BECOMING ANIMALS by Olga and Christopher Werby




Length: 417 PAGES


Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: DECEMBER 27, 2017

ISBN: 9781981404148

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Humans have always wanted to know what goes on inside the minds of other animals. But what if humans could become animals? Toby’s father leads a team of neuroscientists directly connecting the brains of humans with those of animals. And Toby is a prodigy at throwing her mind into the animal subjects in his lab – she’s the best there is.

But Toby suffers from cystic fibrosis and she’s not likely to live into adulthood. Could a radical plan to embed her consciousness into an animal allow Toby to survive? And what does it mean to live without a human body?

Can Toby and her father solve the problem of fully merging two beings before she takes her last breath? Will the government succeed in stopping their efforts before they are done? It’s a race against death and into the minds of animals.


Technology is advancing so quickly that books once considered science fiction are now reality.

This book contains scientific ideas that are probably, even now, being worked on in labs across North America. No matter how interesting the idea of being able to connect human brains with animal brains, that idea alone is not enough to keep a reader interested or invested in a book.

This is where Toby and her father come in. Toby’s father is a brilliant neuroscientist. It is due to his vision and incredible work ethic that brings about the first way to connect animal and human brains.

Toby is young at the beginning of this book (only 10 years old) but it is her that gets to try her father’s invention first. Using her pet rat, Rufus, Toby connects their minds and is instantly enamoured with the process. Imagine being able to see through the eyes of another creature, to taste what they taste and even to feel their emotions as if they were still your own; what a life-altering experience it would be.

This is exactly what Toby experiences and for her it feels like freedom. Toby has Cystic Fibrosis and isn’t able to do everything her peers can do. Her mother also has the disease, and Toby watches her mother fight for every single breath of air – until the end when her body finally gives out on her. Toby knows that because of her Cystic Fibrosis, she will probably not live to see adulthood.

According to Cystic Fibrosis Canada,
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. At present, there is no cure.

CF causes various effects on the body, but mainly affects the digestive system and lungs. The degree of CF severity differs from person to person, however, the persistence and ongoing infection in the lungs, with destruction of lungs and loss of lung function, will eventually lead to death in the majority of people with CF.

As the novel progresses and Toby gets older and more frail, she comes up with an idea. She wants her father to figure out a way to download Toby’s brain into the brain of a whale.

But, ideas are easy to come up with. It is translating that idea into reality that is difficult – maybe even impossible.

Both Toby and her father know they are racing against the clock. Will he figure out how to transfer Toby’s consciousness into that of a whale? Should he do it if he figures out how? What are the ethical implications?

I love it when I not only enjoy the plot of a story, but also when I learn something from reading a book. I realize that BECOMING ANIMALS is Science-Fiction, but so were cell phones at one point.

Another reason I am rating this book highly is that it informs readers about cystic fibrosis which is not often the case with popular fiction. Raising awareness of any disease is terrific and although reading about Toby’s mother’s death as well as Toby’s daily struggle just to breathe is eye-opening. Most people have heard of Cystic Fibrosis, but do not have any idea of what it means to be diagnosed with it, or worse, to have your child be diagnosed.

I encourage all of the people who follow my reviews to purchase this book and to see for themselves what I am talking about.

I should also mention that even though this book is targeted at adults, the author has included many photographs into this book which assist the reader in visualizing what is happening in the story.

I rate BECOMING ANIMALS as 4 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐


Christopher Werby, J.D., has had a varied career as a lawyer, businessman, technologist, filmmaker, journalist, and new media creator. He has been active with computers since 1975, and taught computer programming at Sarah Lawrence College. He is a commercial photographer and videographer who has contributed to a number of projects. He received a B.A. degree in Physics from Sarah Lawrence College and a Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. He is admitted to practice in the State of California and is an active member of the California State Bar (member 124299). Christopher serves on the board of directors of Grosvenor Properties, Ltd., a real estate investment company. Since 1994, when he formed Pipsqueak, he has been focused on web work, technology, programming, and creating digital assets.


Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She received a Master’s degree in Education of Math, Science, and Technology from U.C. Berkeley and a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. She conceived, designed, and illustrated the award-winning “Field Trips” series of programs distributed by Sunburst Communications. Olga currently teaches interaction design and cognitive theory at the American University in Paris and the University of California at Berkeley Extension Program. She was part of the faculty of San Francisco State University’s Multimedia Studies Program, the Bay Area Video Coalition, and the campus of Apple Computers. Olga is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education. She also holds a California teaching credential and is part of the San Francisco Unified School District where she often tests science-related curriculum materials in public elementary and middle schools.

To learn more about these authors, visit the following links:









GODS OF HOWL MOUNTAIN by Multi-Award Winning Author TAYLOR BROWN is one of the best books I have ever read. COMING SOON.




Length: 304 PAGES


Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 20, 2018

ISBN: 9781250111777

Price: $26.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


In Gods of Howl Mountain, award-winning author Taylor Brown explores a world of folk healers, whiskey-runners, and dark family secrets in the high country of 1950s North Carolina.

