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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book #Review: The Wolf of Tebron by C. S. Lakin

This is  wonderful fairy-tale fantasy and allegory with redemption message.
The Wolf of Tebron
by C. S. Lakin


  • ISBN-13: 9780899578880
  • ISBN: 0899578888
  • Pub. Date: Aug 9, 2010
  • Publisher: AMG Publishers
  • Imprint: Living Ink Books
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0


Book Description
Publication Date: August 9, 2010 | Series: The Gates of Heaven Series (Book 1)

In classic fairy tale style, we embark on an enchanted journey with a young blacksmith—Joran—whose only desire is to live a peaceful, uncomplicated life in his forest village, a desire shattered by the sudden and bizarre disappearance of his wife, Charris. Later, Joran is plagued by nightmares of an unimaginable sea, where Charris remains trapped in a sand castle at the whim of the Moon. The goose woman insists he will find no rest from his nightmares until he solves the riddle of three keys. She tells him to travel the treacherous journey to the house of the Moon to find the answers he seeks.

Unable to ignore the urgings of his nightmares, Joran sets out north seeking the Moon. Leaving a town and family where he never felt truly at home, Joran’s journey becomes more than just a search for his wife. His path also leads inward, for he must face emotions that have tormented him his entire life—feelings of alienation and anger, of despair and hurt. Along the way he rescues a wolf—a huge, imposing creature that becomes a companion, and eventually a trusted friend.

Joran has the uncanny ability to speak with animals, and learns from the wolf, Ruyah, that he can manipulate his dreams to affect the real world. With Ruyah’s humor and guidance, Joran finds the courage and fortitude to press on, despite setbacks and disappointments. With the wolf by his side he endures the darkness at the end of the world and the ravings of the lunatic Moon, who sends him off—more confused than before—to the Palace of the Sun with a seemingly useless gift.

After trekking through a vast, unmerciful desert, Joran arrives at the Palace of the Sun, where he meets the Sun’s mother, Sola. She helps Joran understand part of his riddle and then sends him, with the gift of a sunstone, to the cave of the South Wind, whom, she says, will finally reveal the truth to him about his wife—if he dares hear it. He and Ruyah travel south through jungle, and finally arrive at the cave. There Joran is swept along a vision where he sees his past, and in horror, learns truths that send him into deep despair. The South Wind dismisses him with one last gift—but like the other two gifts, he has no idea what they are for or how they will help him rescue his wife. She tells him to find the sea of his dreams—far west, beyond his imagining.


Review:
The story starts with a Wizard battling evil to try to protect his wife and infant son. He loses his wife and  sends his son away with a huge bear to take him to a village to be safe.

The story then shifts and we meet Joran who is a young man training as a blacksmith in a small village on the edge of Tibron forest. He has always had an affinity for animals and is able to mind talk with them. He is content living a simple life with his beautiful young wife, Charris. One day he sees a woman kissing a neighbor farmer. She is wrapped in Charris’ shawl and Joran accuses her of infidelity. He sends her away without giving her a chance to speak. Nightmares plague Joran as he sees Charris trapped in a castle set on the edge of the sea. In the dreams Joran tries to save her but falls to the sand and wind hazards as the fortress collapses into the water.

When Joran learns that Charris never made it to her parent’s home he is filled with guilt and decides he must seek to save her.  As he travels through the woods he comes upon a wolf caught in a trap. Joran helps the wolf, Ruyah, who becomes his devoted, wise counselor on the journey.

Joran is sent to puzzle out a riddle as he must lose three keys before he can find and free Charris. He goes first to the Moon and receives a special gift. Then he travels to the Sun for the next clue and another gift. From there he is sent to the Wind and finally to the Sea. He faces danger but also he must cope with his own anger, fear and despair. He must be willing to learn the truth of secrets, learn to control his own actions and believe that forgiveness is possible.

I enjoyed the atmosphere of mystery and fairy-tale magic from beginning to end.   I was a bit frustrated as Joran’s despair seemed to go on and on. I wanted to push him along to learn the life issues he faced but I appreciated the positive messages conveyed in such a unique allegory of God’s sacrifice and love for mankind. There is wisdom shared and quotes from Emily Dickinson that I liked. The writing is smooth and made for easy, quick reading. I recommend this as an entertaining story with an uplifting message.


I liked the messages that “home” is a heart location:
He was finally beginning to see that home was a state of mind and not a location. Location 3025.
He had surely taken the long way ‘round to find his way home. Location 3573.
I received this from AMG Publishers for review through NetGalley.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mailbox Monday April 29, 2013

Welcome to Mailbox Monday.
For APRIL: the Mailbox Monday Tour host is Mari at MariReads!
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) but is now hosted at Mailbox Monday and through various blog hosts.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. 


I only picked up one title this past week.
How are your mailbox and TBR piles doing?

REVIEW
Just one review book received this week. 
BookBlast Tour Review for July
(From NetGalley)
by Patrick Carr 


Still Lots of requests I need to reply to soon.



Won

None this week.


Purchased

None this week.

Free

Limited time - I downloaded only a few free Kindle Titles linked through Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink and Kindle Review.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? April 29, 2013

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.

I had several mornings of driving last week so I got to listen to books again. I finished five books and am nearly done a sixth. I posted three reviews, one with Giveaway, and a Giveaway Hop.  I also posted the weekly Mailbox Monday meme, Friday Pick Giveaway, Saturday Snapshot, Sharing Beyond Books Comment Giveaway and Sunday Words.

