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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Audio Book Review: The Red Shoelace Killer by Susan Sundwall

This is a fun cozy mystery but I was not impressed by the narration.
by Susan Sundwall
Narrated by: Lee Ann Howlett

Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:03-24-14
Publisher: Susan Sundwall
Genre: Cozy Mystery
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0

First in the Minnie Markwood Mysteries: Minnie Markwood can out-sleuth Miss Marple any day of the week - in her imagination. But when a real killer begins to target Minnie and her young sidekicks, reality trumps imagination big time. Who's buying up all the red shoelaces at the mall and stalking a cashier? Is it the killer who terrorized Minnie on the highway and kidnapped her coworker?  It soon becomes frighteningly clear that Minnie's onto something, and The Red Shoelace Killer's days are numbered.
©2012 Susan Sundwall (P)2014 Susan Sundwall

Minnie Markwood is a widow in her 50s. She works as a survey taker in Albany, New York. Minnie is a down to earth, sweet woman who ends up sleuthing with her co-worker Rashawna and Rashawna’s brand new boyfriend, Joel. Rashawna is a cute, exhuberant 21 year old who is a bit on the ‘ditzy’ side. Joel appears to be a shiftless, but very likable, young man with an affection for Rashawna and a protective streak that conflicts with his self-preservation instincts.

Joel begins to ‘confess’ to Minnie that he has knowledge of the unsolved Red Shoe Lace Killer case. After seeing some strange, staring men at the mall and finding a store that sells red shoe laces these three set off on a not-so-casual investigation of suspicious activity, including a visit to Joel’s “mean” boss-lady, Salina. Minnie is friends with the local police detective who gives her the okay to keep an eye on things but expects her to call for back up if anything truly suspicious or dangerous arises.

Little sightings and details build up to threats with shoe laces tied on Minnie’s car mirror and an attempted kidnapping. I did think that these details should have been turned over to the detective but, of course, that might ruin the story for these rather bumbling investigators.

The characters are fun and the mystery has a humorous absurdity to it. There is a bit of mundane description and action throughout but overall the reading is light, easy and appropriate to the genre. However, I think this is one story that might be better read than listened to on audio, as my audio notes below indicate. I would recommend this to those who like cozy mysteries.

Audio Notes: Sadly, I found the narration to be very monotone and dragging. Initially it might be thought that the plodding narration was suited to the older character Minnie, and it reminded me a little bit of Murder She Wrote. But the voice for Rashawna is a squeaky girl sound and I’m not sure there was much effort to change the tone for Joel. There was minimal excitement and expression shared. It was so distracting that it detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Listen to the sample to see if you could enjoy that reading for 8 hours. It might just be that I wanted a bit more up beat but I don’t think it is just me.

I received this audiobook from the author/publisher through Audiobook Jukebox.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mailbox Monday September 29, 2014

Welcome to Mailbox Monday.
Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.  This Meme started with Marcia at A Girl and Her Books (fka The Printed Page) and after a tour of hosts has returned to its permanent home at Mailbox Monday.
Thanks to the ladies sharing hosting duties: Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.
Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I received three review books and won a book perfect for October reading.
I purchased seven $.99 Kindle books.
I also downloaded many free kindle titles.

(I still have many author requests to consider and reply to. I just haven't found time to cull through these.)

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
I accepted two titles to review from authors I have previously read:

Ruptured: The Cantati Chronicles
by Maggie Mae Gallagher
This is a prequel novella to this series.

(A Short Story)
by Matthew Iden
A missing child heads this mystery.

I received this Political Suspense from New Shelves Distribution:

The Founders' Plot 
by Frank Victoria
Debut author Victoria’s topical thriller follows the political and personal reverberations of a tough and controversial immigration law in California.

I won this at Kathi Daley's facebook page where she has been
giving away ebooks and print books.
by Kathi Daley
This looks like a fun cozy mystery perfect for October reading!

I purchased seven $.99 books at Amazon Kindle - I guess I have low control of my impulse buying:

Gilbert Morris

Silent Waters
Jan Coffey, May McGoldrick

Lee Strauss, Elle Strauss

(Triple Treat Romances Book 2)
Donna Hatch, Marie Higgins, G.G. Vandagriff

Small Town Charm, Love & Mystery Boxed Set
Julie Anne Lindsey, Judy Alter, Magdalena Scott, Jan Scarbrough, Jennifer Anderson, Cheryl Norman, Bobbye Terry, Suzanne Lilly

Barbara Freethy, Carly Phillips, Christie Ridgway, Barbara Samuel, Roxanne St. Claire

5 Paranormal New Adult Novels
Kristie Cook, Lynn Rush, R.K. Ryals, Raine Thomas, Rachael Wade


I downloaded another 54 free Kindle titles. Titles found linked through Bookbub, Bookfun, Ereader News Today, Free Par-tay, Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink or Kindle ebooks.

