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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The TBR Double Dog Dare

The TBR Double Dog Dare


Full rules can be found HERE.

James says that The TBR Double Dog Dare is not really a reading challenge but a dare.
All you have to do to win the TBR Double Dog Dare is to read only from your TBR pile between January 1 and April 1.
I think this may be the hardest for me to achieve if it wasn't for the "exceptions.". Fortunately the rules, or non-rules, are flexible and you can exempt review books, arcs and book club books. With those exceptions I certainly have enough books to meet this dare. I even realized I have many Audible titles on my TBR that I can read during this three months too. I do expect overlap with other TBR and Audio challenges. :-)

I have been mindful of reading for COYER (and TBR DOUBLE DARE) so that other than selecting two audible books per month from my automatic subscription I have purchased NO books since December. I have only added six NetGalley books and six review books since the beginning of January. So, except for free Kindle books I have done well reading from my own TBR piles!


    JANUARY
  1. Book Review: Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Mahaney Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, Janelle Bradshaw; Nonfiction, Motivational; my rating 4.5.
  2. Book Review: Only Enchanting, A Survivors' Club Novel by Mary Balogh; Historical Romance; my rating 4.75.
  3. Audible Book Review: 25 Perfect Days by Mark Tullius; Sci Fi, Dystopian; my rating 3.75. (This one might be better in text.)
  4. Audible Book Review: FREE: The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale) Written by Michael J. Sullivan; Fantasy;  my rating 4.5.
  5. Book Review and Giveaway: Amish White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter; Amish, Christian Fiction; my rating 3.75.
  6. Audio Book Review: The Eighth Day by Michael O'Neal; Thriller, Action Adventure, YA; my rating 4.0.
  7. Book Review: Exodus 2022 by Kenneth G. Bennett; Sci Fi Thriller;  my rating 4.25.
  8. AudioBook Review: Time and Again: Book 1 in the History Mystery Series by Deborah Heal; Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Time Travel; my rating 4.0.
  9. Book Review: 'Tis The Season: Under the Christmas Tree\Midnight Confessions\Backward Glance by Robyn Carr; Contemporary Romance, Small Town; my rating 4.5. 
  10. Book Review: Starship Blackbeard by Michael Wallace; Sci Fi, Action Adventure; my rating 4.75.
  11. Book Review: Just in Time for a Highlander (Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands) by Gwyn Cready; Time Travel, Highlander; my rating 4.0. 
  12. Book Review: The Founders' Plot by Frank Victoria; Political Thriller; my rating 4.25.
  13. Book Review: Hawk (The Quiet Professionals, Book 2) by Ronie Kendig; Military Romance, Christian; my rating 4.25.
  14. FEBRUARY
  15. Book Review: Enchanted by Alethea Kontis; Fantasy, Highlander; my rating 4.25.
  16. Book Review and Giveaway: Saving Hope: The Men of the Texas Rangers - Book 1 by Margaret Daley; Romantic Suspense; my rating 4.5. 
  17. Audio Book Review: Betrayal in Death: In Death, Book 12 by J. D. Robb Crime Thriller; my rating 4.75.
  18. Audio Book Review: Heart of Stone: Irish Angel Series by Jill Marie Landis; Historical Romance, Christian; my rating 4.0.
  19. Book Review: The Oath of Nimrod: Giants, MK-Ultra and the Smithsonian Coverup by David S. Brody; Mystery, Historical Theories; my rating 4.0.
  20. Book Review: Snow Angel Cove by RaeAnne Thayne; Contemporary Romance; my rating 4.5.
  21. Book Review: Homespun Bride by Jillian Hart; Historical Romance, Christian; my rating 4.5.
  22. Audible Book Review: Dead Reckoning: Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery #11 by Charlaine Harris; Fantasy, Paranormal; my rating 4.0.
  23. Audible Book Review: Review: The Beast Master by Andre Norton; Sci Fi, Fantasy; my rating 4.0.
  24. MARCH
  25. Audible Book Review: Finding Mr. Right by Emily Carmichael ; Fantasy, Paranormal; my rating 4.0.
  26. Audible Book Review: Legendarium by Kevin G. Summers, Michael Bunker; Fantasy, Humor; my rating 4.0.
  27. Book Review and Print Giveaway: Interlude in Death, In Death 12.5, by J.D. Robb; Futuristic Crime Mystery; my rating 4.5.
  28. Audio Book Review: Quitter by Jon Acuff; Nonfiction; my rating 4.0.