Bootlegger Rory Docherty has returned home to the fabled mountain of his childhood – a misty wilderness that holds its secrets close and keeps the outside world at gunpoint. Slowed by a wooden leg and haunted by memories of the Korean War, Rory runs bootleg whiskey for a powerful mountain clan in a retro-fitted ’40 Ford coupe. Between deliveries to roadhouses, brothels, and private clients, he lives with his formidable grandmother, evades federal agents, and stokes the wrath of a rival runner.

In the mill town at the foot of the mountains – a hotbed of violence, moonshine, and the burgeoning sport of stock-car racing – Rory is bewitched by the mysterious daughter of a snake-handling preacher. His grandmother, Maybelline “Granny May” Docherty, opposes this match for her own reasons, believing that “some things are best left buried.” A folk healer whose powers are rumored to rival those of a wood witch, she concocts potions and cures for the people of the mountains while harboring an explosive secret about Rory’s mother – the truth behind her long confinement in a mental hospital, during which time she has not spoken one word. When Rory’s life is threatened, Granny must decide whether to reveal what she knows…or protect her only grandson from the past.

With gritty and atmospheric prose, Taylor Brown brings to life a perilous mountain and the family who rules it.


There is something visceral that is felt when reading this deftly-written story set amidst the deep mountains during a period in history when such places were truly hidden. Where “Above it all the sea of night, the strange ornamentation of stars…” dazzle readers and draw them into the lush setting that is Howl Mountain.

The setting and even the name Howl Mountain is perfect for this magical, secret-rich tale that will have readers believing in the possibility that supernatural powers exist even though they cannot be seen or explained.

The characters are so believable that it is impossible to not find yourself invested in their lives and their world. You will wish you could travel back in time to stop some of the hardships heading towards this family before they happen.

The riotous and abundant surroundings of the mountains will have you longing for a simpler time in America. This will be true for all readers, whether for them it is a memory of days long past or just wishful thinking.

Granny May embodies a time when ‘wise-women‘ were both revered as well as feared. Her knowledge of local herbs and lore allows her to eke out a living during a time when people had little or no money to spare. The Dictionary definition of a wisewoman is: “a woman considered to be knowledgeable in matters such as herbal healing, magic charms, or other traditional lore.” Wisewomen were often feared for their knowledge and were sometimes branded as witches and persecuted by those who feared them. Fortunately for Granny Mae, she knows how to take care of herself.

Rory Docherty is Granny May’s grandson. He is a veteran who left for the Korean war as a boy and returned as a man (minus a leg). He used the money he earned in the war to buy a 1940 Ford Coupe. He and a buddy added all kinds of special extras and made some serious modifications to it in order to make it the perfect Moonshine-Runner’s vehicle. This car was a mean looking hunk of metal.

Rory was raised by Granny May since his mother has been committed to an insane asylum and has not spoken a single word in over twenty years.

As Rory makes his regular whiskey drop-offs, he meets the stunningly gorgeous daughter of a fire-and-brimstone-snake-handling Preacher and falls in love at first sight.

It is this one meeting that changes the course of Rory’s life and the lives of everyone around him.

The question is, will the mountain release any of its closely held secrets? Will the families involved be able to continue on as they always have? What about Granny May? Will she survive the evil that is steadily stalking her? Or will she succumb to it in the end?

This is one book that you will wish would never end. From the way that Taylor Brown describes the mountain landscape, it is evident that he has a deep and abiding affection for nature.

If you have not yet had the privilege of reading any of Taylor Brown’s books, now is your chance and it is one not to be missed.

I rate this amazing book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***


TAYLOR BROWN grew up on the Georgia coast. His work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including The North Carolina Literary Review, The Southwest Review, The Baltimore Review, Chautauqua, Garden & Gun, The Rumpus, CutBank, storySouth, and many others. He is the recipient of a Montana Prize in Fiction, and he’s been a finalist for the Press 53 Open Awards, Machigonne Fiction Contest, Wabash Prize in Fiction, Rick DeMarinis Short Story Contest, Dahany Fiction Prize, and Doris Betts Fiction Prize.

He is the author of a short story collection, In the Season of Blood and Gold (Press 53, 2014), as well as three novels: Fallen Land (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), The River of Kings (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), and Gods of Howl Mountain (St. Martin’s Press, 2018).

Taylor, an Eagle Scout, graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005. He settled in Wilmington, NC, after long stints in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and the mountains of North Carolina. He is the editor-in-chief of, and he enjoys old motorcycles, thunderstorms, and White Dog Mash #1.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:










This book review is also part of the #2018atozchallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS

In the soon to be released ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE, Anne Nesbet has beautifully mixed music with history, family and a morality tale of doing what is right, no matter how difficult that may be. 5 STARS




Length: 448 PAGES



Received From: THE PUBLISHER

Release Date: APRIL 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8804-2

Price: $17.99 USD / $23.99 CDN

** Also Available as an e-book and in audiobook from Candlewick on Brilliance Audio **

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


When eleven-year-old Augusta Neubronner arrives at her grandmother’s orphanage in Maine with little more than her French horn and all that’s left of a broken wish, she steps right into what her German-born papa (now a fugitive from the law) likes to call “the clear light of trouble.”

With World War II on the horizon, Gusta has to confront classmates’ suspicions and the local mill owner’s greed. And when she blunders into family secrets, Gusta must try her best to put things right. Sometimes it takes a whole Orphan Band to help a girl find her place and her voice.