I visited a handful of Monday posts early in the week and Saturday Snapshot posts at the end of the week.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • Book #Review and Giveaway: Rest in Peace by Frances Divine, Christian Cozy Mystery, Romantic Suspense; my rating 3.75. Ends May 3.
Finished Reading:
1. eBook/Print



The Wolf of Tebron 
by C. S. Lakin
Very entertaining.
I didn't get the review posted so it will go up this week.
Click on title for full Book Description



2. eBook/Kindle
 

Magnificent Devices, a steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices)
by Shelley Adina
I inadvertently read a book midseries but I will go back to the beginning - Loved it! I am holding the review 'till I finish Book 1.
Book Description
Publication Date: October 4, 2012
An air voyage to remember turns into a disaster no one may survive.
With her orphaned charges, Lady Claire Trevelyan joins the Earl of Dunsmuir’s family on an airship voyage to the Americas. If she can stay out of Lord James Selwyn’s way until her eighteenth birthday, she will be of age and cannot be forced into marriage. What she doesn’t know is that Lord James is in the Americas, too, with Andrew Malvern closing in on him—and the wonderful device he stole. But when a storm cripples the airship and air pirates swoop in like carrion birds, Claire and the children must live by their wits to make their way across a harsh landscape. Will Andrew ever see her again and right the wrong he believes he has done? Will Lord James succeed in his monumental thievery? And how exactly does Rosie the chicken evade the soup pot?
Tighten your goggles, pull on your gloves, and prepare yourself for stratagems and strangeness in the third book in the series, Magnificent Devices!



3.  ebook/Kindle
 

The New World (FREE short story)
by Patrick Ness
I picked this up from my TBR
as Just for Fun read this month.
It is a quick Sci Fi that introduces the series.
Mother, pilot, father, engineer, and 13 year old Viola, as navigator, environmentalist and survival assistant, are bringing in their scout space ship.  They are first to see and land on the planet that is to be the new home for their society, all whom have all been raised on ships. The parents are hopeful and try to encourage rebellious and resentful Viola.
The writing is easy reading with a plot that sets up the opportunity for adventure in the series which I am pulled into adding on my TBR lists.

Book Description
Publication Date: September 27, 2010
In this dramatic short story -- a prequel to the award-winning Chaos Walking Trilogy -- author Patrick Ness gives us the story of Viola's journey to the New World. Whether you're new to Chaos Walking or an established fan, this prequel serves as a fascinating introduction to the series that Publishers Weekly called "one of the most important works of young adult science fiction in recent years."



4.  eBook/Kindle


Ten Reasons to Stay
by Sabrina Jeffries
This is satisfying for a quick romance. 
I picked this up at NetGalley and will post a review this week.
Book Description
Publication Date: May 6, 2013
A delightful eNovella from New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries about a young woman who learns that you can’t learn about love from a textbook.
In “Ten Reasons to Stay,” previously published in the anthology The School for Heiresses, lessons go far beyond etiquette and needlepoint. Eliza Crenshawe’s lesson is to look before she leaps. But when she discovers that her new guardian plans to marry her off without so much as a Season, she forgets all that. She flees—on a horse she unwittingly steals (oops!)—from Colin Hunt, a newly minted earl who wants nothing more than for her to go home…or stay forever.



5. Audible
 

Frost Burned: Mercy Thompson Book 7
Author: Patricia Briggs
Another great Mercy Thompson Story
 - lots of action.
Read for my own pleasure and 
I'll post a review this week.
Publisher's Summary
Mercy Thompson returns in the seventh novel in the number-one New York Times best-selling series.
Mercy Thompson's life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman - the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack - has made her a stepmother to his daughter, Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy's life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more....
After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can't reach Adam - or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They've all been abducted.
Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam's disappearance may be related - and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.
©2013 Patricia Briggs (P)2013 Penguin Audiobooks


Line Edits/Releases:
Working on releases for May, eBook and Print.

Currently reading:

1. Print


Cowboy Take Me Away
by Jane Graves
This is a fun romance. I have a day to finish and then will post with ARC Giveaway.
Reviewing for Forever, Hachette.
Book Description
Release date: April 30, 2013 | Series: Rainbow Valley
Click on title for full Book Description



2. eBook/Kindle


Lady of Devices, a steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices)
by Shelley Adina
This week I will read the 1st book in the series since I read book three out of order. :-).
Book Description
Publication Date: May 29, 2011
Book One of the Magnificent Devices series, a novel of 54,000 words.

London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world.

At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices.

When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . .



3. Print


Jack Absolute
by C.C. Humphreys

I have just started this and like the writing.
My review, for Sourcebooks, is to post on May 3 as part of a tour.
Book Description
Release date: May 7, 2013
Introducing the unforgettable...Jack Absolute.
The year is 1777. As the war for American independence rages across the sea, London is swept off its feet by Jack Absolute, the dashing rogue in Richard Sheridan's comedy The Rivals. That is, until the real Jack Absolute, former captain of the 16th Light Dragoons, returns after years abroad to discover this slander of his reputation.