Completed: 26 books from my TBR shelf out of 39 titles read before April 1. 10 of these were NetGalley or audio review titles picked up in 2014 but that still left 16 TBR books in the first three months so I am pleased with that. It exceeded the 13 new titles (all reviews and none purchased). :-)

The Official 2015 TBR Pile Challenge

The Official 2015 TBR Pile Challenge
hosted by Roof Beam Reader


Check all rules at Roof Beam Reader.com

Goal: Specify and read 12 books that must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. (All published prior to 1/1/2014.)
The list must be finalized by 1/15/15. I think I am comfortable with the list below so I don't expect changes. My list shows the book, author and date added to my library.

1/10/15 I have updated my list to replace two print books with ebooks although I still hope to read the two print wins during the year. Also, I replaced one audio choice with an ebook. Chances are I'll get to the audios anyway. :-)   The alternates also changed to an older ebook and an older Audible title.
Four books are from authors I have read before (including one of the alternates); the other ten will be new to me.  All of the choices are books I have had since 2012 or earlier.
(The links go to my review of the book as I post them.)

1. Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Mahaney Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, Janelle Bradshaw September 4,2009
2. Homespun Bride Jillian Hart May 4,2009
3. Kiss of Midnight: A Midnight Breed Novel (The Midnight Breed.. Lara Adrian May 4,2009
4. Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson Audible Nov 2011
5. Awaken His Eyes: The Awakened Book One Jason Tesar May 2011
6. The New World (FREE short story) (Chaos Walking) Patrick Ness Nov 2010
7. On the Run (The Elijah Project) Bill Myers, James Riordan Nov 2010
8. The Lord Is My Shepherd: The Psalm 23 Mysteries #1 Debbie Viguie Oct 2010
Dead Reckoning Ronie Kendig Sept 2010
9. Sheltering Hearts (Virgin River) Robyn Carr Sept 2010
10. Fatal Judgment (Guardians of Justice Book #1): A Novel Irene Hannon April 2012
Spying in High Heels (High Heels Mysteries #1) Gemma Halliday Sept 2011

Alternates:
11. Frozen Past (A Jaxon Jennings' Detective Mystery Thriller Series, Book 1) Richard C Hale July 2012
12. Extremes: A Retrieval Artist Novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch Audible Oct 12

Plus for sure I will read Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Book 1) by Marissa Meyer - I wasn’t positive if I should count this book as it was on my Wish list since 2012 but not purchased until 2/2014. I'm such a fuddy-duddy stickler when it comes to rules that I decided not to include it in the “official” list but it is a definite read for me in early 2015.

Audio Book Review: Dreamer's Pool: Blackthorn & Grim, Book 1 Written by: Juliet Marillier

This dark faireytale, complete with tortured characters, tricky fae magic and mysteries, is probably my favorite read of 2014.
Dreamer's Pool: Blackthorn & Grim, Book 1
Written by: Juliet Marillier
Narrated by: Scott Aiello, Natalie Gold, Nick Sullivan
Length: 17 hrs and 44 mins
Series: Blackthorn & Grim, Book 1
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:11-04-14
Publisher: Audible Studios
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: 5.0 of 5.0


Publisher's Summary
Award-winning author Juliet Marillier "weaves magic, mythology, and folklore into every sentence on the page" (The Book Smugglers). Now she begins an all-new and enchanting series that will transport readers to a magical vision of ancient Ireland...
In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help. Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.
With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.
©2014 Juliet Marillier (P)2014 Audible Inc.


Review:
Blackthorn is a woman who suffered loss and was locked up and abused when she tried to speak out about murder and injustice. The reader meets Blackthorn and Grim in a cesspool of a dungeon. Blackthorn is hoping to finally get a chance to speak out to the counsel on her innocence and the abuse she has suffered. Instead she is mocked by the guards and told that she will not be alive in the morning. Before she can succumb to complete despair she is visited by a fae Mage. He offers her freedom with several conditions. She must go to the village of Dalriada to serve as a healer; she must help whoever asks for help; and she must remain for seven years, setting aside her plans for revenge. Although the terms are hard to accept she decides it is better to live for now.