Acclaimed author Anne Nesbet deftly combines music, family, history, and a hint of magic in this unforgettable read.


THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE by Anne Nesbet is a work of Historical fiction written with middle-grade as the intended readership. It is “… nightingale sweet and honey-smooth.”

Anne Nesbet has beautifully mixed music with history, family and a morality tale of doing what is right, no matter how difficult that may be.

Eleven year old Augusta Neubronner Hoopes is sent from her home in New York City to stay at her grandmother’s house deep in central Maine.

From the very first chapter we learn that Augusta (who prefers to be called “Gusta”) has a very heavy load on her shoulders.

Halfway through the trip from New York to Maine, her father disappears. It turns out that he escaped just before authorities searched the bus looking for him. Gusta’s father was born in Germany and has been involved with the labor movement ever since arriving in the United States. Now, he is a fugitive from the law.

When Gusta arrives at her grandmother’s house, all she has to her name is a small bag of clothes and her most prized possession – a French horn. That horn is not just decorative. Gusta can play it, and play it well.

Hearing a family legend that somewhere there is a magic wish “…in a box on a shelf…” Gusta would dearly love to find that wish and sets out to ferret out its location.

The longer she lives in the small town, the more problems she sees that need to be set right. Her father always told her that people needed to help each other whenever they could, and Gusta intends to honor his teaching – no matter how much it will hurt her to do so.

I love this. It is so refreshing to read a story in which solidarity is celebrated and where selfishness is discouraged. In today’s world, it is all about “ME”. Too many people worry only about themselves and ignore the consequences to others of their actions. In this regard, going back in time would be wonderful.

Sometimes it is necessary to look at the world through the eyes of a child who has not yet been beaten down by life. It is through Gusta’s wonderfully flawed eyes that adult readers of this novel discover that everything can be boiled down to one of two choices … Right or Wrong. This lesson may be a simple one, but it is one that is often forgotten. I am happy to say that “The Orphan Band of Springdale” has reminded me of that oh-so-true reality.

Anne Nesbet has touched on so many issues worthy of discussion in this book that it is easy to see this book in a middle grade classroom and a lively discussion taking place. I highly recommend this book to teachers of those grades (as well as to everyone else.)

Here is a partial list of some of the discussion worthy topics include:

* Work ethic in the past vs. work ethic in present day
* Hardscrabble lives
* Unions
* Injured Workers
* Patriotism
* Prejudice
* Government & health
* Music
* Money and lack of it
* Airplanes
* Bullying
* Glasses
* German in the USA
* Dairy Wars
* Purity – of milk and of birth
* Orphans
* Family loyalty
* The value of historic writings – such as the sketchbook and journal from the sea captain found in the attic by Gusta
* Selflessness
* Changes in technology from 1941 to present day

* Unplanned Pregnancies
* And much more…

I sped through the reading of this book because I did not want to put it down. In fact, I spent two very sleepless nights devouring the pages and fully immersing myself in Gusta’s world. Author Anne Nesbet has crafted Gusta’s world with beautifully detailed descriptions and characters with such depth that they seem 100% real. It is patently obvious that the author has a distinct love of small-town Maine, and that love has seeped through onto every page of this delectable book.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am planning to check out previous novels written by Anne Nesbet.

I predict that THE ORPHAN BAND OF SPRINGDALE will find its way onto the Bestseller list shortly after its official release date.

* I would like to thank GOODREADS as well as CANDLEWICK PRESS for providing me with an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of this book.


Anne Nesbet is the author of the novels The Cabinet of Earths, A Box of Gargoyles, and The Wrinkled Crown.

Her books have received starred reviews and have been selected for the Kids’ Indie Next List, Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best list, and the Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of the Year list.

An associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Anne Nesbet lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:










Other Books by Anne Nesbet:

This book is one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS


The idea of the challenge is to read at least one book whose title starts with each letter of the alphabet, so that by the end of 2018 (at the latest) I will have read at least one book for every letter of the alphabet.

#orphanband #theorphanbandofspringdale #annenesbet #arc #readandreview #middlegrade #middlegradebooks #Maine #frenchhorn #music #historicalfiction #candlewickpress #tbr #booknerd #booknerdigans #WWII #unions #labor #labormovement #labourmovement #music #bibliophile #Amiesbookreviews #book #bookblog #bookblogger #bookreview #bookreviewer #2018AtoZChallenge #2018books #newrelease #comingsoon #April2018 #Goodreads

THE BATTLE OF JUNK MOUNTAIN by Lauren Abbey Greenberg is the perfect summer read for lovers of middle-grade fiction.




Length: 256 PAGES


Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 17, 2018

ISBN: 9780762462957

Price: $16.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Twelve-year-old Shayne Whittaker has always spent summers on the Maine coast, visiting her grandmother Bea and playing with her BFF Poppy. Both Shayne and Bea are collectors, in their own ways: Shayne revels in golden memories of searching for sea glass and weaving friendship bracelets with Poppy, while Bea scours flea markets for valuable finds, much of which she adds to a growing pile in her house that Shayne jokingly calls Junk Mountain.