Before he can even protest, he is embroiled in a duel over an alluring actress of questionable repute, and his only escape is the one he most dreads: to be pressed again into the King's service—this time, as a spy for the British in the Revolutionary War.
From the streets of London to the bloody battlefields of Saratoga, from the forest fights to the Hudson to the seedy corners of wintry Philadelphia, Jack Absolute marks the exhilarating beginning of an epic historical series and a character you won't soon forget.
"The finest series of historical novels since Patrick O'Brian."—Good Book Guide UK
"An absolute delight! Swashbuckling adventure, eighteenth-century wit, hugely entertaining plots, and one of the most appealing military gentleman every to wear a sword."—Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander and the Lord John Grey series.
"If you like the American Revolution seen from a completely unexpected point of view, plus romance laced with violence and imminent death, this is your kind of book."—Thomas Fleming, author of Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge



4. Audible
 

Loyalty in Death: In Death, Book 9
UNABRIDGED
    By J. D. Robb
    Narrated By Susan Ericksen
        Series: In Death, Book 9
I am enjoying another Eve Dallas mystery.

Grabbed this from my Audible Library.

Publisher's Summary
Eve Dallas returns to face her most ingenious foe - a "secret admirer" who taunts her with letters...and kills without mercy.
An unknown bomber is stalking New York City. He is sending Eve Dallas taunting letters promising to wreak mass terror and destruction among the "corrupt masses". And when his cruel web of deceit and destruction threatens those she cares for most, Eve fights back. It's her city...it's her job...and it's hitting too close to home. Now, in a race against a ticking clock, Eve must make the pieces fit - before the city falls.
Crack another case with Eve Dallas.
©2007 J. D. Robb; (P)2007 Brilliance Audio


I continue to listen to The Listener's Bible NIV read by Max McLean. [Reading and listening on MP3.] I am studying with the Tyndall One Year Bible this year, hoping to read daily along with my DH.

Line Edits: Several more releases being prepared for the next few weeks. I am still doing more Smashword conversions in between print formatting.


I have completed fifteen books for April with probably two more to be finished by Wednesday. I have several reviews to post though. It was a good, comfortable month of reading. 

I have fewer books lined up for May, so I can pick some more that I want. Eight of these are print which means two print books a week that may be harder... I will probably get one or two of them on Kindle for quicker reading (listening).

May Scheduled:
May 3: Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys
Early May: Kindle Fire Giveaway

May 22:  Review + Giveaway: New Wings by Donna Stanley (Glass Road PR)
Other Giveaway Hop to be added

Sourcebooks: (Both release 5/7)
     Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster
     Undone (The Amoveo Legend) by Sara Humphrey

Hachette - Forever
     Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire (April 30)
(All 5/28)
     Haven Creek (A Cavanaugh Island Novel) by Rochelle Alers (May 28 $7.59)
     The Sweet Spot (Sweet on a Cowboy) by Laura Drake $5.69
     It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis $7.59

NetGalley
     Top Ten Reasons by Sabrina Jeffries (read, review to post)
     Secretly Smitten Anthology (Thomas Nelson; with print Giveaway)

Harlequin
     Better Than Chocolate (Life in Icicle Falls) by Sheila Roberts
 

Audios
     To be Selected
Author Titles
     TBD 

From TBR Collection - TBD
Won Book - Lady of Devices.

Free Kindle/Nook or Smashwords: TBD

Sunday Words of Encouragement April 28, 2013

Our guest evangelist shared a good message this morning.
He has been ministering in Viet Nam for conferences the past several years.  He shared that he was impressed that the people he preached to there are eager and thirsty. They come ready to hear the word and share from their own meager resources in giving tithes and offerings. They pray for their leaders that they will see the light thru them.  Brother B calls this attitude a “Caleb Spirit.”

[As usual I have added just a bit to the message for clarity and my interpretation.]
Caleb had a different spirit than the other spies who reported back from investigating the Promised Land. Numbers 14:6-9.  ‘He whole-heartedly followed God.’ Numbers 14:24. 

God had taken the Israelites out of bad place to bring them to a good place. (That is another example of redemption.) God has a plan for each of our life's. His plan doesn’t change except to adjust to roadblocks we might put in the way. (Jonah is an example)

Brother B shared three obstacles to wholly following God’s plan for your life.
Obstacle 1.   Self. We might allow the lies of the enemy to defeat us with reminders of wasted years and unworthiness. But God has said that He will restore the years and He has made us worthy through the sacrifice of His son.

Obstacle 2.  The Enemy. Satan will lie and tempt you. It may be just to distract you or keep you in a state of doing nothing. [“For evil to prosper all it needs is for good people to do nothing.” Attributed to Edmund Burke.]  The devil is always seeking those he can devour and he works continually to keep people from fulfilling God’s plans. The saying “The Devil made me do it” is a lie. The devil can't make you do anything if you have accepted the Power of Christ in your life. Colossians 2:15.

Obstacle 3. Redeemed people. Others around you (like the other 10 Israelite spies) will tell you it can’t be done. 

Don't let self, enemy or others steal your faith and trust. Do not allow doubts to control and discourage you from fulfilling the plan, and receiving the promises, of God.

I had a different song in mind at first but this one fits the message so well:
Standing on the Promises:

Verses for Today
Numbers 14:8-9 NIV
8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

I pray, Lord, that I will have a Caleb Spirit to do whatever you direct me to do.

