So, I Read This Book Today

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NetGalley Challenge 2015

NetGalley Challenge 2015

Challenge ParticipantCalling all Book Advocates!

Join media, librarians, booksellers, educators, reviewers and bloggers who use NetGalley to discover, read and share reviews about new books before they are published. It’s easy to get started: just sign in or join for free. (Psst… it’s the kick-off week for our annual Challenge! Click the photo to join in the fun.)

Review: Buzz Books and Buzz Books YA 2015

Buzz Books 2015: Fall/WinterSo many books! Every year hundreds of books show up on the market. But how do you weed through them all? One way is by checking out the suggestions of the good people at Publishers Lunch. The seventh edition of Buzz Books includes an amazing array of fiction and nonfiction books that have caught the attention of the publishing world this year. Included are major writers such as Geraldine Brooks, Lauren Groff, Alice Hoffman, Janice Lee, Ron Rash, and Adriana Trigiani. And new voices such as Virginia Baily (Early One Morning) and Claire Vaye Watkins (Gold, Fame, Citrus).

Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult focuses on only YA books of esteem. Well known specialty authors, such as James Dashner, Jennifer Donnelly, Patrick Ness, and Lauren Oliver are featured here, but there are also books by authors best-known for their adult books, such as Eleanor Herman and CammieBuzz Books 2015: Young Adult Fall/Winter McGovern.

Each of these volumes include extensive excerpts from the stories, and many include links to receive the books themselves from NetGalley. Overall, these volumes are an exceptional way to gain an insight into some of the most talked-about books of 2015.

I received these volumes from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.


I can’t believe it, but I am actually catching up on my books from Netgalley and Storycartel. Lots of other books as well – but if I tell you what I am doing, well, maybe I will get caught up, right? laughing white boxer25012918One is The Juan Doe Murders by Noreen Ayres. A Smokey Brandon Thriller, it deals with a serial killer who murders Mexican Immigrants, and in a fiction format brings up issues of immigration, the rich vs. the poor, and the tremendous imbalance of wealth in this country. It came to me from Netgalley – only THREE Netgalley’s on my list, then I will be caught up!


The Deeper Genome by John Parington expands upon the Human Genome Project, delving into the international ENCODE project and what it says about the deeper findings of DNA and RNA the layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes. Deep stuff, but utterly amazing. The second of my Netgalley books awaiting review.

The third Netgalley book is Speaking In Bones by Kathy Reichs. I have been a big fan for years, but got away from it for a while. I will see if this book nudges my interest once more.

I have two books from Penguin’s First To Read program. TThe Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupihe Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi, and Dry Bones: A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson. 

Penguin books are harder for me to read, as they have a heck of a DRM, which means that on my Samsung tablet I have to read in a program which accepts PDF files – a TOTAL pain, as Adobe Reader says “ERROR: The document has features that are not supported in this version of Adobe Reader.” Duh. It is an Adobe PDF! Sigh. The only thing that really works is Aldiko Premium which, though it pulls it up, and allows me to highlight for notes for my reviews, is a true pain in the backside when it comes to moving between pages . . . I can swipe ten or fifteen times before it will turn a page! Gack. Anyone recommend another program that works with PDF’s that is easier to work with?

Another one that is taking time to read, requiring “fun” reads between chapters? The Enigma Strain (Harvey Bennett #1)The Enigma Strain: Harvey Bennett #1 by Nick Thacker. Terrorists, explosions in Yellowstone National Park, murders, and biological weapons straight out of history. Intense.

Also from Storycartel, Path of the HorsemanPath of the Horseman by Amy Braun. The Four Horsemen decimated the world – but now they are stuck here. Sounds like it might be interesting…

Reading for fun in between the deep stuff?Spin Art: Mastering the Craft of Spinning Textured Yarn Spin Art by Jacey Boggs. I have been seeing all these wonderful textured yarns on Etsy, and learning how to do them is a lot of fun! Wraps, corespinning, bumps, and foreign objects, i.e., spinning in beads, baubles, shiny objects and bits of cloth spun into your yarn! Examples from some of my fav spinners on Click the pics to go to the etsy pages.