This summer, though, everything has changed. Poppy would rather talk about boys than bracelets, and Bea’s collecting mania has morphed into hoarding. Only Linc, the weird Civil War-obsessed kid next door, pays attention to her. Turns out Linc’s collected a secret of his own, one that could enrage the meanest lobsterman on the planet, his grandpa. What begins as the worst summer of Shayne’s life becomes the most meaningful, as she wages an all-out battle to save her friendships, rescue her grandmother, and protect the memories she loves the most.


Are you looking for a great book for your middle-grade reader to read during summer vacation? Look no further. THE BATTLE OF JUNK MOUNTAIN is the absolutely perfect read for summer (and for any other time of year).

HINT — You might want to buy two copies because you will enjoy this book just as much as your child!!!

Twelve year old Shayne (yes, it sounds like a boy’s name, but it’s not) is spending the summer in her favorite place on the planet … on the coast of Maine at her grandmother’s house, which sits directly on the water.

She had been looking forward to spending time with her “Summer-Sister” Poppy, making friendship bracelets, collecting sea glass and hanging out at the beach.

But, from the moment Shayne arrives, things start going wrong. Poppy has a job at her family’s grocery store and can spend barely any time with her. And, when they finally do get a chance to hang out, all Poppy wants to talk about is boys. YUCK!

Shayne’s grandmother, Bea, is a compulsive garage sale shopper and her house is full of knick knacks and signs and just about anything you can imagine. Shayne has been sent by her mother to help Grandma Bea get organized to sell it all at the local flea market.

To make matters even more complicated, Bea has a new next door neighbor; one who never smiles and always seems to be angry at something or someone – Shayne secretly nicknames him “Cranky.”

To add to this bizarre, but somehow perfect, mix of people, Cranky’s grandson, Linc, arrives. Linc is around the same age as Shayne and is a bit … Odd. He is obsessed with the Civil War and in reenactments. He even wears a Civil War outfit and cap EVERY SINGLE DAY.

He may dress a little strangely (ok, well, it’s actually A LOT strange, especially for at the beach) but he has a great heart and Linc and Shayne become something similar to friends.

The story has multiple twists and turns and has more than one mystery, all of which Shayne somehow ends up in the middle of each one.

A tale of growing up and of beginning to learn there is more to a person than meets the eye and that judging someone by what they look like, or the clothes they wear is NOT right, and usually ends up being inaccurate.

Shayne also learns about friendship and what makes a true friend. Hoarding is also discussed, as is aging, financial hardships, and the lives and livelihoods of fishermen. It is incredible how much knowledge this book contains. The middle grade reader will not realize it, but as they read, they are learning many valuable lessons. Actually, these lessons are also great for older readers to take in as well. They may already know many of the facts, but it is never a bad thing to remind adult readers of the morals this story imparts.

Highly readable, incredibly fun, with compelling characters, THE BATTLE OF JUNK MOUNTAIN is a middle grade Must Read. For that reason I have to rate this superb book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* Thank you to NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book.


Photograph by David Baratz

Lauren Abbey Greenberg is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature and has been published in Highlights for Children and Knowonder! magazine. She has also written and produced TV spots for Discovery Kids, educational videos for National Geographic, and a film for Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

She lives in Maryland with her family and has spent summers in Maine for the past twenty years.

This is her debut novel.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:










Book Details:

Book Title: Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach

Category: Adult Fiction, 344 pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Bookbaby

Release Date: Dec 1, 2017

Tour Dates: Jan 3 to 31, 2017

Content Rating: PG-13 + M (Adult themes including infidelity, occasional F-word, non-explicit sex scenes)

Book Description:

At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She’s just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style.

Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt’s work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.

Then she meets her new boss, Reese Kirkpatrick. Working and traveling together, she and Reese become a crackerjack team, but little by little, pleasure mixes with business. For the first time in a long time—maybe ever—Susan feels seen and appreciated for who she is. Certain she would never allow their friendship to cross the line, Susan lets herself stray dangerously close to the edge.

A moment of weakness changes everything. Now, unable to stomach the façade her marriage has become yet unwilling to decimate her family by moving forward with Reese, Susan faces a choice that could cost her everything—including her children . . . but possibly bring her more than she can dream.

Praise for Degrees of Love:

“Slabach crafts a relatable, heartbreakingly real story that will no doubt resonate with those at a similar station in life: women who love their families yet yearn for just a little more—to feel wanted rather than needed, to feel passion rather than complacency. In engaging prose and through skillful storytelling, Slabach captivates with an all-too-familiar story that raises questions with no easy answers.”

Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“This does not read like a debut author’s book. Slabach shows herself to be adept at portraying the complex emotions of the human condition. Her characters live and breathe on the page in a way that every author strives for, but few actually manage. Susan’s struggles ring true, and the way she handles everything makes her a very likable and relatable character.”

Sarah Perry, San Francisco Book Review, 5 Stars

“Profound, heart wrenching and very emotional, it is hard to believe that Degrees of Love is a debut novel by Lisa Slabach. This is one of the best novels I have read this year.”

Rabia Tanveer, Readers’ Favorite
To read more reviews, please visit Lisa Slabach’s page on iRead Book Tours.