Winners: Jake, Wedding in Springtime and Angel by Her Side

CONGRATULATIONS TO WINNERS!

Giveaway Ending April 19, 2013

ARC Copy: Jake (A Wyoming Sky Novel)
by R.C. Ryan

WINNER: Entry #1 Carol L!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Giveaways Ending April 26, 2013


WINNER: Comment #1 Bookishqueen!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


WINNER: Entry #28 Andrea!

Carol L, Bookishqueen, and Andrea please fill in the Winner's Acceptance Form or email me at mesreads AT gmail.com to confirm the win and I'll get the book mailed/ and or notify the Publisher for mailing.  Please reply within 72 hours!  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sharing Beyond Books #97 Comment Giveaway April 27, 2013

Hello; Welcome to SBB, Sharing Beyond Books.

Hi Friends. Happy Saturday night! Is Spring finally getting to most of you? Except for those on the other side who are starting to get Autumn.
I have had an oddly busy week. Family visited for nice, but tiring dinner tonight so we could have official BD cake for the 2 year old.
Thank you to all who shared last week.

We had a good response last week and 22 out of 33 people will, at least sometimes, look up events mentioned in books. Eleven do not look up events although several of you qualified that with expecting the author to sufficiently explain the event and LindaK acknowledged that she would look up unusual words. 

