboni. This is a voyage into the ancient past of the Incas as seen through the eyes of Melissa, a teenage girl who becomes central to their cause as both warrior and advocate, transported to a distant time many years into the past by the properties of a magical stone which she discovers whilst on a family holiday to the New Forest.

Simplistically charming, “From Machu Picchu to El Dorado” is a tale of vivid adventure where truth and reality, fact and fiction meet with an almost dreamlike quality. It is hard to fathom whether Melissa’s experience is real, imagined or dreamt as history, reality and imagination all fuse together in this vibrant story. As exotic as the empire it describes, “From Machu Picchu to El Dorado” will lead the reader on many twists and turns before reaching its colourful conclusion as good triumphs over evil with more than a passing nod to the history books.

About the Author

Lino Omoboni was born in Chile in 1938. His father was Italian and his mother Chilean from Spanish, French and German ancestors.

Lino moved to live in the United Kingdom in 1974. Since then, he became a professional actor working in the Theatre, Radio, Television and feature films. Now a pensioner he is dedicating his life to write for children from seven to hundred years of age.  Lino has written several more books and short stories ready to be published.


“What happened next was so strange and it happened so fast. She experienced a total blackout and by instinct, she closed her eyes, scared.

Everything was happening very fast and she felt like she was travelling in space at a very high speed, hearing sounds of wind whistling in her ears but she was so scared, she didn’t dare to open her eyes.

Seconds later, she felt a cold breeze on her face and opened her eyes.

Her heart was almost jumping out of her chest and she could feel the palpitations right into her throat.

She was in a completely different environment and she thought she was in another country. “I don’t understand this, Dad! Timothy!” she called but nobody answered her.

Bushes with grass of different lengths surrounded her and she noticed small trees covered most of the land. She had the feeling this was not the New Forest and she was not inside the cave with her father and brother anymore.

‘This looks like a completely different country to me, Dad! Timothy!’ she called but once again, there was no answer and she felt scared.”

“From Machu Picchu to El Dorodo” by Lino Omoboni is available in paperback from Amazon at:

The e-book version is also available from Amazon at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

The Inspira Group Literary Agency
Tel. 0208 292 5163

Book Review & Giveaway: The Seraphim’s Song by Barbara Casey

Book Title: The Seraphim’s Song (Book 5 of The F.I.G. Mysteries) by Barbara Casey
Category: YA Fiction (Ages 13-17), 213 pages
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy
Publisher: Gauthier Publications (Hungry Goat Press)
Release date: April 2022
Content Rating: G. THE SERAPHIM’S SONG is suitable for all readers – adult and young adult.

Many changes have taken place at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women while Carolina and Larry were on their honeymoon in Frascati, Italy, on the Granchelli farm. The newlyweds have been given a larger bungalow; Ms. Alcott, niece of the founder of Wood Rose, and Mrs. Ball, assistant to the headmaster, have moved into a bungalow together; and Jimmy Bob, caretaker and night watchman at Wood Rose has moved from his family home down the road a bit into a small bungalow on the orphanage property with his hound dog Tick, as well as his new cat and her litter of kittens.

Summer is coming to an end and the F.I.G.s will soon return to the universities to complete their special projects. They are starting to feel anxious, and the coping mechanisms they have used their entire lives are starting to work overtime. Dara’s thoughts turn to an unknown language, possibly from another world; Mackenzie focuses on the relationship of math to music; and Jennifer keeps hearing the note of B flat minor and is drawing dark swirls on her canvas board.

Buy the Book:
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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.  I’ve read several books by Barbara Casey including the first four books in this series. The first two books, The Wish Rider and The Cadence of Gypsies, are my favorites by the author so far. Even though this is the fifth book in the series, it definitely stands on its own.

Even though Carolina is married, her husband is out of town, so she is on her own after their honeymoon. The F.I.G.s are on summer break, though, so she has their company. Unfortunately, they’re all aware that something is going to happen because their coping mechanisms are in high gear. When Carolina hears from her mother, Lyuba, in Italy, they know that they have to figure out her message ASAP.

It’s obvious that the author did a lot of research for this book, and I found the history interesting. Along with the history is mystery, adventure, gypsies, natural disasters and danger.