Lisa Slabach has written a story in which it is easy to see yourself in the main characters. Anyone who has been married for a number of years can understand that sometimes daily life gets in the way of passion. Temptation to feel that excitement of new love can happen to anyone.

The author has deftly captured the imagination of the reader. This is classified as “Women’s Fiction.” There is a very good reason for this. Women can read a book about adultery and not have that translate to their real lives. I am not sure the same can be said about men.

I have to admit that I was utterly absorbed by this book and even though I am 100% against cheating in real life, I couldn’t help but wonder what way the main character would go.

Would she cheat? Would she resist temptation? If she did cheat, would she end up giving up her husband and children?

This book raises other interesting questions, such as:

* How important is your own happiness in relation to the happiness of your children?

* Do you have the right to do something simply to make yourself happy even when you know other people will be hurt by your actions?

I loved the ending of the book and I admit that I was certainly surprised by it.

I rate DEGREES OF LOVE by Lisa Slabach as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* Thank you to iRead Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of this book.

Buy the Book:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~

Chapters-Indigo ~ Powell’s

Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Degrees of Love is Lisa Slabach’s debut novel. She is currently working on her third full-length manuscript and a collection of short stories inspired by her experiences growing up in a small farm community in Washington’s Yakima Valley. In addition to writing, Lisa works for a Fortune 500 Company, leading a sales team in the financial industry. She currently resides in Northern California with her husband and has two daughters, who are both pursuing careers in film. In her free time, she enjoys drinking wine with friends and cooking in her pink kitchen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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This book review is also part of my #2018AtoZChallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS

John R. Monteith’s New Series: The Wraith Hunter Chronicles begins with 5 Star PROPHECY OF ASHES





Length: 279 PAGES


Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: JANUARY 1, 2018

ISBN: 9781640620292

Price: $10.99 USD (SOFTCOVER)

Price: $3.99 USD (EBOOK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Master your powers or become the next sacrifice.

Magical daggers. Books of ancient secrets. Wraith hunters. Human sacrifices…

Dianne uses her prophetic powers to pay the rent with tarot readings, but when telepathic shocks, ghostly warnings, and cryptic cautions from a secret book burst into her life, she needs to embrace her full abilities–fast.

An immortal savage is seeking her as a sacrifice, leading her to partner with strange men who use modern technology and ancient magic to hunt her potential murderer. Racing against time and learning her powers while defending herself, Dianne must battle a relentless enemy, guide the efforts of her protectors, and prove her inner strength and empathic competency to survive.


Author John Monteith has created a new book series. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and getting to know the main characters.

This book is not just a single story, it is also the evolution of an entirely new series. There are multiple plot lines, each starring its own character, and each character has their own fully formed history.

PROPHECY OF ASHES is meticulously plotted so that at key moments a new twist is revealed and that twist neatly answers questions readers had earlier in the story. If I sound cryptic, it is only because I do not want to give anything away that would ruin the next readers experience with “Prophecy of Ashes.”

I use the word “experience” above and that is exactly what this book is – an experience. You don’t just read it, you dive into it. The author skillfully takes the reader on a journey that made me think of Dan Brown’s novel, The DaVinci Code.

Prophecy of Ashes has a completely new and different storyline, but it is similar to The DaVinci Code in that modern day skepticism and ancient mystical concepts are brought together and combined to create an unforgettable tale.

The concept of ‘Good versus Evil’ has been around since humans began walking upright. It is used repeatedly in both film and literature. Sometimes the concept works, and sometimes it does not. In PROPHECY OF ASHES, IT WORKS!!!

The story involves reluctant psychics, a five-hundred year old serial killer, ghosts, feisty grandmothers, a secret society sworn to rid the world of wraiths, and an autistic young man with a brilliant mind. It is impossible not to get drawn into the story and you literally will not want to put this book down. In fact, I read the entire tale within twenty-four hours. In my mind, any book that makes me forgo sleep deserves a rating of 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I am excited about the WRAITH HUNTER CHRONICLES and will be eagerly awaiting Book Two.

*A special thank you to the author for providing me with a free print copy of this book. *


After John Monteith graduated from the Naval Academy in 1991, his career in the U.S. Navy included service aboard a nuclear ballistic missile submarine and a tour as a top-rated instructor of combat tactics at the U.S. Naval Submarine School. Since his transition to civilian life, he has continued to pursue his interest in cutting-edge technology. He currently lives in the Detroit area, where he works in engineering when he’s not busy cranking out high-tech naval action thrillers.

Novels by John Monteith in the Rogue Submarine series include ROGUE AVENGER (2005), ROGUE BETRAYER (2007), ROGUE CRUSADER (2010), ROGUE DEFENDER (2013), ROGUE ENFORCER (2014), ROGUE FORTRESS (2015), ROGUE GOLIATH (2015), ROGUE HUNTER (2016), ROGUE INVADER (2017), and ROGUE JUSTICE (2017).

He also kicked off the Archangel’s Wrath series with WRATH OF THE ANGEL (2016), where a young man who takes cybernetic control of predatory animals is challenged by an exorcist who believes the source of his power is demonic.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:










Watch “AWC interview with John R Monteith 2” on YouTube:

This book is one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS

REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE by Anna Mainwaring is a delicious YA novel destined to be a Bestseller.