It sounds like many of us did learn some instrument as a child but we did not keep it up. The most played instrument is the piano with 11 people having had lessons at some point. The other instruments include guitar, flute, cello, synthesizer, flutophone, djembe (I had to look it up), clarinet, trumpet, french horn and school age recorder. And we actually have a classically trained pianist and singer in our midst - very impressive, Meghan! I almost forgot to mention that Lisa said what my DH always says - all they can play is the radio. :-)
~~~~
The Winner from SBB #96 comments is: #21 Meghan 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 WINNER FORM.

WEEK #97 Questions

Q1. Faith, Hope and Cherry Tea asks:  What is your favorite Genre? Who is your favorite author in the Genre and do you have a favorite book in the Genre??
A: This is very hard to answer as I enjoy reading a variety. I think my favorite genre has shifted over the past year or so. I used to always say that Historical Romance was my favorite but as they have gotten more sexually explicit I have enjoyed them a bit less than I used to.
I really enjoy action, fantasy and space adventure. Romance is good too if there is a strong story that is the focus over the sexual interaction.
I am unable to pick one author or one favorite book -- there are just too many and it changes as I read. :-)

Image found at Twisty Noodle.

Q2. My non-bookish Question this week: Is your inbox in or out of control??
A: I am afraid that my inbox is definitely out of control. I do have my work inbox down to under 100 -- with just a few there reminding me to handle something.  But my blog email is in the thousands and just keeps growing. Plus I am now getting about 10 anonymous comments a day - ugh.
I think I need to take a whole day to clear out emails!
Image found at Irenic Thoughts.

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 can always use fresh questions. I do have a group of questions from the same submitters so if you have a question don't be afraid to ask!
Those who contributed Qs in April were: Abby, Mary P, Miki andFHCT. The winner of a free book/GC for April is FHCT.

Your turn to share:

Q1.  Faith, Hope and Cherry Tea asks: What is your favorite Genre? Who is your favorite author in the Genre and do you have a favorite book in the Genre??

Q2. My non-bookish Question: Is your inbox in or out of control??

SBB Comment Winners can choose a selection from the new Valentine and "Love" books or the new Christmas Giveaway Books. Also I have added the Updated ARC/Review List now.

SBB Rules:
a) Must be a follower.
b) Share a comment on any (or all) of the two/three 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 by Friday, May 3, 2013 at 10 PM central.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Saturday Snapshot (April 27, 2013) Fuzzy Bird and Squirrel

I wish these pictures were better. I took them through our bedroom window to the birdfeeders which are about 15- 20 feet away. The screen and zoom make them really fuzzy. I was not able to spot the bird again with a clearer shot. 

I noticed the blue on this little bird at our new gazebo bird feeder.


Here I zoomed in to try to get a better shot but it is still quite fuzzy.


Below the bird feeders this little fellow was picking up dropped goodies until our dogs took chase.
Our Princess is able to see them when she stands on the chair by the window and she will take off racing.


The squirrel paused on the tree to scold the dogs.



To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

Audio Book #Review: Hunter by Robert Bidinotto

If you like thrillers don't miss this engaging and thought provoking story.
Hunter: A Thriller 
by Robert Bidinotto
Genre: Thriller
My Rating: 4.75 of 5.0
Highly Recommended


Publisher's Summary
A Wall Street Journal Top 10 national best seller
Number one Kindle best seller in "Mysteries & Thrillers"
Who is hunter?
Who is Prey?
Who will survive?

Award-winning true-crime author Robert Bidinotto makes his stunning fiction debut with a best-selling thriller that has earned more than 200 "5-star" rave reviews from readers.

Two people, passionately in love.
But each hides a deadly secret.
He is a crusading vigilante, on a violent quest for justice.
She is tracking this unknown assassin, sworn to stop him.
Neither realizes the truth about the other.
And neither knows that a terrifying predator is hunting them both....

From its first moments, Hunter takes you on a nonstop thrill ride: from the top floor of the CIA, to the marbled corridors of Capitol Hill...from the posh hotels of downtown Washington, to the city's mean, violent streets. It introduces a colorful new hero for our time - and a dazzling heroine every bit his equal.

A spy mystery...a crime thriller...a passionate romance: Hunter is a genre-bending novel unlike any you've read. Deviously plotted, filled with vivid characters, and propelled at a breakneck pace, it's a tale as memorable for its provocative ideas as for a rousing climax that has readers cheering.

If you enjoy the thrillers of Lee Child, Stephen Hunter, Brad Thor, and Vince Flynn, you'll love Hunter.

©2011 Robert Bidinotto (P)2012 Robert Bidinotto


Review:
Dylan Hunter is a complex, mysterious man. He is a hard hitting reporter who goes after injustice in his articles. He exposes criminals and the prosecutors, judges and psychiatrists who help them go free or get out of prison when they should have stayed behind bars.  He doesn’t let people close as he has a past and secrets to protect. Then he meets Annie Woods at a funeral. She has secrets too and trust issues resulting from her cheating ex-husband. Not to mention her wariness due to all the crime she sees in her work with the CIA.

Dylan convinces Annie to go out with him. He is open and warm and has a valid explanation why there is no record of him prior to two years back.  Their friendship quickly moves to a love affair and then develops more deeply. But neither one knows the past or truth about the other and Annie’s past is soon to collide with Dylan’s present in a way that is hazardous to all involved.

Annie introduces Dylan to a group of hurting crime survivors – people who have lost a loved one to brutal criminals.  Dylan writes about the horrible and tragic deaths and then the vicious perpetrators begin to show up dead with copies of his articles placed at each crime scene. There are no leads to the vigilante killer and, needless to say, the police aren’t too broken hearted about the deaths. A special task force is set up to investigate and Annie is connected to the task force due to a murder of a government traitor before he could be brought to justice.

This story kicks off with intrigue and it continues at a steady, high pace. I liked how Mr. Bidinotto presented the stake outs and the murders with methodical detail that built the tension for each scene.  The characters are well developed and it was hard not to like Dylan even though his actions are outside of the law. The ideological arguments are interesting: that misguided sympathy and well-minded idealists are enabling the criminals and making the judicial and penal system completely ineffective in fighting true criminals. This is really a great thriller that keeps your attention from beginning to end as you wait for the collision of secrets to hit Annie and Dylan.