I liked The Seraphim’s Song but not as much as the first two books. This being book five, I feel like I know Carolina and the F.I.G.s well, so I felt like I had to wade through a lot of backstory to get to the essence of The Seraphim’s Song.

About the Author

Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels and book-length works of nonfiction for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Several of her books have been optioned for major films and television series.

In addition to her own writing, Barbara 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.

In 2018 Barbara received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas.

Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with three cats who adopted her: Homer, a Southern coon cat; Reese, a black cat; and Earl Gray, a gray cat and Reese’s best friend.

Connect with the author:  Barbara Casey Author ~ Barbara Casey Agency ~ Goodreads


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Book Review: Sleep, Merel, Sleep by Silke Stein

Who wants to be awake forever?

Life has changed for eight-year-old Merel. Since the birth of her sick baby brother, her parents seem to have forgotten she exists. But when she finds a tiny silver violin in her bedroom rug, things take a turn for the worse. Merel learns that her sleep has abandoned her and that she must embark on a perilous journey to recover it or stay awake forever. Together with her devoted toy sheep, Roger, tired Merel sets out in search of Lullaby Grove and, before long, is haunted by a scary stranger.

Follow Merel into a surreal world. Meet a sleepy king with an obsession for feathers and a transparent old man on a night train going nowhere. Discover why the moonfish cry, why you should never walk across the Great Yawns, and whether Merel can escape her pursuer, win back her sleep, and realize what matters most.

Sleep, Merel, Sleep is a sweet and wistful tale about treasuring those closest to us.

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Merel is having a terrible time sleeping since her sick baby brother came home. She’s also feeling neglected because her parents are having to spend all of their time with him. Finally, her personal sleep gives up and quits, which means she’ll never be able to sleep again.

Merel ends up in another world. The descriptions are weird but they’re ones that middle grade readers will most likely enjoy. For example, there’s purple grass and a giant named Lollipo whose hair is cotton candy, and his freckles are different colors.

At the end of Merel’s journey, she has learned that maybe her baby brother isn’t so bad. The story did end quite abruptly, and a little more at the end would be helpful. Overall, though, I definitely recommend Sleep, Merel, Sleep for middle grade readers.

About the Author

Silke Stein is a graphic designer and author. Silke currently lives at the west coast of Canada, where she combs the shores of the Pacific Ocean and tends to her ever-growing sea glass collection. When she is not at the beach, or writing, she designs book covers for fellow authors.


Book Review: The Rescue Book One of the Timestream Travelers Chronicles by Sher J. Stultz

It all starts when the sheets go slack, and Aeneas vanishes! He and his two best friends, C.J. and Tabitha are spellbound as they watch the video feed of his disappearance and witness him climbing through his bedroom window an hour later, wearing different socks. Aeneas Entwistle, a slightly above average eighth grader is about to discover that the mystery of waking up with different socks is much more than just a prank.

Adding to that dilemma, Aeneas is struggling with new feelings for Tabitha and loses his cool during her birthday party. Meanwhile, Aeneas’s twenty-something daughter, Cassie has traveled thirty-eight years from the future hoping to find any small detail that might help locate her missing father.

Enlisting Harold, the Entwistle’s quirky housekeeper, Cassie works to rescue a middle-aged Aeneas, who vanishes into the timestream when a 7.2 earthquake strikes northwest Washington in May of 2053. But Cassie’s presence in the past might have unforeseen consequences for everyone in her circle. As she struggles to find her father, a carefully guarded family secret is revealed, and Cassie must choose between altering the past or violating the shamanic rules of time travel!

My Review

I’ve always been intrigued with time travel so I was happy to read The Rescue which takes place mostly in 2015 and 2053. Can you imagine finding out that you’ve been time traveling in your sleep? That’s what happens to Aeneas, and, of course, he and his friends, Tabitha and CJ, have to find out what is going on!

This story is full of adventure, family and teen drama, and a little romance. It’s one that young adults as well as adults will enjoy, especially if they like time travel.

The characters are well developed and since Aeneas and his friends are entering puberty, things are changing in their relationships and they’re all confused. There are quite a few characters in two different times but there’s a list of the characters at the beginning of the book that will help. I looked at it before I read the book and that didn’t help much, but it did help later on while reading the book.

