My Year in Books

It’s that time again, when with the help of Goodreads I can look over my favorite books of the last year.

At the end of 2014 the 8 books I chose as my favorites were a 50/50 split between traditionally published and indie published authors. You can read last year’s selections here. This year there are more indies than trad published titles.

Now according to Goodreads I read 34 books in 2015. Here is a summary of my favorites in no particular order. Click on the covers to read my original reviews on Goodreads. All the books I’m highlighting here I gave either 4 or 5 stars to.

I began the year with a wonderful book I received for my birthday from my good friend, Larry.


I adored this book and have since shared it with my husband and my son and would really love some day to have a chance to meet James and Bob. Look out for the movie that should be coming out sometime in the next year and read the book, seriously guys read the book!

Imminent Danger  ChasingNonconformity

I began and ended the year with Michelle Proulx’s wonderful Imminent Danger series. As an avid Douglas Adams fan I adore Proulx’s fast paced and funny space opera and anxiously await book 3.


Next on the list is a joyous quirky fantasy by indie author, M.A. Ray. I read books one and two this year along with a number of M.A. Ray’s companion short stories. The third book and M.A. Ray’s new book, The High King’s Will are on my reading list for 2016.


I cannot go a year without reading a Neil Gaiman book, and this year it was it the delightful tale of Nobody Owens and how “it takes a graveyard to raise a child.” One of Gaiman’s best.


Just look at that cover folks! Voodoo Butterfly is the only book I have ever bought on the strength of its cover. It’s mesmerizing. As is the story that immerses you into the world of Voodoo in New Orleans.


I read quite a few books during my annual summer trip to visit my mother in Israel, but this was the one that stood out the most. Jen Ponce creates a kick-ass heroine in Devany Miller and I look forward to continuing the series in 2016.


Talking of series – this year Misha Burnett bid farewell to James and Catskinner in the final book of the The Book of Lost Doors, Gingerbread Wolves. For those of you who like speculative fiction that doesn’t quite fit into anyone pigeonhole, I encourage you to check out Misha’s books.


Bigfoot, check. Unicorn, check. Vampire, check. What if all those myths and many more were true, and what if they’re kind of getting out of control. Mike Wolff’s Guiding Council was a fun romp that reminded me a fair bit of a Pratchett tale (a huge compliment as I love Pratchett). I’m looking forward to book 2 which I recently downloaded for my tablet.


Sometimes when you read a book, you know it’s going to take off and you’re excited about being one of the first to discover the next big thing! That’s how I felt reading Christopher Mannino’s School of Deaths. A must for lovers of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, or might I say, P.A.W.S.!

So that’s it – my favorite books of those I read in 2015. So Happy New Year folks and Happy Reading!





Author Spotlight: T.D Shields

Interview with YA author, TD Shields.

YA Author Rendezvous


Written by
Michelle Lynn

What are the titles of your work and can you tell us a bit about them?
My first two books are Into Shadow and Into Light. You should probably read them in that order. I just heard from one of my beta readers for Into Light and she accidentally read it first and then started on Into Shadow… she was very confused!

Both books are set in the not-so-distant future… there has been an enormous war that involved the entire world and the country is only now beginning to recover from it. The country is led by a dashing, handsome war hero who you would like very much if I didn’t kill him off within a few minutes of opening the book.

After his death, his daughter Poppy has to learn to fend for herself and figure out what to do next. She ends up hiding…

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Meet Maggie Larche

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Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome children’s author Maggie Larche.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, Maggie.

I’m a former economist turned stay-at-home mom and children’s author. I’m originally from Pensacola, Florida, though I’ve lived in the Midwest as well as the Gulf Coast.

  1. When did you first start writing?

All writers start out as readers, and my love of books was handed down to me by my parents as a small child. I remember being only seven years old, falling asleep at night as my dad read the Lord of the Rings trilogy out loud to my sisters and me.

I wrote plenty of stories as a kid (though most of them were awful), but I don’t think I took writing seriously until I started learning the mechanics of academic writing. Something about the structure of having to prove your argument really appealed to me.

When I was in graduate school for economics, I decided to take a crack at writing my own children’s novel. Striker Jones, my awesome kid detective, was born on those cold Chicago nights, as I typed away at my laptop in my one-room apartment.

  1. What were your favorite books as a child?

This is a tough one to narrow down! Some of the top contenders are From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, and the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. When I got a little older, I fell in love with the works of Jane Austen.

I was already a teen when the Harry Potter books hit their stride, but I’d have to say that these ended up having the greatest impact on my writing. (Mine too – DMK)

  1. What inspires you to write?

Like many avid readers, I remember the joy I’d feel as a kid when I found a good book. I would spend all day on the couch or in my room, devouring the story.