FLOUNCES - ooak bulky handspun art yarn - multicoloured textured novelty yarn with hand dyed wool - art yarn handspun yarn  bulky yarnART YARN handspun tailspun Wensleydale locksArt yarn handspun SALE buy 3 get 1 free Bee Balm 3.1 oz. wool locks curls tail spun


Relaxing before bedtime? Suzanne Wright’s The Phoenix Pack series. The fourth book just came out, and I get a huge kick out of Taryn Warner, the heroine, so I am listening to them in order (Kindle Whispersync) – seeing as how I also missed the third book.  Fun – two new smexys for the reading! (Note to British authors writing settings in the U.S. – Americans don’t eat baked beans for breakfast – that is a completely British thing to do! LOL) If you liked the Ridgeville Series by Celia Kyle, you might like this one as well.

Feral Sins (The Phoenix Pack, #1)Wicked Cravings (The Phoenix Pack, #2) Instincts (The Phoenix Pack, #4)


Of course, my TBR stack is monstrous…. but the next Witch's Diary (Lost Library, #4)Lost Library Shorts Collection: Clara & Logan's Trilogy PLUS 2 Bonus Shortstwo books I have  “Up Next” are Witches Diary: A Lost Library Novel and the Lost Library Short Story Trilogy both by Kate Baray. If you haven’t read this series, you are really missing out. If you haven’t read my reviews, type “Kate Baray” in my search box.

Wow. I just realized, I need to get reading!



Review: Pack of Strays By Dana Cameron – Second From The Fangborn Series

You have GOT to read the Fangborn Series! But start with the first, Seven Kinds of Hell. You will be thrilled you did!

When I received Pack of Strays”  from I didn’t realize that this was actually the second book in the “Fangborn” series. I had heard very good things about “Fangborn” on-line at, and I was excited to try it. However, finding this was the second, well, what could I do? I ran over to Amazon and grabbed the first, Seven Kinds of Hell.

What can I say, but WOW! The first paragraph of my Seven Kinds of Hell review shows how excited I about the book:

One thing you must know about this book before walking into the story is this – you hold in your hand not some simple, See Jane Run, Run Jane Run novel. If you are looking for minimal world building, simplistic answers, and only two or three characters with clear-cut goals, this book isn’t for you. It is so far out of the “let’s just do mindless entertainment” wheelhouse you can’t even see it from the top of the Pharos Lighthouse.

I love, well, adore actually, books with depth of world building, complex questions and characters, and far-from-mindless entertainment. Well, not always – sometimes we just want to have fun, right? But with “Seven Kinds of Hell,” the excitement kept me engrossed from the first page to the last. And Pack of Strays? Oh, yes. Zoe Miller’s life isn’t getting any easier. If anything, her life is becoming more and more complicated as she not only learns more about who she is, and why, but also how important she apparently is within this weird, wild world she now inhabits.  A deadly world.

Ms. Cameron once again amazes with her depth of historical and archaeological knowledge. While Zoe stayed mostly on the East Coast in the last book, this time she globe trots to some of the most beautiful, and fascinating, cities in the world. Copenhagen to Istanbul, her search for the artifacts which call to her lead her to mysterious places and people, while transformations to her very being change her in such a way that even the other Fangborn do not understand what is happening – but they do know they don’t like it. But why?

If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul. – Alphonse de Lamartine

The ending was both shocking and startling, and the worse part of it is that now I have to wait for the next book! Zoe started out the series as just another budding archaeologist, doing the grunt-work, labeling and storing and basically living in the basement of the Boston Museum. What a terrifying change, as she discovers not only that werewolves and vampires and oracles (oh, my!) are real, but they are nothing like Hollywood would have you believe – and she just might be the only hope of saving them all.

