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Christmas in July Giveaway Hop, July 22 to July 31, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Sky Zone: A Novel (The Crittendon Files) by Creston Mapes

This is an action packed thriller with a lead character whose faith is real and tested. 
Sky Zone: A Novel (The Crittendon Files)
by Creston Mapes
  • File Size: 3223 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2014)
Genre: Thriller, Christian Fiction
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: June 1, 2014
A rally for a controversial presidential candidate.
A terrorist threat.
A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions.

Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn't making matters any easier.
With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives--and the lives of thousands of innocent people.

This third book in The Crittendon Files reminds us of the power of family, friendships and faith--and why we are never in as much control as we think.

Jack Crittendon lost his job as a news reporter and is struggling.  Jack’s friend, Brian Shakespeare, an obsessive survivalist, helped Jack get a part time job as extra security at the local event Arena. Jack’s wife, Pamela, has had to go back to work full time even though she is eight months pregnant. Her mother, Margaret, a recent widow is living with them and beginning to show signs of memory loss and confusion.

Jack has interviewed for a news position that is scheduled to open up if Martin Sterling does well in early polls. Sterling is a presidential candidate who is running on a controversial platform to restrict activities of all Muslims as potential terrorists. Sterling is scheduled to appear at a rally at the Arena and a popular rock musician turned Christian evangelist, Everett Lester, is appearing too.

Homeland Security announces a terrorist threat to the rally function but Sterling refuses to cancel the event. The Arena managers are poorly prepared to deal with the threat and call in a small team of experts as well as local authority. Shakespeare is convinced they have already missed clues as first one Arena guard, then a second disappears. Although the experts waiver, Shakespeare is sure that the terrorists are already in the building hiding in the upper levels known as the Sky Zone. Shakespeare has a weapon stash in his car that he retrieves in order to help protect the Arena guards, Sterling and Lester.

They tried to keep the fans out of the Arena but a couple thousand got in when doors were accidentally open. Shakespeare helps some people escape but among those who get trapped inside with the terrorists are Pam and Margaret. Pam goes into early labor while the terrorists kidnap Sterling and Lester.

There is plenty of excitement in this thriller as well as close character involvement. I did guess some aspects of the terrorist attack but it was fun reading how the truth was revealed. I enjoyed how the author portrays Jack’s true-to-life struggles with his circumstances even as he tries to understand how God is allowing these difficult things to happen out of Jack's control. Jack and Pam must cope with the possibility of health problems with their baby. Jack faces true temptation when doing the “right thing” will likely result in him not getting the news job he wants so badly.

The writing is direct and after a bit of a slow start the story reads at a good pace. This is apparently a third book in a series but I was able to enjoy it as a stand alone. I recommend this to readers who enjoy a thriller that presents Godly faith in the life’s of the characters.

I received this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Priceless by Christina Dodd

One of my favorite, collectible authors delivers a 'priceless romance'.
by Christina Dodd

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006104153X
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • My Rating: 4.75 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: March 17, 2009
Headstrong and adventurous, Bronwyn Edana regularly stuns polite society with her reckless exploits. But there is one type of exploit the fiery beauty has never experienced. Still innocent when it comes to men and their roguish ways, she can barely believe the breathless desire she has begun to feel for Adam Keane, a distinguished nobleman and a man with more than his fair share of liaisons in his past . . .
Now branded by a haunting tragedy, Adam will not rest until he lures Bronwyn to his bed. When a shocking conspiracy threatens their lives, he'll bring her from the dangerous streets of London to the sweeping countryside—for he has seen enough of the world to know that a passion like theirs is priceless.

Bronwyn is one of the reknowned Edana sisters, but being short, full and blonde, she has always felt clumsy and drab next to her tall, sleek, black haired, stunning sisters. Bronwyn favors scholarly pursuits rather than the “social graces” of needlepoint, music and dance. Bronwyn’s charming, spendthrift father has arranged a marriage to exchange Bronwyn, as an 'Edana bride', for funds to refill his pockets.

Adam Keane is a handsome nobleman who is determined to restore his family reputation. Adam’s father was hanged as a counterfeiter leaving his mother struggling to stay out of the poor house. Adam has worked hard and made smart investments building his wealth. Now he believes a high born bride will help secure his re-entry into society.

Initially Adam is disappointed to meet his fiance who looks like a brown wren wrapped in over-sized clothes and an ugly wig. He is soon pleasantly surprised by her staunch spirit, the sparkle in her eyes and the curves he discovers under her ill-fitting clothes. He is even impressed by her intelligence although he sarcastically belittles that by a comment that Bronwyn overhears.

Bronwyn runs off to stay with a friend who maintains a scientific salon. Madame Rachelle helps Bronwyn uncover her own beauty and she becomes the mysterious, seductive ‘Cherie’. Another young lady is jealous and reveals Bronwyn’s true identity to an enemy who has reason to fear Bronwyn may know his secrets.

Adam has been asked to spy out a plot involving the South Seas Trading Company. He is distracted trying to find Bronwyn and when he locates her he is set to win her in his bed and in his life. Their relationship grows but there are difficulties. Bronwyn’s parents replaced Bronwyn’s more timid younger sister, Olivia, as the promised bride. Adam can’t cry off the wedding without ruining all of their reputations. Even worse, Adam’s reputation is already being muddied by an enemy who has framed Adam as a man passing forged stock certificates.

