My Addiction: Edelweiss

Yes, I also get titles from Edelweiss. I’m a little better at reading those titles, or at least I used to be.  But here are the next ten titles that I will be focusing on.

The Fossil Chronicles: How Two Controversial Discoveries Changed Our View of Human Evolution Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version

Teeth Mistle Child (The Undertaken, #2)

Domino Falls (Devil's Wake, #2) Legacy of the Clockwork Key (The Secret Order, #1)

Escape Theory (Keaton School, #1) The Iron King (The Accursed Kings, #1)

Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter (Itch, #1)  Murder on Olympus (Plato Jones #1)

So I have posted a Ten Book TBR for all of my digital titles. I don’t know how soon that I will finish them all, but when I finish enough (either in sets of 5, 7 or 10) I will do a wrap-up of everything. Before a new TBR will be created, I plan on finishing all 30 of these titles. (If I could just avoid the library I’d accomplish this faster, but…. )

Always Shine!


My Addiction: Kindle

Here are the ten titles that I’ve purchased and plan to read from my kindle library. (Some may have been free offers.)

Blood Ties (PI Julie Collins, #1)  His Flower Queen (Queen Quartette, #1)

A Sweet Surrender (Hearts at War #1) First Love: Jake & Sabrina

To Fool an Assassin (Women of Purgatory, #1) The Lawyer's Luck (Home to Milford College, #0.5)

Skin Folk Love Like This (The Romance Chronicles—Book #1)

The Missing One Just One Kiss (Black Alcove, #1)


I will be doing a ten book TBR for my Edelweiss titles, so check back!


Always Shine!

Supplemental Material Review: Explanatorium of Nature by DK Smithsonian

Explanatorium of Nature

Explanatorium of Nature by DK Smithsonian 

October 3, 2017 – DK Publishing

360 p. – Nonfiction, Reference, Children’s

Source: Netgalley, Publisher

Purpose: Review

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Some of you  may be wondering why you occasionally see reviews for supplemental materials on this blog. Initially, it was because I worked at an afterschool program and was on the lookout for anything (and everything) that would help my kids.  Now, I am not longer with the program, but I am homeschooling my child, so I am on the lookout that would benefit him or any other homeschooling families.

The first thing that caught my eye is the cover. It’s a reflective silver with an iguana on it, as it was crawling out. The cover reminds me of a vault.  Inside the pictures are bright, detailed and organized to keep the eye flowing and engaged.

The information and writing is easy to follow along with and to understand. It’s organized so that there aren’t paragraphs and paragraphs of information to absorb. it’s a couple of paragraphs (at the most) and then a couple of sentences to go along with pictures.

This is perfect for elementary age children for exposure and to begin the learning process, but I would also say that it would make a good reference material for middle school students, if they need a refresher or a place to start before going deeper.

But, for the preschoolers (my son’s current level), I would still use it and keep it on hand. While they may not be able to read, they are able to use the pictures to identify the various animals and plants with the detailed pictures. When my son saw this, he immediately flipped through it identifying the animals that he already knew and learning a few that he didn’t.

I am definitely very happy to have been given a copy of this for review, and I will be adding more from this publisher to our collection.

Here’s an inside look:

5 stars

What You Should Know: 

This is a great place to start when learning about nature, but should not be the only place you go to.

The information within is brief, more of an overview, but not all-encompassing.

I would recommend this for homeschooling families, but also to parents who have kids curious about nature,

My favorite part is the classification page.

Always Shine!


Feature Post: Darby Karchut is back!

You read that right! My friend,  and amazing author, Darby Karchut has returned a second time this month. In case you are just now joining us this month, Darby Karchut is the featured author on the blog. This week is another visit, and next week is something else. I am not sure what that will be so stay tuned.

This time Darby is here to tell us about the inspiration for her upcoming book, Del Toro Moon.

The Inspiration Behind Del Toro Moon

Darby Karchut

 It all began with a song:

“From whence came the cowboy, the history is plain,
He rode out of Europe on a frigate from Spain,
From Mexico southward, and northward he spread,
From the Gaucho and the Huaso, the Vaquero was bred,
Your everyday cowboy, and o’ what a sight,
More dashing and daring than a Medieval Knight.”