It's Monday! What are You Reading? September 29, 2014

This meme starts at Book Journey!

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

This was another tiring week for me but I felt like I got some good work completed. This week I will be traveling to an industry conference so I will be pushing to clear my desk on Monday and Tuesday before traveling. 
My reading was okay, not great. Once again I just barely finished one ebook and one audio.  I also barely got two reviews posted along with the usual memes. :-)

I only got to visit a few blogs early in the week sad to say. I plan to start visiting tonight (Sunday) to get a start this week.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • Book Review: Shades of Moonlight by Karen L. McKee; Mystery, Paranormal Thriller, my rating 4.25.
Finished Reading:
1. Audible-Audio/MP3

The Red Shoelace Killer
by Susan Sundwall
Narrated by: Lee Ann Howlett
I have mixed feelings on this.
It's a cute cozy mystery but I found the audio underwhelming. Full review to post this week.
Click on book title for full description.

2. eBook/Kindle

Global Predator
by Jack Maclean
This is a thriller set in Pakistan with true-to-life danger, irony and luck.
Review to post this week. 
Click on book title for full description.

eTreasures Publishing:
Two print releases going through final adjustments before we link them up at the website.
Two more ebooks still out for galley proofs; to be released soon.

Currently reading:
1. eBook/Kindle

Mistletoe on Main Street
by Olivia Miles
I like the start of this - easy reading.
Received from Forever/Hachette through NetGalley
as part of Blitz to post on October 2, 2014.
Sleigh bells, snow, and second chances . . .
Click on book title for full description.

2. Print

Seattle Cinderella: (Romancing America)
by Gail Sattler
I haven't started this one yet but need to get to it for Ladies Book Club on October 4. I may pick it up on Kindle so I can let it read to me while I travel some this week.
Click on book title for full description.

3. Audio/MP3

Brave New World
Written by: Aldous Huxley
Narrated by: Michael York
I selected this for Banned Books Week.
I am looking forward to listening to this audio narrated by Michael York.
Publisher's Summary
When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.
On the 75th anniversary of its publication, this outstanding work of literature is more crucial and relevant today than ever before. Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.
©1932 Aldous Huxley; ©1998 BBC Audiobooks America; (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks America

4. Audible/MP3

Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3
Written by: Veronica Roth
Narrated by: Emma Galvin, Aaron Stanford
Although I want to listen to Brave New World, I think my daughter will want to listen to Allegiant on our drive to Tampa. That will be fine as I have not yet read book 3 in this trilogy.
Publisher's Summary
What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times best-selling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of listeners in Divergent and Insurgent.
©2013 Veronica Roth (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers

I am up-to-date my daily Bible reading.
I have disciplined myself each morning to read my Bible passage before I pick up print, Kindle or mp3. I am really enjoying the reading.

Line Edits:
We are still finalizing formatting for two educational, non-fiction ebook releases which we sent back for a bit more polishing. We are also working on releasing several novels in print -- also polishing.

I still have some books carried forward. I did read at least one of my own TBRs September so now I have to pick one for October. I am staying up to date on completing reviews the week after they have been read. 

October Scheduled -
10/2 - Forever’s HOLIDAY HEAT WEEK BLITZ - Giveaway:  prize pack of the four titles!
Mid Oct: Ruptured: The Cantati Chronicles by Maggie Mae Gallagher
     Pumpkins in Paradise (Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mysteries Book 1) by Kathi Daley
     The Kindness of Neighbors (A Short Story) by Matthew Iden

NetGalley - To be read in August thru September:
Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve, Illustrated by Sarah McIntyre
The Red Book of Primrose House by Marty Wingate  (for Nov)
Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles (reading now)
It Happened at Christmas by Debbie Mason (early Oct)
What a Lady Needs for Christmas (MacGregor Series) by Grace Burrowes (Oct)

The Founders' Plot by Frank Victoria 
From Story Bundle - I am enjoying the romance bundle and so glad I got these. There are Cyperpunk, Supernatural and Mystery Bundles available now - soooo tempting!
Huntress For Hire by Terry Spear
Peter's Christmas by M. L. Buchman
The Death of Davy Moss by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Still many more requests to consider and reply to.

AudioBook Jukebox
I'll be looking for new titles to request this week.