Grim is a giant of a man who has watched Blackthorn constantly from the next cell. He has watched over and tried to encourage the “Lady” whenever he could. Grim helps Blackthorn to escape the dungeon when the opportunity unexpectedly arises. He also tries to help other prisoners before he follows Blackthorn. He has nowhere else to go but really he is determined to protect her and be near the hope and light he sees within her battered being. There are only glimpses of Grim’s past but it is clear that he too is an anguished soul.

Blackthorn and Grim set up in a cottage on the estate of Prince Oran. The Prince has finally agreed to marry after a letter courtship with his intended bride, Lady Flidais. Lady Flidais and her entourage suffer tragedy when Lady Flidais’ handmaiden is drowned near the edge of the village of Dalraida. Oran is excited to welcome Lady Flidais but he is surprised by her behaviors. At first her headaches and sudden estrangement from her beloved dog are explained as the result of fatigue and distress. However, as the days come closer to their hand-fasting, Oran fears that something serious has happened to the young woman and love he dreamed of through her letters. He seeks the help of Blackthorn in a last effort to resolve his confusions.

This book is filled with totally engaging characters and a gripping tale of tragedy, hardships, folklore and dark magic! The story is told in a versatile manner from the rotating first person views of the three primary characters, Blackthorn, Grim and Oran. There are wonderful historic descriptions of the settings - dungeon, fortress, village, gypsy camp - all blended nicely into the storyline. There is backstory woven in as well as mysteries to be solved with steady reasoning and bold courage. Although I guessed the details in both mysteries it was still a delight to watch the protagonists unravel the truth and deal with the wrongdoers.

This was a delightful surprise and a book I did not want to put down. This entanglement concludes satisfactorily but leaves open questions that make me eager for more episodes and adventures. I have not read Ms. Marillier before but I will definitely be seeking the next book in this series and other works too. I highly recommend this tale to readers who enjoy a thoroughly engaging fantasy.

Audio Notes: The three narrators, Scott Aiello, Natalie Gold and Nick Sullivan, did a great job in
sharing the depths of their characters. There were times I was annoyed by the characters’ emotional responses, or lack thereof, but I felt this was intentional and that the narration conveyed the nuances of each character. The audio enhanced my pleasure in an already absorbing story.


This was a really lucky pick for me to receive from Audible through Audiobook Jukebox.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Winners For December Giveaways!

Winners can be found listed on the Giveaway page and in the sidebar for a week or so after announced.
Some of these are tour wins so you will check the rafflecopter announcements on the giveaway posts.

***ALL WINNERS at MBS: Please fill in the Winner's Acceptance Form AND if you want you can email me at mesreads AT gmail.com 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! :-)]

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WINNERS!

Giveaway Ended December 27, 2014

Help Me Pick eBooks to Read - Comment Giveaway!
Two Winners: Becky chose Homespun Bride
and Lilly picked Kiss of Midnight (which was the most popular title with 4 votes) 
I plan to read these two titles in January and then we will pick for two more. :-)

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Giveaway Ended December 21, 2014

Tour GiveawaySeducing the Ruthless Rogue (The Rogue Agents Trilogy Book 2) by Tammy Jo Burns. Tour Giveaway; Check Giveaway for Winners.

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Giveaways Ended December 20, 2014

GiveawayJesus Daily: 365 Interactive Devotions by Aaron Tabor #JesusDailyBook. Tour Giveaway book + Tshirt, WINNER:  LINDA K

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Fun - #4EvrBookBoyfriend - and a Special Giveaway Pack From @ForeverRomance - #FaLaLaForever; Print Bundle! WINNER:  MELISSA B

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Giveaway Ended December 18, 2014

Tour GiveawaySugar's Twice as Sweet: Sugar, Georgia: Book 1 by Marina Adair. WINNERS: see Rafflecopter for eight winners.