With friends becoming enemies, and enemies becoming possible friends, Zoe is stretched beyond anything she has ever believed possible. Will she learn who, and what, her mother was? And is her unknown father possibly still alive? The suspense, action, and depth of the characters will keep you reading into the wee hours!

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Five stars? Nah – read them both, one after another and if you love the same kind of books I do, I absolutely expect you to give it a Perfect Ten!

Highly recommended. This book was provided to me by Netgalley in return for a realistic review, and I very much appreciate it!

Song of the Shaman Crowdfunding! Audiobook Campaign
Song of the Shaman Audiobook Campaign



Received the following in the mail. This might be a great deal for others also seeking audio publication? Crowdfunding is the way to go for pumping up your funding, but also, wouldn’t it be a good way to get your book out there?


This is exciting! Since you requested Song of the Shaman on NetGalley the print and ebook editions have gotten wonderful attention. Now I am running a campaign to raise funds to produce a quality audiobook on Pubslush—a global crowdfunding platform only for books.

Check out Song of the Shaman Audiobook Campaign where you can:

  • Make a contribution
  • Receive amazing rewards
  • Support the fight against illiteracy
  • Or just see what the campaign is all about!

Please help us make this happen!

Our first campaign funding goal is to reach $500. Early birds who donate $50+ in the next week will receive an extra special reward gift – a personalized Song of the Shaman mug—in addition to the reward level listed. Great to sip your coffee or tea from as you listen to the audiobook!  A limited number of mugs are available.

Thanks so much for supporting Song of the Shaman. You’ve been a part of its growing success!Best wishes,

Annette Vendryes Leach

P.S. Not able to contribute to the campaign? You can still help by sharing the page link with friends through your email and social media outlets. That would be awesome. 🙂

Review: A January Bride by Deborah Raney

Take time to write handwritten notes from your heart. They will be treasured and loved. – Lorrin L. Lee

 Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

A cutie for Valentine’s! – Me

A cute Christian HEA for Valentine’s Day

A simple note. Handwritten, left on a table for you to find. Simple words, written in jest or kindness or thanks. From such beginnings what friendships may begin?

Madeline Houser, “Maddie” to her friends, is a writer, trying to finish a book. A book that is due in a few months, and which she is apparently not going to finish as she is trying to finish prepping her sister’s house for sale – prepping which includes much hammering and sawing and yelling and mayhem. Not exactly conducive to the writer’s soul in anyone!

Having moved from New York City to tiny Clayburn, Kansas to prep said house after Maddie’s sister Kate’s husband is suddenly transferred, Maddie is out of her element. However, she can now visit her mother in her nursing home every day, so there are some positives to being so far from her home and her normal life. And as her mother slips further into dementia, she can’t help but appreciate the chance to be with her beloved mom, even if she doesn’t recognize Maddie any more.

Overwhelmed with noise and mess on every hand, Maddie is more than thrilled when her octogenarian neighbor, the lovely Ginny, arranges for Maddie to spend her days writing at the gorgeous former bed and breakfast owned by her friend Authur Tyler. As Authur, an English professor at the college and recent widower is never home during the day, Maddie is thrilled to accept the offer, setting up her laptop every day at the beautiful old wooden dining table, enjoying the peace and quiet, the beautiful surroundings, and Alex, the foot-warming cat.

A thank you note to Mr. Tyler for allowing Maddie to use his home to write leads to a note in response, then another, and another. Soon, Maddie and Mr. Tyler have what few people have these days, a ‘handwritten’ friendship consisting of short comments on the house, the cats, and writing in general. And as Maddie and Ginny’s friendship grows, Maddie is charmed by the apparent crush Ginny has on the invisible Mr. Tyler and sets out to do something about nudging them together. What happens after that is irrepressibly funny, charming, and touching. If you love lighthearted romances, this is definitely one to check out. It was a bit “preachy Christian” for me, but not over the top, and if you are one to really like the “Christian Romance” field, I definitely recommend this one. It is sweet.

I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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