Audio Notes:
I enjoyed the narration by Conor Hall.  He does a fairly good job with the different voices although the females were a bit rough. This didn't distract from the overall effect though. Mr. Hall does a good job of conveying the sense of tension and danger and carries the intensity throughout the reading.


I received this Audible download, for an honest review, from Robert Bidinotto through Audiobook Jukebox.

This is set in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland for my 2013 Where Are You Reading Challenge. This is also a New Author for me.

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway April 26, 2013

[** If you are new to Friday Pick Giveaway - Welcome!  Scroll down a bit (below book group #19) for instructions on how to enter.]

Happy Friday!! I hope every one is well this week. The week went really fast! I had court three mornings in three different counties so I had lots of car time for listening to books. 
A new group of books for giveaway was added last week but I still haven't had time to link them.

[***I'm sorry I have bad news for the international entrants -- I have to ask you to stick with GCs as the new postage rates have almost doubled. What might have been a $6.25 mail out is now close to $12.00.]

Thank you to all who entered the April 19 Pick. Two Automatic wins this week! (Automatic winners are those who requested the book four times and I did not note other people asking for that book during those weeks). FOUR titles were blocked. 
Congratulations:
Victoria gets Only My Dreams
Texas Book Lover gets Mallory's Oracle

CONGRATULATIONS
to Random.org picked Winners from April 19 Pick:
More GCs this week!
miki gets a GC
mariska gets a GC

All winners please fill in the Winner's Acceptance Form or email me to confirm your win, send your snail mail address information and let me know if you would like bookmarks - sensual or sexy and I have a new supply of sweet bookmarks.
This looks sort of like a puzzle of books.

New Book Group #38 April 20, 2013
Here is a group with many mysteries.  Links to be added as I get time.


Pairs:
Amanda Scott
      Abducted Heiress and Highland Bride
Sandra Brown
     Texas! Chase and Exclusive (spine wear) (not the covers as on the links)
A Murderous Yarn by Monica Ferris
Deadly Advise by Roberta Isleib
Dial Emmy for Murder by Eileen Davidson 
On Deadly Ground (Love Inspired Suspense) by Lauren Nichols
Happy Never After by Kathy Hogan Trocheck
Female Intellignece by Jane Heller
Improper English by Katie MacAllister
Sheer Dynamite by Jennifer Skully
Golden Chances by Rebbecca Hagen Lee
Caitlin's Guardian Angel by Marie Ferrarella
Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher
Awaken the Senses by Nalini Singh


New Book Group #37 March 22, 2013
As I am linking these titles it is clear to me why they were in my TBR boxes and it is really hard to let them go but I have soooo many. Better that they find good reader homes than sit on my shelves, or in a box, and collect dust. 
Pairs:
Carly Phillips
     The Heartbreaker and Simply Sinful
Singles:
Anthology: Something Borrowed, Something Blue - this book has spine creases and minor water damage...I thought I had read it and liked it but now I realize it was another anthology I read with Elaine Barbier.
Bride by Command by Linda Winstead Jones
To Tame a Rebel by Georgina Gentry
While Passion Sleeps by Shirlee Busbee
Lord Liar by Laurie Grant
Lady in Red by Karen Hawkins
The Admiral's Bride by Suzanne Brockmann
Marry Me, Maddie by Rita Herron
Lady Ice by Joan Hohl
Dark Roots & Cowboy Boots by LuAnn McLane
Only My Dreams by Anna Blundy



New Book Group #36 February 15, 2013
Pairs:
Tara Taylor Quinn
     Father: Unknown and McGillus v.Wright
Tom Clancy
     Power Play: Cold War (paperback) and Power Play: Ruthless.com (audio cassette tapes)
Singles:
Timeline by Michael Crichton
Bride of Shadow Canyon by Stacey Kayne
The Trailsman: Texas Lead Slingers by Jon Sharpe
Always a Lady by Sharon Sala
Her Wedding Wish by Jillian Hart


New Book Group #35 January 11, 2013
*asterisks indicate lighter, smaller books possibly suitable for international mailing 

Pairs
Mary Baxter
    His Touch and One Summer Evening
Singles-- I found a couple of boxes of romances (a lot of Harlequins) that I haven't gotten to read over the past 8 years so... I will send them off to others to read!
Never Say Never Again by Tori Carrington
*Merger of Fortunes by Peggy Moreland
*The Banker's Convenient Wife by Lynne Graham
* The Millionaire's Daughter by Sophie Weston


New Book Group #34 December 7, 2012--- (All gone)

New Book Group #33 October 27, 2012
*asterisks indicate lighter, smaller books possibly suitable for international mailing

SINGLES - CHRISTMAS TITLES (Better sizes for international) 
*Deck the Halls by Arlene James (slight spine creasing)
*A Holiday Prayer by Deb Kastner  (slight spine creasing)


New Book Group #32 October 5, 2012
- Oops upside down book! NOTE This book has dog bite damage; it is missing half back cover and the edges of pages in the back third of the book... it does not effect the text but I will understand if no one wants this one - A Courtesans Guide to Getting Your Man by Susan Donovan and Celeste Bradley
Please Remember This by Katleen Giles Seidel
The Boy's Tale (Sister Frevisse Medieval Mysteries) by Margaret Frazer


New Book Group #31 August 31, 2012
I pulled some more books from several of my boxes.

An Honorable Man by Rosemary Rogers (spine creases)


New Book Group #30 July 27, 2012
This time I pulled some books from one of my older boxes.
*asterisks indicate lighter, smaller books possibly suitable for international mailing


The Willful Widow by Valerie King (spine wear)
Wild Escapade by Lisa Bingham
Dancing on Snowflakes by Jane Bonander (postage too much - replaced with GC)

New Book Group #29 June 29, 2012
*asterisks indicate lighter, smaller books possibly suitable for international mailing

Magic: The Gathering Distant Planes, An Anthology
*One is the Lonliest Number - Tom Clancey's Net Force

New Book Group #28 May 18, 2012 (All gone)

New book Group #27 April 13, 2012 (All gone)

New book Group #26 March 2, 2012--- (All gone)

New Group #25 January 12, 2012---(All gone)

New Group #24 Pick Books November 25, 2011---(All gone)

New Group #23 Pick Books October 14, 2011
I tried to pick some books that would be good for October -
Halloween or dark minded.
Ghost Writer (Shivers #3) by M.D. Spenser


New Group #22 Pick Books September 2, 2011---(All gone)

New Group #21 of Pick Books July 29, 2011
Mallory's Oracle (Kathleen Mallory Novels) by Carol O'Connell

May, 2011 New Group of Pick books Group #20
Luciano's Luck by Jack Higgins - Audio Cassettes

3/25/11 I did get to set up a new group of books: Group #19
Primary Colors - audio tapes
*Note of Peril (black strip on cover)

2/19/11 Book Group #18- Pairs!---(All gone).

I have finally updated the intro and Entry paragraphs here:

If you saw the pictures posted of my bookshelves and boxes you know I do have lots of books! And that doesn't include the other eight or so boxes at my office!! And more books as I find deals too good to pass up! I am sharing my book bounty by these Friday Pick Giveaways.

I started Friday Pick in November 27, 2009 and in three years I have posted 33 groups of 16 (528) books to find new homes! (November 2012)

I periodically update the lists - deleting those won. You can still go to the Friday Pick list link to see older posts and the older lists book pictures if you want! I am happy to say that so far about 502 books have found new homes! YAY. I have to update my print out to check the exact number sent out - a few were never claimed.

Note rules here regarding international entries.
Because postage to overseas can be prohibitive I am willing to give a $5.00 book certificate to international winners - Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, ARe, TWRP, ClassAct Books, eTreasures, Desert Breeze, etc....you tell me where and I'll set it up. So for my overseas visitors your comment may indicate a smaller book and I'll check postage or note your choice of gift card.

I learned that The Book Depository does not ship to everywhere. The postage for some of the books to far away places runs between $5.00 and $6.00 and up. Since I would award $5.00 for The Book Depository to an international winner, as an alternative you may choose a smaller book and we will hope the postage will not exceed $6.00. If the postage is more, or if you want to pick a larger book and you are willing to pay any extra postage beyond the $6.00 I will work with you on that. This may not make a difference to many but if it helps one or two of you to give one of my books a home that will make me happy too. :o)

TO ENTER:
Leave a comment and tell me WHICH BOOK you would like to get from the Friday Pick lists.
CUT OFF TIME IS THURSDAY NIGHTS AT 10:00 PM CENTRAL so I do not have to stay up past midnight to do the winner post!
I will randomly pick two winners to announce Friday mornings with the next Pick post.
Automatic wins are those who requested the book four times and I did not note other people asking for that book during those weeks.
WINNERS PLEASE CHECK THE WIN POST ON FRIDAYS AND fill in the Winner's Acceptance Form or email me at mesreads@gmail.com. [I will confirm receipt of the addresses- well I realize I haven't always done this. But if you filled out the form and don't get the book within two weeks nudge me with an email please!] If I have the winners e-mail I will send a reminder in a week or so....

Thanks for helping these books find new homes!!

Repeating this helpful blog tip: You can right click on a link and you will be given the choice to open the link in a new window or tab so you do not navigate away from the screen you are on!! I use this all the time!

1/14/11 New List #17--- (All gone)

12/3/10 Book Set: #16
Sleight of Hand by Robin Hathaway
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown  (postage too much - replaced with GC)

List #15---(All gone)

List #14---(All gone)

Here is set #13 of Used books! ---(All gone)


Group #12---(All gone)

Group #11
Cat's Eyewitness by Rita Mae Brown
Alien Chronicles - The Crimson Claw by Deborah Chester


List #1
Circle of Stars by Anna Lee Waldo

Pick #2---(All gone)

Pick #3---(All gone)

Pick #4
Talking God by Tony Kellerman

Pick #5
See Jane Lead by Lois P. Frankel
Cold Hit by Linda Fairstein - Audio Tapes

Pick #6---(All gone)

Pick #7
Prey by Michael Crichton - Audio Tape
Princess Charming by Jane Heller (slightly creased)

Pick #8
(sc) = slightly creased on binding otherwise all in good shape
The Jury by Steve Martini - Audio Tapes
No Safe Place by Richard North Patterson - Audio Tapes

Pick #9
On Treacherous Ground by Earl Murray
Guardian by Dee Henderson - Audio Tapes
Time to Hunt by Stephen Hunter - Audio Tapes

Pick #10---(All Gone)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop April 24 - April 30

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop

Open April 24th through April 30

My Giveaway is for ANYONE who can get books from Amazon, Indie Presses, OR Book Depository. OR if Book Depository doesn't ship to you then I will do a PayPal or other gift card for that winner.  So hopefully this really does include EVERYONE.

There will be two winners total; winners will get book choice(s) with value up to $16.00 at The Book Depository, Amazon or Indie Press.

The book(s) can be any format: ebook, hardback, paperback or even audio for a total value of $16.00.

Rule #1 - You must be a follower of my blog in some form.
Rule #2 - ENTER USING THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM!
Giveaway closes 12:01 AM Eastern on May 1. Winners to be chosen through the Rafflecopter system.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share some Showers -- Hop along for more:

Book #Review and Giveaway: Rest in Peace by Frances Devine

This mystery could have been named Restless Peace.
by Frances Devine
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 256
  • Vendor: Barbour Publishing
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • ISBN: 1602603979
  • ISBN-13: 9781602603974
  • Availability: In Stock
  • Series: Hometown Mysteries
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Christian
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0


Product Description
In Cedar Chapel, Where Victoria Storm runs a senior boardinghouse, things are quiet. That is, until she enters the local pet store and finds Clyde Foster, the owner, dead, and his parrot, Watzit, frantically screeching. What clues will this bird reveal regarding a murder most foul? Unable to resist a mystery, Victoria, her fiance' Benjamin, and her senior cohorts begin their own investigation, landing them headfirst in a dangerous adventure. When their friend, Miss Aggie disappears, leaving a blood-stained trail, no one seems safe. Will Victoria live long enough to unravel the clues and tie the knot?


Review:
Victoria Storm runs a senior boardinghouse where she helps care for a group of characters who were her grandmother’s friends.  Victoria goes to the pet store and discovers the body of Clyde Foster. Victoria takes the squawking parrot, Watzit, home to Miss Aggie who is one of the few who people who can calm the bird. Although it appears that Clyde’s death is an accident, Victoria, Miss Aggie and their senior friends do a little investigation on their own and they begin to find clues.

No sooner does the local sheriff declare the death a murder than Miss Aggie packs up in a fluster and races away from the house. Victoria is concerned when Aggie doesn’t call in and doesn’t get to her proclaimed destination. So now the search is on for Aggie as well as the murderer.

Miss Aggie had already been kidnapped in a prior book and there is an outstanding mystery involving missing jewels at her family estate. Victoria jumps to conclusions about possible suspects and tries, unsuccessfully, not to be jealous of the deceased’s attractive granddaughter who is very “catty” and has her claws out for Victoria’s fianc√©, Ben. The antics of the seniors as they try to help in the investigation is endearing.