Lyrics by Jack Hannah
Taken from the selection:
From Whence Came the Cowboy
Great American Cowboy Music
Recorded by Sons of the San Joaquin


I first heard the song years ago (in the late 1990’s, if you can believe that) and couldn’t get it out of my head. The lyrics conjured up a mishmash of iconic images: cowboys, knights, horses, and a sailing ship bearing the Spanish flag. These mental pictures stuck with me for a long time—way before I ever thought about becoming a writer. Then, about three years ago, and with twelve books under my belt, I decided to saddle up and see where those images might lead.

To my surprise, the first character to appear was Santiago Del Toro, a Knight of the Coffer, who stepped off a Spanish frigate in the 1600s and waded ashore to what is now modern-day Mexico. He carried a mace, of all things. Before I could even figure out what he wanted or why he had journeyed in the New World, a talking Andalusian warhorse appeared at his side. As I recall, the stallion was arguing with Santiago about the best way to safeguard the chests filled with monsters they had brought over from Spain.

Monster hunters. Caballeros. Talking horses. The American Southwest. Old Spain and the New World. Okay, then.

Since I knew I wanted the story to take place in the modern-day Southwest region of the US, I planted the descendants of Santiago Del Toro on a ranch in southern Colorado near the New Mexico border. The story is told from the point of view of the family’s youngest member: Matt Del Toro. His family consists of his older brother Ben, and their father, the legendary monster hunter Javier Del Toro. Together with their Andalusian warhorses (the greathearted El Cid, the infamous Turk, and fiery Isabel) they guard the local folks from evil creatures lurking in the nearby canyons and foothills.

Del Toro Moon combined so many passions of mine: horses, cowboys, the American Southwest, the Hispanic culture (I’m a native of New Mexico), and father/son relationships. It was a whoop and a hoot to write.

Del Toro Moon temp cover

Del Toro Moon

Owl Hollow Press

Fall 2018

Middle grade fantasy

Jacket Copy

Bad enough Matt Del Toro is the greenest greenhorn in the family’s centuries-old business: riding down and destroying werewolf-like creatures, known as skinners. He must also learn how to match his father’s skills at monster hunting. Odds of doing that? Yeah, about a million to one. Because Matt’s father is the legendary Javier Del Toro—hunter, scholar, and a true caballero: a gentleman of the horse.

Now, with the skinners multiplying, both in numbers and ferocity, Matt is desperate to keep his father and hot-tempered older brother from killing each other, prevent his new friend, Perry—a horse-crazy girl who recently moved to their small town of Huerfano, Colorado—from discovering the true nature of his odder-than-oddball family, and save a group of paleontologists from getting skinner-ed.

Luckily, Matt has twelve hundred pounds of backup in his best friend—El Cid, an Andalusian war stallion with the ability of human speech, more fighting savvy than a medieval knight, and a heart as big and steadfast as the Rocky Mountains.

Serious horse power.

Those skinners don’t stand a chance.


About the Author

Darby Karchut is a multi-award winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter.  A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy at her writing desk. Her books include the best selling middle grade series: THE ADVENTURES OF FINN MacCULLEN. Best thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film. Her latest book, DEL TORO MOON, releases August 2018 from Owl Hollow Press. She is represented by Amanda Rutter at Red Sofa Literary. Visit the author at




Darby’s books:

Middle Grade:

The Adventures of Finn MacCullen series:

Book One:     Finn Finnegan (2014 IPPY award winner)

Book Two:    Gideon’s Spear

Book Three:  The Hound at the Gate

Book Four:   Finn’s Choice


Del Toro Moon (releases Fall 2018)

Young Adult

The Griffin series:

Book One:   Griffin Rising

Book Two:   Griffin’s Fire

Book Three: Griffin’s Storm

Inspirational Romance:

Stone’s Heart

Adult Urban Fantasy series (writing as Darby Kaye)

The Stag Lord

Unholy Blue

Non-fiction co-authored with Wes Karchut:

Money and Teens: Savvy Money Skills (2013 EIFLE for best book/personal finance for teens)

Essential Money Guidebook: Simple and Sustainable Personal Finance for Real People



Thanks again, Darby, for stopping by the blog this week. I am really looking forward to reading Del Toro Moon. And, I’m still waiting on another Griffin book, just sayin’.


Always Shine!