My favorite character is Harold. He is the housekeeper for the Entwistles, Aeneas’s family, but he is so much more. He’s really more like a member of the family. He’s smart and cooking and cleaning help him to think, so he cooks a lot and they all love his cooking. Harold is also a little odd which makes him even more endearing.

There are always rules with time travel about not doing something to change the future, and I was interested in Cassie (Aeneas’s daughter) and her interactions with people in the past. Would those interactions change the future? If so, was it worth it to find her father?

I enjoyed reading The Rescue and look forward to reading the next book in the series. The last line in the book hints at what’s next, and I can’t wait to see what happens!

About the Author

Science teacher and indie author Sher Stultz shares her life with Juniper, a miniature Australian shepherd, a cat named Nelson Cruise, two chickens, Maria and Flavia, her amazing daughter Astra, and many steadfast friends. The Timestream Travelers Chronicles: The Rescue is her debut novel.


Book Review & Giveaway: Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan

Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan

Time and the Tree by Róisín Sorahan
Publisher: Adelaide Books, NY (September 6, 2021
Category: Literary Fiction, Fantasy, Modern Fable, and Self-actualization
ISBN: 978-1955196635
Available in Print and ebook, 282 pages

Time and the Tree


A modern fable about the nature of time and the quest for happiness. It’s darkly funny, deceptively simple, and a necessary read for testing times. In this gripping philosophical tale, a boy awakens beneath a tree in a forest in summer. He is soon joined by Time and his slave, a withered creature hooked on time and aching to disappear. The story evolves over the course of a year as a host of characters are drawn to the Tree for guidance. The unlikely cast grapple with choices and grope towards self-knowledge in a world where compassion is interwoven with menace. As the seasons bring great changes to the forest, we watch the child grow while the trials he faces mount.  Then the time for talk and innocence passes as the forces of darkness rally, threatening the lives of his friends. Lyrical, honest and heart-breaking, Time and the Tree confronts readers with a unique perspective on the challenges life presents. A wise and hopeful book, it is uplifting and unsettling by turns.

Guest Book Review by Sal

First, we are introduced to the Boy and then, to the Tree.

Róisín Sorahan’s eclectic and enchanting tale has a truly timeless aura. This is the type of story that will be immediately familiar to anyone who read fairy tales as a child. The forest setting, the child protagonist, the struggle, and the morals that he learns along the way. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning as all good stories should.

This story begins with a boy waking up in the forest. He is parched from thirst and a wise, old tree tells him where to get a drink of water. The Boy and the Tree quickly become friends and achieve ultimate peace and harmony as they watch the clouds and the Boy sleeps in the Tree’s branches. However, the world soon intrudes.

Of course, any good fairy tale has to have conflict. This fairy tale’s conflict comes in the form of time itself. Not ‘time’ as the inexorable concept, but Time as an actual physical manifestation.

Time is man who wears a brass hat and silk cravat. He has a creature that follows him around who is called Shadow and who he jauntily refers to as his slave. Time is strange, obviously, and Time is manipulative.

But Time is not the last of the travelers that the Boy and the Tree meet. Lots of wanderers happen by the Tree and not all of them are so rude or spiteful. But ultimately, the seasons pass and the Boy must learn many lessons about himself and nature that give the story its moral backbone.

When I tell you this story is magical, I’m understating it. Sorahan tells a tale that seems both familiar and new, and one that would be treasured by any reader. Definitely add ‘Time and a Tree’ to your list if you haven’t already!

About the Author

Róisín Sorahan is an Irish author currently living in Vermont. She has published numerous stories about her adventures on the road, as well as life as an English teacher in China. Prior to becoming a nomad writer, she pursued a decade-long career in public relations. She holds a Master of Letters from Trinity College Dublin, specializing in Samuel Beckett. Time and the Tree is her debut novel.


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This giveaway is for 3 print or ebook copies, One for each of 3 winners. Print is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on March 12, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Book Review: Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon by Eve Cabanel


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon is an imaginative story about Eli and Luna who go on an adventure to save Luna’s child, Doudou. In the short book, they meet several obstacles but Eli is able to overcome all of them to save Doudou. And she befriends a dragon along the way!