Post Hypnotic Press
I have several more audiobooks from this publisher that I will be reviewing.
According to Jennings ‘54

From TBR Collection - TBD
Won Book - TBD
Free Kindle/Nook or Smashwords - TBD for October

Sunday Words of Encouragement September 28, 2014

We watched the second half of the video by Pastor Perry on the Millennial Reign of Christ in Jerusalem in our Sunday School class. Pastor Perry seeks to encourage the viewer to look forward to living and serving during the reign of peace.

We had wonderful music worship again this morning. Pastor delivered his sermon which I will title: “His Way or Our Way?” He used the rather harsh story of Judges 19 and 20 where the Levite’s concubine was horribly abused in the town of Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. When the other tribes of Israel sought to punish the tribe of Benjamin they attacked first without seeking God’s permission, although they did seek some input as to which tribe should go first. After two devastating battles they finally approached God with the correct question: ‘do we go into battle again or cease?’ Only then did God reply “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.” Judges 20:28.

The point of the story and Pastor’s question: “Do we plunge forward with our own plans, seeking God to bless them?” Or, do we stop and ask God: “What is Your Will? How do You want me to proceed?” We need to be careful to seek God’s Way instead of trying to live “our way”.

My added concluding comments:
God’s way is so much purer and better for us.
Judges 19:1 starts: “In those days, when there was no king in Israel...”
The story is closed by Judges 21:25: "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
As commentator/Pastor Wayne D. Turner says: "When people do that which is right in their own eyes, it's not usually right in God's eyes."

This is a nice praise song to go with today's message.
Show Me Your Way, by Hillsong

Verses for Today:
Proverbs 21:2-3 NIV
2 A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.
3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Help me each morning Lord to seek Your Will for the day and not my own. I give thanks for Your grace and mercy that are new every morning.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sharing Beyond Books #170 Comment Giveaway September 27, 2014

Hello again on Saturday night and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!
I spent an hour or so this morning watching a re-enactment of the Civil War Battle of Marianna. It was interesting - the sights (uniforms, period dresses, weapons, smoke etc) and sounds (cannons, gun shot, fife and shots to "reload and fire") especially.  It didn't evoke feelings of fear or trauma - just sadness for me.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.
You know how they always show kids not eating their vegetables? That applied for many commenters as six of you didn't eat/like salad and/or veggies as a child but like them now. Another person didn't like salad dressing but has since found some they like. Two people had the opposite experience of now disliking foods they loved as a child. The other foods that commenters learned to like as adults included almonds, coconut, chili, vanilla custard, cheese and milk. One person couldn't think of a food taste that changed.

The Winner from SBB #169 comments is: #12 Jess1 who can make a GC choice if international or book choice from the ARC/Review titles, Christmas titles or Love titles - all linked near the end of the post.  Please let me know your choice by completing the (new) WINNER FORM.

WEEK #170 (Two Questions.)

Q1. This is a good question to ask, even at the end of Banned Book Week 2014. Mary asks: If a book is banned, for whatever reason, does it arouse your curiosity and make you consider reading it??
A: I suppose my answer is yes, I am curious why people would want to ban a book.  I may check out the blurb and the controversy but I would only read it if it was something of interest to me. 

Image found at AF AllianceFrancaise Blog.

Q2.  If you read a book for Banned Book Week or, like me, selected one that you plan to read, please share the title of the book. 
A:  I selected Brave New World on Audible, even though that is a re-read for me. I thought it would be fun to listen to that and then to listen to Farenheit 451 afterwards. :-) So they are both in my October line up.
Image found at

Thanks to those who are sending in Questions. DON'T BE SHY! Surely everyone has a Q or two you'd like to ask. Input suggestions in this Suggested Question Form. At the end of each month I draw from the suggestions I used during the month and that person will get a book choice or GC. I thank everyone for submitting questions. Thanks for sending in questions! We still have a supply of questions but from the same people so hopefully others will send more in -- even if they are duplicates I'll weed through or try to modify to use.
The contributors for September were: Alyn, Rubynreba, Jess1 and MaryP. The selected # is 2 so Rubynreba gets to select a book.

Your turn to share:

Q1. Mary asks: If a book is banned, for whatever reason, does it arouse your curiosity and make you consider reading it??

Q2.  If you read a book for Banned Book Week or, like me, selected one that you plan to read, please share the title of the book. 

SBB Comment Winners can choose a selection from the Valentine and "Love" books, the Christmas Giveaway Books (this is the new link), or the June 2013 Newly Updated ARC/Review List.

SBB Rules:
a) Must be a follower.
b) Share a comment on either of the two questions above.
Open internationally and an international winner may get a smaller book or a $5.00 GC if I decide the mailing is too much.

I will pick a Comment winner from all comments made through Saturday October 4, 2014 at 5 PM  central.


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