I want to recreate that joy for kids today. I try to write stories that are entertaining and that speak to the desires of kids – for adventure in their lives, for strong friendship, and for ways to grow and prove themselves.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your latest release.

I’ve recently launched two new books!

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The first is The Mardi Gras Chase, Book 1 of the True Girls series. It follows Melanie, a twelve-year-old girl who’s tired of both her little sister and yet another Mardi Gras in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama. When Melanie discovers a code hidden within the Mardi Gras floats of a parade, she discovers the adventure and excitement that she was lacking. She even learns to appreciate that little sister of hers, as well.

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My second new release is Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked, also the first in a series. These are funny, fast-paced chapter books that follow the antics of Charlie and his friends. Charlie might be a little featherbrained – and he is certainly talented at getting into scrapes – but he and his friends always manage to muddle through somehow.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I’m starting the second book in the True Girls series. No title yet, but it’s about a girl who starts her own dance school after her dad gets laid off from work. I’ve also got a new Halloween Charlie Bingham in the works.

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

No surprise here – read a book! I also love a good beach day in the summer and a crisp hike in the fall.

  1. If you had a super power what would it be?

Teleportation! Flying sounds exciting, but nothing would be so efficient as teleporting. Think how easy travel would be.

  1. If you could hang out for a day with a fictional character who would you choose?

Another tough one to narrow down. It’s a tie between Elizabeth Bennet, Hercule Poirot, and Bertie Wooster. I like to think that we’d all sit down for a game of Spades. (Love this – DMK)

  1. How can readers connect with you?

Please join my mailing list at! As a bonus, you will receive a free download of my second Charlie Bingham book, Charlie Bingham Gets Serious.

OPEN SUBMISSION: The Sirens Call – Issue #25 ‘WiHM 2016 – Things That Go Bump in the Night’

Call for submissions for female horror writers. I’m submitting a drabble. What have you got?

The Sirens Song

b_w_generic_cover_callThis will be our fourth annual Women in Horror Month edition of The Sirens Call eZine. As usual, it’s ladies only for this open call!

Our initial intent – or perhaps, want – was to angle the call toward nightmares. Who doesn’t love a good nightmare tale, right? But after gnawing on it a bit, we opted to open it up to something with a wider scope that certainly includes nightmares; the theme is ‘Things That Go Bump in the Night’. And by ‘things’ we mean horror-things, frightening things, things you wouldn’t want to encounter by the light-of-day.

The usual rules apply: no bestiality, no descriptive rape scenarios, and absolutely no pedophilia. We would also strongly advise those writing for the call to avoid physical/violent abuse as a form of horror fiction. WiHM is about recognizing the women of horror, celebrating their passion for the genre and their creative ability…

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Puzzler’s Wednesday – Balaji Agoram (Bruno)

It’s Puzzler’s Wednesday!

Paws 4 Puzzles

Balaji Bruno in Brooklyn

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I live in the San Francisco area and work for a biotech company in their clinical R&D department.

  1. When did you start solving and making puzzles?

I had tried my hand at solving cryptics back during college day , but completely lost touch with it due to life, career, family etc, until a couple of years back due to Facebook groups such as Cryptic Crossword Society and 1Across. These groups helped me get back to cryptics and also helped hone my setting skills.

  1. Do you just concentrate on cryptics or do you solve/create other kinds of puzzles too?

Just cryptics – difficult enough to find time for them!

  1. A cryptic clue that always stayed with you?

Used to hold her in sleep when upset (10) (UK Telegraph, can’t remember setter)

  1. Favorite constructor?

No particular favourites, but enjoy many of…

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Creating a Fantasy Supervillain

What makes a supervillain? Christopher Mannino, Author of School of Deaths tells us.

YA Author Rendezvous

Written by
Christopher Mannino

As a speculative fiction writer, I’m always looking for new and interesting creatures. Often villains and magicians in fantasy have special abilities, things they do that are beyond normal,and might be terrifying.

Imagine, for instance, a creature with visual omnipresence. Omnipresence means that you can exist everywhere at once, able to see and witness everyone and everything. Unlike an omnipotent character, who knows everything, an omnipresent character would be able to see everything themselves. It’d be impossible to keep any secrets from this godlike ability, because everywhere you go, whether sleeping or awake, the character’s there, watching. Imagine for example, Sauron with visual omnipresence- he takes one look at the Ring- book’s over in chapter one. Same thing with Voldemort, President Snow, Darth Vader- you get the idea. Even in history this idea is terrifying. Want D-Day or the next drone strike to be a…

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