Unfortunately this story seemed contrived.  I got the impression that the author was trying to pull in the events from a prior book, fit them into a new, but continuing mystery and tie them up. Actually the author succeeded in doing that but instead of feeling like an easy flow to move the story forward there was a great deal of ‘fill in’ material. There was a lot of making coffee and tea, checking bedrooms, waxing floors and furniture.  Even the relationship between Victoria and Ben did not feel relaxed although that could have been due to her jealous nature popping up.

I did like the mystery surrounding Jack’s efforts to help protect and smuggle property out of Germany after World War II.  The Book club ladies and I agreed that we didn’t feel warmed up by the characters or message. Although there were some moral and faith lessons shared, the faith and commitment of the characters seemed shallow. And  we all wondered what happened to Watzit who disappeared from the story the same time Aggie went missing!  This was an easy read and perhaps would have had a better response if we had read the prior books.

This was a book picked up for our Ladies' Book Club.

ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY FOR PRINT COPY
USE ENTRY FORM HERE

1> US Winner - Two Books: (used) copy of Miss Aggie's Gone Missing and new print of Rest in Peace.
2> Two winners US or Canada get new print of Rest in Peace.

* This contest is open US and Canada Only.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on May 3, 2013.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries.
WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED on May 4, 2013.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.

Monday, April 22, 2013

TLC Tour Book #Review: The Forever Knight by John Marco

This is a different and entertaining story.
The Forever Knight
by John Marco
  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: DAW Hardcover; 1 edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756407516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756407513
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0


Book Description
Release date: April 2, 2013 | Series: Books of the Bronze Knight
Lukien is the Bronze Knight, beloved by his kingdom and renowned in battle throughout his world. After betraying his king and losing his beloved, he wishes only for death, but rather than die, Lukien is given a chance for redemption: to be the protector of the Inhumans—those fragile mortals who live deep in the desert, far from the prying eyes of their world. These remarkable individuals have been granted magical powers in exchange for the hardships and handicaps life has handed them. And Lukien, now immortal himself, must be their champion. But how can one man, even an immortal warrior, protect hundreds from a world of potential enemies?


Review:
Lukien is a nearly immortal knight who feels guilty for past betrayals and losses. He lives in a community of ‘Inhumans” where spirits help the disabled by providing gifts for the things they are missing, like sight or hearing. Lukien’s spirit, Malator, dwells in the Sword of Angels that Lukien carries and this spirit heals him from what would otherwise be deadly injuries.

Lukien is loved as the Bronze Knight and a protector, but he is bored with his purposeless life. His friend and leader decides to send him out as a knight errant to preform good deeds. Lukien has a young friend, a fourteen old girl, Cricket, who can not remember her past. Lukien agrees to  take her as his squire to the outland kingdom where they think she came from.

Malator tries to tell Lukien that it is too dangerous to take Cricket but Lukien is very stubborn and Cricket is very insistent. As they near the area they pass refugees fleeing the destruction of a terrible King, Diriel, who wants to become Emperor by using an army of dead, mummified soldiers.

Lukien’s fame precedes him and he is led to a neighboring country where he is asked to kill a horrible monster. Although he faces the monster he is unable to kill it. Meanwhile Diriel wants to control the monster and is threatening to march his armies to take over this community too.

Lukien drags Cricket into dangerous and awful situations. She is a brave, bright, fun companion but reckless too. Before the adventure is over Cricket wants to find her memories, Lukien wants to find his purpose and a desperate band of allies will make a last stand against the rotten legions of the madman king.

To be honest I was conflicted as I had a hard time really liking the characters. Lukien has special strengths but he  rushes into dangerous situations without thinking or planning. This behavior works with the possible motive that he wants to kill himself. I also couldn’t embrace Cricket who is self-centered which is not uncommon for a selfish, teenage girl.  Even Malator was not completely loveable as he conveys only partial information to Lukien and often speaks in riddles.

The writing is good and moves well although there were some phrases that did not seem to fit with the world/time period. For example, Cricket saying “let’s make some tracks” seemed out of place. I enjoyed the creative world of beings and the action of the tale. The last 80 pages the story became more focused and I was pleased that Lukien began to accept a purpose and used his head to strategize. Apparently this is a third or fourth book in a series and I wonder if reading the prior books builds a better rapport for the characters. All in all it is an entertaining read especially for those who love fantasy adventure.

I received this book for an honest review as part of TLC book tour;


About John Marco

John Marco is the author of seven previous books.  His debut fantasy series, Tyrants and Kings, earned him a Barnes and Noble Readers Choice Award and has since been translated into numerous languages around the world.  His first three novels of Lukien, The Eyes of God, The Devil’s Armor, and The Sword of Angels have received high praise. In addition to his work as a novelist, he is also a proud and avid nerd and blogs at his website, thehappynerd.com He lives on Long Island with his wife and young son.

John’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 2nd: The Arched Doorway
Wednesday, April 3rd: Bibliophilia, Please!
Thursday, April 4th: A Daily Dose of R&R
Tuesday, April 9th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, April 10th: Poisoned Rationality
Thursday, April 11th: A Daily Dose of R&R
Monday, April 15th: What She Read … - joint review
Tuesday, April 16th: Books Without Any Pictures
Wednesday, April 17th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Thursday, April 18th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, April 22nd: Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, April 23rd: The Written World
Wednesday, April 24th: Just a World Away
Thursday, April 25th: Beauty in the Ruins
Monday, April 29th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, April 30th: Curling Up by the Fire
Wednesday, May 1st: Dreaming About Other Worlds
Monday, May 6th: Geek Banter
Wednesday, May 8th: In Bed with Books

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