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Giveaway Ended December 13, 2014

GiveawayHome for the Holidays by Rochelle Alers 
eBook:    WINNER: MARTHA L

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Giveaway Ended December 6, 2014

Book GiveawaySugar's Twice as Sweet: Sugar, Georgia: Book 1 by Marina Adair;
Autographed Book WINNER:  CASSIE P

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Giveaway Ended December 1, 2014

GiveawayThe Mystery of the Shemitah by Jonathan Cahn;
WINNER: BN100

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Hope Ramsay Blog Tour Giveaway
See Rafflecopter for Winners

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Thank you to all who entered these giveaways!

Book Review: The Advent Bride by Mary Connealy

This is a charming Christmas novella.
by Mary Connealy
  • File Size: 3389 KB
  • Print Length: 51 pages
  • Publisher: Shiloh Run Studios (October 6, 2014)
  • ASIN: B00NTI2YXG
Genre: Historical Romance
My rating: 4.5 of 5.0


New--The 12 Brides of Christmas! You're invited to a Christmas wedding...that is twelve of them!  Discover the joy of an old-fashioned Christmas romance with these twelve heart-warming stories. Brand-new stories from renowned inspirational fiction authors will take you into the heartland of historical America. Releasing each week starting October 6, you'll want to read all of them.

#1: The Advent Bride
Melanie Douglas is alone on the Nebraska plains, teaching school to get by. She finds a unique box with hidden drawers to use over the advent season to engage a young boy in his schooling. When Henry O’Keeffe sees a positive change in his son, he has to see for himself what this new teacher is doing.


Review:
Melanie is alone struggling to be a good teacher in a small community in 1875.  She gets a “bargain” of room rent with a bitter, but influential, woman in town who complains about the time she comes in and complains about every chore not being done properly. In addition her landlady continually threatens to get Melanie fired.

Melanie loves the children she teaches and does everything she can to help each one. Still, she is frustrated by seven year-old Simon who has lost his mother and constantly acts out in class. Melanie tries to speak to Simon’s father, Henry/Hank, but he insists that it is her job to find a way to control her students.

Melanie discovers an old box in her rented room and is able to engage the energetic boy in uncovering the puzzle and the prizes as an advent adventure. Even Hank is pulled into the after school activity, providing needed father and son time. Melanie and Hank develop a growing friendship which scares Hank. Then Melanie’s bitter landlady brings accusations that could be devastating.

Advent holds a special place in my heart so this title caught my eye. Melanie is a natural, lovely and patient young woman. I was rooting for her from the very start until the end of the story.  I loved the advent box element and made a note that I want the box and contents.  Ms. Connealy is able to share a gentle faith through her cute, sweet love stories. If you haven’t read any of her titles yet this would be a quick read to get a nice taste of her fine writing. This is a very quick and charming read.

I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday December 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.

I hope everyone had as nice a week as I did. This was a great reading week with time to listen while wrapping presents and doing chores. We had a good Christmas morning with the children then a quiet day that was lovely.

Reading was very engaging.  I finished four books and posted four reviews. I also posted my usual memes. 

I visited a good group of sites again early in the week. Though I had hoped to do more during the holiday that didn't happen.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
Finished Reading:
1. eBook/Kindle



A Christmas Hope (Of Love and War)
by Stacy Henrie
This was a warm story. The review is linked above.
Click on book title for full description.




2. eBook/Kindle


The Genome: A Novel
by Sergei Lukyanenko
This is very engaging - first as sci fi, then as mystery.
My review is linked above.
Click on book title for full description.




3. eBook/Kindle


The Advent Bride (The 12 Brides of Christmas)
by Mary Connealy
This is a charming read. I will post the review this week.
New--The 12 Brides of Christmas! You're invited to a Christmas wedding...that is twelve of them!  Discover the joy of an old-fashioned Christmas romance with these twelve heart-warming stories. Brand-new stories from renowned inspirational fiction authors will take you into the heartland of historical America. Releasing each week starting October 6, you'll want to read all of them.

#1: The Advent Bride
Melanie Douglas is alone on the Nebraska plains, teaching school to get by. She finds a unique box with hidden drawers to use over the advent season to engage a young boy in his schooling. When Henry O’Keeffe sees a positive change in his son, he has to see for himself what this new teacher is doing.



4. Audio/MP4


Dreamer's Pool: Blackthorn & Grim, Book 1
Written by: Juliet Marillier
Narrated by: Scott Aiello, Natalie Gold, Nick Sullivan
I found this really remarkable.
I received this title through Audiobook Jukebox.
I will post review this week.
Click on book title for full description.