I loved Bronwyn’s strong, independent character and her transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan. I also liked Adam’s fierce integrity and the vulnerabilities he hides behind his brooding countenance. I found the plot wonderfully engaging with the romantic tension, the dangerous stock conspiracy and a strikingly ugly, bitter and vengeful villain. Several of the other characters add to the story too, including Bronwyn’s parents and Adam’s irrepressible mother, Mab.

The reading was smooth and fast paced. I was surprised by the range of ratings for the book at Amazon. It appears that readers either were captivated, like me, or found the book totally lacking. This is one of Dodd’s earlier works so the romance is sensual and not steamy which suits me fine. This reminded me why Christina Dodd is a favorite author of mine and why I collect her titles.
Early reactions to each other:
For the first time since she'd lived in his house, he smiled. He smiled at her. Her breath caught. She froze. The man she'd thought of as severe, austere, a maiden's vampire fantasy, transformed himself into a wicked highway-man, waiting to rob her of her good sense. Their eyes locked. Page 61.
Yet he'd never imagined a woman like Bronwyn. From the first moment they'd met, she'd upended his expectations. She'd broadsided him with surprises, and he feared he wasn't the ice man he had previously believed. His mother claimed he wasn't cold, that he wore a mask, and he'd denied it vigorously. Page 109.
I picked this title from one of my collections.
I can't bring myself to part with my 1992 print paperback so I am going to share an eBook copy.
Kindle, Nook or ebook versions available at Google (priced at or below $6.00)

(Don't forget to fill in the form for entry!
I have noticed a few commenters who forgot to enter through the Form.)
For 3 Extra Bonus entries comment on the review, OR
visit THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE and tell me something you like/learned there.

* This contest is open Worldwide for ebook.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) August 9, 2014.
WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED after August 9, 2014.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.

Monday, July 28, 2014

July Giveaway Winners: Heading Home, Judgment in Death Audio, Falling to Pieces and Sunshine Comment


Giveaway Ended July 22, 2014

Comment Giveaway - book choice or Sunshine by Janet Spaeth.
WINNER: MARY P - Word Choice "Winter"
I have about 25 Kindle titles with the word Winter (or author Winter) of which I have only read one.
I plan to read one within the next two weeks and then host another Giveaway. When I select the title to read, Mary will get to choose as her prize between an ebook of that book I select OR the print of Sunshine.


Giveaway Ended July 20, 2014

(Print) Giveaway: Falling to Pieces Shipshewana Amish Mystery Series #1 



Giveaway Ended July 12, 2014

Audio GiveawayJudgment in Death 



Print Giveaway Heading Home 


ALL WINNERS: Please fill in the Winner's Acceptance Form AND if you want you can email me at mesreads AT to confirm the win and I will arrange the mailing or notify the publishers.
[I ask that all winner's fill in the form as it helps me keep track of when I have completed the mail outs or notice to the publishers rather than tracking individual emails. But of course -- feel free to email me too! :-)]

BookBlast Giveaway: Son of War, Daughter of Chaos Giveaway $50.00 GC

Son of War, Daughter of Chaos

Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents instructed her from the time she was young to look for the signs: people with greater than normal strength, eyes that can glow green, and have the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents’ fears as quirks—things that get in the way of having a normal high school life.

When Aislynn’s mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can’t stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she’s been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, whether she’s prepared or not.

Janette RallisonAuthor Janette Rallison
Janette Rallison is old. Don’t ask how old, because it isn’t polite. Let’s just say she’s older than she’d like to be and leave it at that.

Janette lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” She did not do this on purpose. (The cats, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave. Not even the family’s fearless little Westie dog can drive them off.

Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let’s just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horse back riding and long talks with Orlando Bloom. (Well, I never said he answers back.)

book blast button

Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 8/17/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mailbox Monday July 28, 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 have no new review books but I downloaded the two free SYNC audios and purchased a few Kindle titles. I also downloaded many free kindle titles.
By the way - Here is a free Kindle title for a book I reviewed early this year:
The Wanderers, is available as an ebook for free for two days!  The offer only runs from July 27-28, so download a copy today--and tell a friend so they can get one too!
(I still have many author requests to consider and reply to.)

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles


I purchased Of Triton as the second in the series before I review the third book on audio.

Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy)
Anna Banks
Kindle Edition
Sold by: Macmillan

I purchased several Kindle titles at .99 cent. I know it doesn't make sense when I download so many free but every now and then these catch my attention. Since I don't eat lunch out I spend my lunch money on books. :-)

A Candle in the Window
Jillian Hart
Kindle Edition
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Once Upon A Time (The Fairies of Rush)
Maggie Shayne
Kindle Edition
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

The Holiday Brides Collection (Books 1 - 4)
(Holiday Brides Series Book 6)
Ginny Baird
Kindle Edition
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.


I got this week's duo from SYNC YA  where we go "Inside the Mind":

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Stark, skillfully woven, this fascinating novel explores the curious turnings of human character through the strange case of Dr. Jekyll, a kindly scientist who by night takes on his stunted, evil self, Mr. Hyde

by Patrick Link
In the wake of increasing concern over brain trauma in professional athletes, Patrick Link has crafted a story about a retired NFL linebacker who must deal with a family tragedy and his own suffering because of the violence of his chosen sport.

Plus I downloaded another 60 or so free Kindle titles. Titles found linked through Bookbub, Bookfun, Ereader News Today, Free Par-tay, Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink or Kindle ebooks.


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