Length: 216 PAGES


Type of Book: ARC – SOFTCOVER


Release Date: APRIL 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77138-826-9 (HARDCOVER)

Price: USD $17.99 / CAD $18.99

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS


Jesobel Jones is bold and brash, the daughter of a hand model and a washed-up rock star. Jess sees no need to apologize for her rambling house, her imperfect family, her single status … or her weight. Jess is who she is. She makes her own cupcakes and she eats them, too. No regrets.

That is, until Own Clothes Day rolls around at school. Jess and her friends dedicate the requisite hours of planning to their outfits, their hair and their makeup for the one day they are free from school uniforms. But a wardrobe malfunction leaves Jess with a pair of leggings split open at the worst spot, and a mean girl calling her the one thing that’s never bothered her before: fat.

The encounter shakes Jess’s formerly iron-clad confidence, and she starts to wonder if she’s been just a little too comfortable in her own skin. When the boy of her dreams invites her to a party, she must decide whether to try to fit in for the first time in her life, or remain true to herself — whoever that really is.


I LOVED THIS BOOK. The main character is a “real” teenager. What I mean by that is that Jesobel or “Jess” is not some perfect specimen of femininity.

Jess has opinions. She has a real body. Ok, she is actually F-A-T, but she owns it. She prides herself on her feminism. She is honest with herself and others. She doesn’t care what others say about her … well, that is until she has a chance at a date with her secret crush. Jesobel proves that no matter how strong a person is, their insecurities often trump logic.

REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE has the potential to be this generation’s BRIDGET JONES DIARY. With irreverent humor and marvelous characters, debut author Anna Mainwaring has accomplished the truly significant. She has crafted a book that will not only entertain young adult readers, but will also enlighten them and make them feel that they are not alone.

It is simple to tell someone that all teen girls have issues with self-esteem, it is quite another to have them believe you. Anna Mainwaring’s talent in understanding the mind of teen girls is unparalleled and shines through on every page of this novel.

Her gift for crafting an unforgettable story while also penning truly realistic and believable characters will have this book in high demand. In fact, I predict it will become a Bestseller. For this reason I rate REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE as a perfect 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to YOUNG ADULT BOOK CENTRAL for running the giveaway and for choosing me as the winner of one of the ARCs of this remarkable book.***


Anna Mainwaring studied English Literature, which led to a career in banking. She left that career to travel and then to train as a teacher.

Anna took part in NaNoWriMo in 2012, and after endless drafts, Rebel with a Cupcake was born.

When not writing, Anna can be found walking up hills or in cafés.

She lives in Cheshire, England, with her family, including a murderous gold fish called Moriarty.

To learn more about this author, or to PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY of REBEL WITH A CUPCAKE, visit the following links:







This book review is also one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge being hosted by GINGERMOMREADS

– This is my 12th Book Review of 2018






Length: 298 PAGES


Type of Book: EBOOK

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 9, 2018

ISBN: 9781979087650

Price: $2.99 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐


They call me Angel of Death, but my name is Nisha Blake. I am Shepherdstown’s living urban legend. My life, a tale of the macabre.

People avoid me like the plague. Well, everyone but my friends. They don’t see the Angel of Death when they look at me. They see poor, broken Nisha—the bully victim, suffering from vicious night terrors and vivid hallucinations.

Things take a turn for the worse when Blaze shows up. He’s a too hot, tattooed, bad-ass MMA fighter from London, hell-bent on getting to know me. Since he walked into my miserable life, my hallucinations graduated to a point where I can no longer differentiate between fiction and reality.

I am insane.
Broken beyond repair.
Or so I think until—

I uncover a secret form the past—a link between all the deaths, my hallucinations, and my night terrors. It’s then I understand I’m not the Angel of Death.

I am something else.
Someone else.


THE BOOK OF SOULS is the first book in a new Young Adult series called; THE GODS OF EGYPT. This is set in the Present Day and features regular teenagers. At least we think they are normal teens.

Nisha Blake wishes she was a regular teenager, one who could fade into anonymity. However, Nisha has quite a sinister reputation. Students and even some teachers and other adults refer to her as “The Angel of Death.”

Why would anyone make up a nickname like that? Well, Nisha has had the unfortunate experience of witnessing multiple deaths, starting from a very young age. This includes the murder of her parents a year before the story begins.

Fortunately, Nisha has a few terrific friends that she can always count on. If not for them, her Aunt and her boss at the local bookstore, Nisha would probably have been committed to the local Insane Asylum.

The story contains: visions, hideous monsters, a super sexy MMA fighter, magical spell-books, murder, nasty teenagers, popularity contests, mob mentalities, a wicked simmering romance, ancient Egyptian artifacts and an epic battle between good and evil.

I enjoyed the story but I have to admit that there were a few things that bothered me:

1. There were multiple typos throughout the book. (Since the copy I received was an ARC – Advance Reader Copy, I am hoping and assuming these will be fixed before the actual release date.)

2. In this age of anti-bullying, I found it difficult to believe that some of the teachers openly bullied Nisha. I am not naive, I know that teachers can be bullies, but they are not usually so blatant about it. In almost every school, a teacher who bullied a student would be fired immediately.