Currently reading:
1. eBook/Kindle


A Most Inconvenient Marriage
(Ozark Mountain Romance Book #1)
by Regina Jennings
I am enjoying this fun historical romance which I received through NetGalley.
Book Description
Publication Date: November 25, 2014
Abigail Stuart Thought She was Jeremiah Calhoun's Widow.
But Jeremiah Calhoun Is Very Handsome, Very Alive, and Very Perplexed.
Most Inconvenient Indeed.
With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone--a practical solution for both of them.
After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain--until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?



2. Audible/MP4



25 Perfect Days
Written by: Mark Tullius
Narrated by: Dave Thompson
This world is a Dystopian nightmare.
I received this audio from Audiobook Jukebox.
Publisher's Summary
Will you follow The Way or be crushed by the Controllers?
A totalitarian state doesn't just happen overnight. It's a slow, dangerous slide. 25 Perfect Days chronicles the path into a hellish future of food shortages, contaminated water, sweeping incarceration, an ultra-radical religion, and the extreme measures taken to reduce the population. Through 25 interlinked stories, each written from a different character's point of view, 25 Perfect Days captures the sacrifice, courage, and love needed to survive and eventually overcome this dystopian nightmare.
©2013 Mark Tullius (P)2014 Mark Tullius



3. eBook/Kindle


Only Enchanting, A Survivors' Club Novel
by Mary Balogh
I am looking forward to reading this novel by one of my favorite authors.
Book Description
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
The Survivors' Club: Six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery at Penderris Hall in Cornwall. Now, in the fourth novel of the Survivors' Club series, Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, has left this refuge to find his own salvation—in the love of a most unsuspecting woman.…

Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancĂ©e’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back—and everyone is eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman.

Agnes Keeping has never been in love—and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.

When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she’s determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love.



4. eBook/Kindle


Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed
Carolyn Mahaney (Author), Nicole Mahaney Whitacre (Author), Kristin Chesemore (Author), Janelle Bradshaw
This is the book I chose for my First read in 2015.
It is from my 2009 TBR Kindle list and
I am reading it as part of the 2014-15 Winter COYER challenge.
Book Description
Publication Date: June 26, 2007
Overwhelmed. Miserable. Exhausted. These are often the words that women use to describe their high-demand lifestyles. How are women who are always on the go expected to cope with the demands of work, family, and ministry?
Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, and Janelle Bradshaw, recognize the needs of Christian women today. Shopping for Time offers the solution to women who truly desire to glorify God with every use of their time.
These authors offer five tips to help ladies do it all without becoming overwhelmed: rise early, sit down, sit longer (occasionally), choose friends wisely, and take fifteen minutes. By weaving biblical principles of God's Word into these keys, these authors give women practical advice on how to fulfill-and excel in-their daily responsibilities.



I am carrying forward three ebook review titles I need to read in January. that still have Sci Fi  and Christmas titles that will run into January at the rate I am reading. :-) 
I have two reviews to complete so I am still up to date.


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 one review titles and selected two titles at NetGalley.
I purchased three $.99 kindle titles this week. I might resolve to stop purchasing titles since I have so many already - but some are just so tempting. How does a book addict resist?
I added more free kindle titles to my library.

(Although I have gotten to a couple, I still have many author requests to consider and reply to.)

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
I received this book from the author with review request:

Starship Blackbeard 
by Michael Wallace
This is a military sci fi from an author whose work in other genres I have enjoyed.
I am looking forward to reading this in January.



I selected two titles from NetGalley because they are authors I like:

by RaeAnne Thayne
This one sounds like a Hallmark scenario. :-)



'Tis The Season: Under the Christmas Tree\Midnight Confessions\Backward Glance 
by Robyn Carr
I haven't read this author in years and this seasonal collection seemed like a good way to re-visit her work!






Won
None

Purchased

I purchased these three kindle titles for $.99 each:



Christmas in The Duke's Arms
Grace Burrowes, Carolyn Jewel, Miranda Neville, Shana Galen
Four Christmas novellas by authors I like.