This sweet story shows the power of friendship as well as the fact that being different is okay. Both Eli and the dragon are one-of-a-kind but they are accepted by the others in the forest. The illustrations are beautiful as well and make the story even better. I can’t wait to read this book to my grandchildren!

About the Author

One of children’s book author Eve Cabanel’s fondest memories as a child is when her French grandmother would make up wonderfully imaginative stories for her. Now as a mother, Eve wanted to do the same for her young son, creating a fantastic enchanted fairy tale in her new picture book Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshine Dragon.

Eve often gets ideas for her stories from her dreams. After being inspired by the drawings of the character Eli created by her niece, Eve had a dream about the moon elf and put pen to paper, chronicling Eli’s adventures in an enchanted forest, filled with dragons, fairies, and unicorns.

Eve hopes that her young readers will come away from her stories feeling that they are able to conquer their fears and overcome any obstacle that comes their way. She likes to share a subtle message with kids that being outside of your comfort zone is how they learn more about themselves and gain an inner strength that will help them to pursue their dreams.

Eve was raised in the French countryside by the woods where she played in suspended tree houses amongst wild forest animals, like the character Eli in her book. As a child, Eve had a goat and pet chicken that would follow her everywhere. An animal and nature lover at an early age, she rescued baby squirrels and encountered foxes, deer, and hedgehogs on a regular basis.

Originally from France, Eve currently lives in Montreal, Canada. When she isn’t writing imaginative and uplifting stories for children, Eve loves to travel, discover new places, and play with her one-year-old son and their two cats, Buddy and Charlie.

Eve has also a blog dedicated to spreading awareness on the dangers of commercial beauty products and sharing ways to create natural and organic alternatives at home with simple ingredients. She is the published author of the adult non-fiction book Organic Beauty Recipes by Eve – The complete guide to DIY natural beauty. Eli and the Mystery of the Hallowshire Dragon is her debut children’s book.


Book Review: Please to Meet Me by S.G. Wilson

What if you suddenly met someone who’s you–only better? That’s what happens in this hilarious new series for fans of Stuart Gibb’s Moon Base Alpha and quirky sci-fi animated shows like Rick and Morty and Regular Show.

It all starts with a note folded into the shape of an origami octopus: “Hi, Me. Yes, you. You’re me, and I’m you.” If you believe this and the other origami notes that follow–which middle schooler Meade Macon absolutely, positively does NOT–the concept of parallel dimensions is true, and there is a convention full of alternate versions of Meade waiting for his RSVP. It’s got to be a joke.
Except . . . the octopus is an origami fold Meade thought he invented. And the note writer has a lot of intel on him that nobody else should know. I mean, he’s told his best friend Twig a lot about himself, but he’s definitely kept mum about that time he sleepwalk-peed into his Lego container when he was six. Could Me Con be a real thing? And why does the origami stalker want him to go so badly anyway?


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This is a great book for young readers! Meade is your everyday kid whose family members are overachievers so he feels like he’s always letting them down. All of a sudden, he’s not so normal anymore. He is invited to Me Con where everyone there is the same as him, except from a different universe.

Each world is a bit different, so each Me is different, but their conversations can be interesting. Every Me knows who Mom and Dad and Twig (his best friend) and Nash (a bully) are, so no explanations are needed. It’s a little difficult to get used to at times! But why has he been invited to Me Con now? It’s been going on for a while and this is the first he’s heard about it. What he finds out could change the multiverse as he knows it!

This is a page turner that children will definitely enjoy. There are funny parts guaranteed to tickle a kid’s funny bone. It also has excitement and suspense. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the Me vs. the Multiverse series soon.

About the Author

Alternate versions of S.G. Wilson from parallel Earths have worked a number of jobs: robot nursing home manager (Earth 10), flying carpet weaving instructor (Earth 56), Third Gondolier for Warlord Thud of the TransAmerican Waste (Earth 456), and chief strategist for the 2020 reelection campaign of President Martin Van Buren’s clone (Earth 132).

But the S.G. Wilson of this Earth has mostly been content to write stuff for magazines and spend time with his family in Austin, TX. He likes walking around, watching opening credit sequences for sitcoms from the 70s and 80s, and winning cats over to his side. He also co-hosts the THIS WEEK IN THE MULTIVERSE podcast.

Twitter SGWilson_Earth1