3. This one is probably just me, but each time someone plopped down on a bed, the author said they “plummeted” on the bed. Every time I read that phrase it made me think of someone jumping out of an airplane and plummeting through the sky and landing on Nisha’s bed. Ok. Ok. I know that is weird, but I can’t help what is conjured in my mind when reading.

Other than those few items listed above I enjoyed the story. It starts out quickly and the tension never lets up. Even on the final page, readers will find themselves on the edge of their seat. The ending is a cliff-hanger that will have readers signing up for the author’s newsletter to find out when Book Two of the Gods of Egypt series will be released.

My favorite character is Izzy. Izzy is Nisha’s cousin and they have grown up more like sisters than cousins. In fact, Nisha and Izzy now live together with Izzy’s Mom & her boyfriend in Nisha’s parents house. This arrangement only came about as a result of the death/murder of Nisha’s parents. If I had to choose a single word to describe Izzy, that word would be “loyal.” Izzy is gorgeous, she’s popular, she’s in love with an amazing guy, and yet she always has time for Nisha. Not only does she make time for her, but when someone is bullying Nisha, Izzy’s protective and fierce side comes out. When that happens, it even causes the captain of the football team to take a step back.

To sum up my feelings about this book, I think it was an easy, fun read that teens looking for an escape from reality for a little while will very much enjoy. Not only that, but they will learn about Egyptian mythology along the way.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*Thank you to NETGALLEY for providing me with a free copy of this book.*


Nadine aka Dini is a Traveler at heart. She considers the world her home and practically lives out of her suitcases. When she’s not glaring at a blank page or abusing her poor keyboard, she spends her time reading, watching movies (preferably horror), pretends to work out, and hangs out with friends and family. Poor girl also suffers from a serious Marvel superhero addiction. So, if you run into her at night, wearing black, know she’s secretly dreaming of being the infamous Black Widow.

Her love for writing started in the sixth grade where she annoyed her classmates with a short story featuring Sailor Moon characters, a cemetery, and creepy ghosts. Yes, she’s always been addicted to the dark side. Nadine writes paranormal romance. Her debut novel “Karma” the first book in her paranormal romance series Drag Me To Hell is published by the Wild Rose Press and was released May 2016. She has a serious girl crush on her protagonist Amanda Bishop.

Nadine has a BA in Comparative Religions and studied Creative Writing at the University of Oxford.

She would love to hear from you. So, if you have any questions about her books, would like to set up an interview, book signing, etc, please use the email address below.

To contact Nadine directly, please email

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:








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“Judging people is easy. Trying to understand where they’re coming from? So much harder.”

Xpresso Book Tours

This book is also part of the #2018AtoZChallenge being run by GINGERMOMREADS

With this review I have reached a new level of this challenge and am now a FLAMINGO (11 to 15 Books Reviewed in 2018)

DEVIL’S HARVEST by Amazing Author JAMIE THORNTON captures the imagination and won’t let go. 5 STARS.





Length: 36 PAGES


Type of Book: EBOOK


Release Date: DECEMBER 19, 2017



Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


From New York Times bestselling author Jamie Thornton, enter the dark and mysterious worlds of the Doormakers. For fans of Sarah J Maas, Jeff Wheeler, and Rachel E. Carter.


One family rule has shaped Esson’s life: never open a door. Esson comes from a family of doormakers—people who unleash otherworldly violence when they open something even as simple as a refrigerator door.

Esson’s family lied to him.
Esson didn’t die when he opened a door.

But if Esson doesn’t track down some magical drugs within the next two hours, the drug dealer he got involved with might just kill him anyway.


Jamie Thornton is one of my favorite authors. Her FEAST OF WEEDS series is a phenomenal read and was what cemented the name JAMIE THORNTON in my mind as a a writer with a rare talent for creating worlds and characters that are not only believable, but also intriguing and entertaining.

In this prequel to her new DOORMAKER SERIES, she has once again crafted a story that pulls the reader in and does not let them go – even after the final page. Once you finish this novella you will immediately want to read the first book in the Doormaker series. DEVIL’S HARVEST is just that good.

Imagine not being able to open a door without mistakenly opening a portal to another world. It might sound glamourous to some people, but this “gift/curse” occurs whenever any type of door is opened, even a refrigerator. Talk about inconvenient!!!

This prequel introduces readers to Esson’s family. Every member of the family is afflicted with the same “gift.” Esson is the eldest son and feels a responsibility to help his parents pay the bills, even though he is only thirteen.

It is the desire to help his family that gets Esson into a situation that is well over his head; he has been stealing drugs through a portal he opened. He is in too deep now and even if he wanted to stop using his gift to steal drugs, the drug dealer he has been supplying will never let him go.

So, will Esson find a way out of his current situation? Or will he resign himself to being a 13 year old drug dealer? Will the cash potential be too much of a lure to keep him from getting out? Or will he try to escape and be killed in the attempt?

You need to read DEVIL’S HARVEST to find out!!!

Once again Jamie Thornton has created a winner. I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series. If past books and this prequel are anything to judge by, the rest of the trilogy will also be 5 Star worthy.