Love Brings Us Home (Inspirational Romance Box Set): 
Seven Christian Romances Celebrating Faith and Family
Hallee Bridgeman, Valerie Comer, JoAnn Durgin, Kimberly Rae Jordan, Lynette Sowell, Staci Stallings, Debra Ullrick




After Armageddon
Brian L. Porter, Carole Gill
An anthology of tales by two good authors.


Free
Over the past week I downloaded** (**Note this means I have added them to my library to read "someday") 51 free Kindle titles again. Titles found linked through Bookbub, Bookfun, Ereader News Today, Free Par-tay, Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink or Kindle ebooks.

Sunday Words of Encouragement December 28, 2014

We had a short communion service today to prepare for 2015. Pastor asked us to remember, as we prepare for a new year, that God gives us strength for all our days. Deut 33:25. Pastor then described “Good Riddance Day” which he heard was being celebrated in New York. People are to write up a list of things they don't want to carry into 2015. Pastor asked us to write such things on prayer cards. The question being: What regrets, disappointments or bad habits do you want to put behind you, leaving them in 2014 and starting with a fresh slate? Also, he reminded us that, if we are like 80% of any crowd, we are among those who have someone to forgive. He encouraged us to do it now.

This is one of the songs from our Christmas Cantata.
I find it a nice song to finish this Christmas week of music sharing.
Bethlehem Calls
by NewSong
A Verse for Today:
Deuteronomy 33:25 NIV
25 The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze,
and your strength will equal your days.

God, I seek you guidance and continued blessing as we prepare for another new year. Help me especially to do your Will and to spread the word of Your good deeds and Your gospel of salvation and grace.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sharing Beyond Books #183 Comment Giveaway 12/27/2014

Hello again on Saturday night and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!

I hope everyone has had a really good week. I've had a lovely week even though I had to work most of Monday and Tuesday and the weather was wet, wet, wet. Wednesday I spent wrapping presents and Thursday we had a lovely, un-rushed Christmas brunch with our daughter, s-i-l and grandkids. Friday my DH actually took us shopping - a rare thing as he doesn't like the pre or post Christmas crowds. Today I did some cleaning in our RV as it looks like we will be trading it in soon. :-)

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.

I enjoyed seeing the books each of you are looking forward too. Some of them made me think of books I want to read too. One book was mentioned twice, Pirate's Alley by Suzanne Johnson, and JR Ward was mentioned twice.
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The Winner from SBB #182 comments is: #9 Di who can make a GC choice if international or book choice from the ARC/Review 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 #183 (One Question.)

Q1. Becky asks:  Of the past year, what is the greatest book you have read? 
A: I saved this question 'till the end so we could pick from all the books we have read through 2014. First - I interpret this question to refer to books read in 2014 not necessarily published in 2014. Second - "Greatest" could have different meanings. I read primarily for entertainment so I don't often read what some might call "great" literature. If I define "greatest" as most important, I would have to pick The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. However, for this question, I chose to define "greatest" as "favorite". My favorite for the year was a surprise to me and the book I just finished! The Dreamer's Pool Audiobook is excellent entertainment and hard to set aside! I will post the review this coming week. 

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 questions in December were shared by: Rubynreba, Nikki, Elizabeth and Becky. Random.org picked #4: Becky.

Your turn to share:

Q1. Becky asks: Of the past year, what is the greatest book you have read??

SBB Comment Winners can choose a selection from the Valentine and "Love" books or the June 2013 Newly Updated ARC/Review List. (My daughter pulled several of the Christmas titles to give with gift bags we made up for the nursing homes. I have to go back and update that list with what is left and a few new titles to add.)

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 January 3, 2015 at 5 PM  central.