Review: Love Story By Karen Kingsbury

Love Story (The Baxter Family, #1)

Love Story by Karen Kingsbury 

The Baxter Family #1

June 6, 2017 – Howard Books

345 pages – Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Inspirational

Source: Publicist

Purpose: Review

I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Oh man, why did I wait so long to pick this up? I was contacted a long time ago about reviewing this title. And it being one of Kingsbury’s titles, I immediately said yes. I really love Kingsbury, and do plan on catching up with all of her backlist titles that I have yet to read. But, she is one of those authors that you forget how much you enjoy until you pick up her books. Or at least I do. When I do -finally- pick it up, I am never disappointed.  This goes back and tells the love story of John and  Elizabeth Baxter, the beginning of the Baxter family. So if you  have not read any of the other titles this is a good place to start, though there are references to previous events and characters from other stories, it is a story that can stand on its own.

There are three stories going on in this book. John is going down memory lane, for his grandson’s (Cole) heritage project, and reliving the heartwarming and aching story of is love story with his first wife, Elizabeth. Ashley is forced to confront her own past and rocky love history when her son, Cole, asks to know the story about his dad.  Cole knows that the man that has raised him all of these years is not his biological dad, and Ashley assumes Cole is asking for a story that she is not ready to tell.  Finally, Cody must admit that he has lost the one and only love of his life when he let Andi break off their second engagement and walk out of his life.

Each story requires each person to confront the mistakes that they made, relive the moments where love and God’s grace changed things for them. It is a sweet story, not just about the romance between couples. In each story, each memory that is shared, you can see how God is courting each person with all of their failings and flaws. It is beautiful as well as heartbreaking. The ebb and flow graceful dance between God and the people that He loves in classic Kingsbury style.


What You Should Know: 

-This is the first in a new trilogy set in the Baxter Family saga

-The Baxter Family saga consists of 20+ books broken up into multiple trilogies and quartets.

-I have not read any of the Baxter books, but I have read quite a few of Kingsbury’s other titles.

-This book is worth purchasing, unless you are the type that has to have a series in all of its entirety. In which case I recommend borrowing from the library first to see if its for you, since this is such a long running series.


4 Stars 

Always Shine!


My Addiction: Netgalley

(This will probably become a routine feature.)

You guys I have a problem, I like books. I like free books even more. So this year my main focus is to read my own books, both in the print and digital formats. To assist in this I have been added my digital titles to their respective shelves on Goodreads, as a way to have a visual representation. Upon doing this I have discovered that I have an obscene amount of digital books. So many that I am overwhelmed with deciding how to pick books to read This is what I decided (and we will see how it works.) I’m just going to start from the top of the list and read down. Now, I will pause on books that are like the third or fourth of the series to catch up, so in that case titles might be rearranged.  But, to help me track my progress and for some accountability, I am going to make TBRs. But these are not monthly, they will be ten books that I will read and review (if they are Netgalley titles) as quickly as I can. I will be deleting all titles off of my kindle except for the ten titles (unless I am catching up). I will do a separate post for my personal kindle library books later. But here is the first 10 of my Netgalley TBR:

Souldwood Series by Faith Hunter-  I have the first three books in this series, and they are all review books. I have already started the first one so that should make this first round a bit easier.

Blood of the Earth (Soulwood, #1) Curse on the Land (Soulwood, #2) Flame in the Dark (Soulwood, #3)

Things you should know about this series: It is set in the same world as the Jane Yellowrock novels. I have not read those novels. This series actually begins with an anthology of stories from that world, Blood in Her Veins: Nineteen Stories from the World of Jane Yellowrock that I have also not read. I will be going back to read Jane Yellowrock and will read the anthology in order of that series.

Bones Don't Lie (Morgan Dane #3)           Andrew Jackson: The Making of America          Boy Bites Bug          Nothing Happened


Smoke Eaters         Oath of Honor (Blue Justice #1)    Troubled Waters (Montana Rescue #4)

What you should know about these books: If you click on the pictures you can read the Goodreads summary. If you do that, you will see that three of these books are part of a series, one is the beginning and the other two are titles in the middle of series.  I will be focusing on the series that I don’t have to catch up on after I finish the three Soulwood novels (which I am enjoying so far).

*I should also note that books that I dnf, or find difficult to get through will not be given second chances in any way that matters. Meaning I will write a dnf review and move on to the next book.*

So am I alone in this Netgalley addiction? I am trying to work on it and not just have the record of most accumulated unread books, promise. Tell me about in the comments?

Have you read any of these titles (or authors)? Tell me about in the comments.

Want to Netgalley/TBR shame me? Well if I cared that much, it wouldn’t be this ridiculously out of control.


Look for my Personal Library TBR soon(ish)!


Always Shine!