I rate DEVIL’S HARVEST as an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Jamie Thornton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Feast of Weeds series, which has recently been optioned for TV. She lives in Northern California with her husband, two dogs, a garden, lots of chickens, a viola, and a bicycle.

Jamie writes stories that take place halfway around the world, in an apocalyptic future, in a parallel universe—her books don’t always stick to one genre, but they always take the reader on a dark adventure.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:









To read my reviews of Jamie Thornton’s FEAST OF WEEDS series, click HERE!!!

This book is one of my contributions to the GingermomReads #2018AtoZChallenge

FRIENDS & OTHER LIARS by KAELA COBLE is a fantastic story about what friendship really means. This 5 Star Read releases on February 6th so MARK YOUR CALENDAR – You will be glad you did.




Length: 361 PAGES


Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: FEBRUARY 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5116-1

Price: $15.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


To all my old friends:
So here you all are. Nice to see you can show up for a person once he’s dead.

When Ruby St. James returns to her hometown, it is to the grave of her old friend Danny, a member of a group that was, ten years ago, Ruby’s whole world. The crew made a pact back then: stay together, stay loyal, and stay honest. But that was before all of the lies.

Because even friends keep secrets. They just don’t stay secret for long.

Now Danny has left behind a letter for each of them, issuing one final ultimatum: share your darkest betrayal to the group, or risk it coming out in a trap he has created. When past mistakes resurface, the lines of friendship blur, and four old friends are left trying to understand what it means to lie to the ones you love best.


Beautiful Vermont

This picture is of Church Street in Vermont. This is just like the Main Street in the novel.

Set in the small town of Chatwick, Vermont, the setting of this story is much like the small town I grew up in. And the circle of friends at the center of the plot, remind me of my group of friends from early middle and high school. In fact, Kaela Coble has somehow managed to capture the essence of the universal highschool experience, as well as to accurately convey the intensity of highschool friends and romantic experiences.

New author, Kaela Coble, has a gift for understanding the complicated dynamics that often exist amongst a group of friends. Her insight into the secrets that people keep, even from those closest to them is spot on. She writes based on her own youth which I am sure is the key to the believability of the story.

Having one of the main characters die before the book even begins was a stroke of brilliance. In this way the entire story revolves around Danny (who died of a purposeful heroin overdose.) Before his death he wrote a letter and had his mother read it to his friends (during highschool they referred to themselves as “The Crew.”) Included with his final goodbye, Danny has included an envelope for each of his friends. Inside those envelopes, Danny has revealed that person’s most hidden secret along with a threat that if they don’t reveal their secrets to each other, the secret would be told through a trap Danny had engineered before his suicide.

Think about that for a minute. Do you have to tell your friends everything about you? Are you not entitled to keep some things private?

In this story, readers will find themselves pondering friendship and what it truly means to be a “good” friend.

This book is chock-full of lies, deception, anger, betrayal, love and desire, as well as moments of extreme comfort and ease, all tempered by moments of hatred and extreme violence.

Kaela Coble’s gift is both impressive and undeniable. I have read other book reviews that say things like: ‘The characters jumped off the page,” and I always thought that was a ridiculous statement to make, but now that I have finished reading this book, for the first time ever I completely understand what they mean. The characters in this book never seem like written characters, they come across as real people and long after the final page, readers will still be thinking about them.

FRIENDS AND OTHER LIARS is one of the best Coming-of-Age stories I have had the pleasure of reading. I truly hope to read more books featuring these characters and the beautiful setting of small-town Chatwick, Vermont.

Kaela has also included a Reader’s Group Discussion Guide in the back of the book. It is also available online by clicking HERE.

Aside from the plot being completely spell-binding, this book also tackles some very real and deadly serious social issues, including but not limited to: suicide, addiction, child abuse, losing your virginity, opiate addiction and the rising number of Fentanyl related deaths. The fact that Kaela Coble has been able to include these issues seamlessly into her story is just one more indication that she is an author on the verge of becoming a very big deal in the publishing world.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would have rated it even higher if it was possible.

Kaela Coble has made me a fan and I am fervently hoping she is hard at work on her next book.

*** I received a free copy of this book from the author. **


Kaela Coble is an author of women’s fiction, represented by Stephanie Kip Rostan of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. Friends and Liars is her debut novel.

Kaela earned her B.S. in Communications and completed short stints in marketing, public relations and copywriting before switching to assistant work to free up creative energy for writing. She is a member of the League of Vermont Writers and a graduate of the Womentoring Project.

She is also a voracious reader and a hopeless addict to bad television and good chocolate. She lives with her husband in Burlington, Vermont, and is a devoted mother to their rescued chuggle, Gus.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:











Funeral Pictures

This book review is one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge on the GingermomReads Blog.

As an aside, here are some pictures I found on the web showing what heroin can do to a person’s physical appearance:

If you or anyone you know are thinking about suicide, please reach out to someone. You’ll be surprised at how many strangers will care about you.

Not suicidal, but are having a hard time with anxiety or depression, or with any other problem in your life, reach out anonymously.

Here is one of the places you can visit for help:


KIDS HELP PHONE on Instagram

Kid’s Help Phone’s professional counsellors are available to talk 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868

– YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOUR NAME – It is completely anonymous and FREE.