Book Review: The Genome: A Novel by Sergei Lukyanenko

This is a very engaging read combining Sci Fi and Mystery genres.
The Genome: A Novel
by Sergei Lukyanenko
  • File Size: 719 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (December 2, 2014)
  • ASIN: B00NX8U3J4
Genre: Sci Fi, Mystery
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


Book Description
Publication Date: December 2, 2014
A science fiction thriller by the author of Night Watch, the hit novel that inspired two major motion pictures
Five months after the horrific accident that left him near death and worried that he’d never fly again, master-pilot Alex Romanov lands a new job: captaining the sleek passenger vessel Mirror. Alex is a spesh—a human who has been genetically modified to perform particular tasks. As a captain and pilot, Alex has a genetic imperative to care for passengers and crew—no matter what the cost.
His first mission aboard Mirror is to ferry two representatives of the alien race Zzygou on a tour of human worlds. His task will not be an easy one, for aboard the craft are several speshes who have reason to hate the Others. Dark pasts, deadly secrets, and a stolen gel-crystal worth more than Alex’s entire ship combine to challenge him at every turn. And as the tension escalates, it becomes apparent that greater forces are at work to bring the captain’s world crashing down.


Review:
Master-Pilot Alex finds himself recuperating on an industrial planet station. As a pilot-spesh it is in his nature to lead and help others which causes him to take a young teen girl under his wing. He can tell from her looks and behavior that Kim is about to go through the metamorphosis that will change her into whatever specialty was coded in her genes before birth. He cannot allow her to do this alone on the streets as he is concerned that she will die.

Alex is fortunate to land a great job that allows him to pick his own six member team: two pilots, a navigator, an engineer, a doctor and a fighter. He pulls together an interesting crew, including Kim as the fighter-spesh. Only one of the six is a natural human who was not designed and trained with a particular specialty. There is a little animosity and tension as the crew comes together. The tensions intensify when they learn the first mission is to transport three passengers, two Zzygous and their clone escort. These aliens are considered ‘Others’ and uneasy enemies to humans, including the doctor-spesh, Janet, who is trying hard to control her tendencies to hate and destroy that alien race. The navigator, the natural human in the crew, is vocal regarding his bigotry against clones.

No sooner does the flight begin when there is a near collision that appears to be an attempt to kill the ship, crew or the passengers. Alex manages to settle everyone and the trip proceeds comfortably until a savage murder occurs that could trigger intergalactic war. Alex, as Captain of the ship, feels responsible for everyone aboard. He pieces together the clues to find the murderer at the same time as a famous detective interviews each of the suspects.

I found the first half of the book to be an amazing sci fi world with unique characters. Kim has secrets that add to the engaging story. It is quickly clear that the practice of creating speshes has its benefits and difficulties. Mid-way the murder occurs and the story jumps into a takeoff of famous detectives. This provided entertaining humor intertwined with philosophical questions regarding the benefits and stability of chosen speshes versus freedom to choose one’s own destiny and freedom to experience all emotions.

The leap from sci fi to mystery was a bizarre twist. I was engrossed in the sci fi elements and felt jolted when the focus clearly shifted. However, I then enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes' methodology of disclosing details to uncover the murderer. The mystery was satisfactorily wrapped up but there were a few loose ends in the future of the characters. There is a free attitude towards sexual partners that I didn’t care for but it fits the character personalities.

This book kept me up late wanting to know where the story would go! It is well written and read very quickly for a longer book. I highly recommend this to sci fi lovers and to mystery lovers too.

I received this from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review.

Christmas Sharing Little Drummer Boy

As I was looking at Christmas videos I came upon this.
Isn't it wonderful?
Not only is it beautifully done but the song reminds us that we He is pleased when we bring 
the smallest, simplest gifts offered with a humble heart.
Little Drummer Boy 
by Pentatonix 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Book Review: A Christmas Hope (Of Love and War) by Stacy Henrie

This is a charming historical romance novella.
  • File Size: 331 KB
  • Print Length: 133 pages
  • Publisher: Forever Yours (December 2, 2014)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • ASIN: B00M7D0E2M
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0


Book Description
Publication Date: December 2, 2014
In this special holiday novella, Stacy Henrie returns to the World War I setting of her Of Love and War series for a heartwarming read that's perfect for the Christmas season.
TIS THE SEASON FOR SECOND CHANCES
Having experienced the heartache of unrequited love, Maria Schmitt desperately seeks a new life. Landing a position as a clerk in a Sioux City bank is just what she needs to get started on her journey toward healing. But a dashing stranger soon puts her job-and her heart-in jeopardy.
Saving lives was all Dale Emerson ever wanted to do . . . until a fateful day in France shattered his career as a surgeon. He lost everything that mattered, and the last thing he wants to do is resign himself to a life without medicine working at his uncle's bank. Then he meets Maria, a compassionate woman who can see past his scars to the man he once was-and the man he could be again. With Christmas right around the corner, these two wounded hearts may find that hope and a little holiday cheer are just the ticket to letting go of regrets-and embracing a future full of love and possibility.


Review:
Maria left home heartbroken over an unrequited love. She was looking for a new start and was fortunate to get a position as a bank clerk in Sioux City working under a kind manager. She has worked hard and earned the respect of the people and her work peers. She is intent on not giving her heart again until she is certain her feelings are returned.

Dale Emerson trained as a surgeon and went off to France to help at the war hospitals. He was glad to do his work helping others until bomb schrapnel took out one eye. He is frustrated when he returns home to Sioux City to take over the bank management from his sick Uncle. Dale doesn’t think he has much to offer now that he can no longer serve in the prestigious position of a surgeon.

These two meet at the bank with a misunderstanding to set things on a wrong foot. Slowly a friendship grows but both are tentative. Further misunderstandings and delay in speaking cause conflict that threatens their relationship. Can they reach beyond their past dissapointments, hurts and fears to find a new start together?

This is a sweet, warm story with two very likable and vulnerable characters. The relationship grows naturally, with misunderstandings, fits and starts. I enjoyed the WWI social and war history that the author portrays as the setting to the romance. I also liked the gentle reminders of faith and forgiving one's own mistakes.  This is a quick, easy read and I do recommend this author for lovely, clean, historical romance.

I received this from Forever through NetGalley for an honest review.

Christmas Sharing Day After Christmas

Day After Christmas
by Matthew West

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway December 26, 2014

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

We had a lovely Christmas Eve joining friends for church service and Christmas morning with our daughter, son-in-law and three grandkids. The rest of the day we relaxed and made calls to other family members. I hope everyone else has had a grand week.

Through the end of the year I will be continue to give at least 4 wins each Friday - whether auto or random.
(Another New List is up but now I need two pictures.)


[UPDATED NOTE - US entrants I prefer, please, that you pick a book as that is the first purpose of this giveaway - to find new homes for books. The GCs are for the international entrants because postage has jumped up.]

Thank you to all who entered the December 19 Pick. There were three 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.) There was one title blocked but it was won. 
bn100 gets To Catch a Flame
Rita gets Here on Earth
Carol NW gets The Jury tapes

CONGRATULATIONS
to Random.org picked Winners from December 19 Pick:
Janhvi gets a GC
Elizabeth T 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, sexy or sweet bookmarks. {The form is new because Google changed their forms and the old one wasn't letting me print out the responses.}

Here is a good idea for re-purposing books. :-)
Image found at Walking With Feathers.

New Book Group #54 December 26, 2014
(Picture to be posted soon)
PAIRS:
Lisa Gardner: Alone and Gone
Janet Evanovich: Eleven on Top and Twelve Sharp
Stuart Wood: L.A. Dead and Fresh Disasters
SINGLES:
Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card - Tape Cassettes
New Blood by Gail Dayton
Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings
To Collar a Killer by Lee Charles Kelley
Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty
‘Til There Was You by Elizabeth Ann Michaels
The Ladies’ Lunch by Patricia O’Brien
Wild Winds by Janelle Taylor
Shrink Rap by Robert B. Parker - Tape Cassettes
Rescue Me Anthology by Cherry Adair, Lora Leigh and Cindy Gerard


New Book Group #53 November 28, 2014
(Picture to be posted soon)
PAIRS - five sets!
Catherine Anderson: Seventh Heaven and Always in My Heart
Sandra Brown: A Whole New Light and Fanta C
Elizabeth Lowell: Autumn Lover (only Book 5) and Winter Fire (Only Book 6)
Joan Johnston: I Promise and Sisters Found
Katherine Stone: Rainbows and Pearl Moon
SINGLES:
Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
To Catch a Flame by Kimberly Cates
Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa Daily
Sleeping with Ward Cleaver by Jenny Gardiner
Never Say Never by Joan Hohl
Poe's Tales of Mystery and Terror (1967 Collection) by Edgar Allan Poe (Magnum Easy Eye Edition)


New Book Group #52 October 10, 2014
(Links to be added if and when time permits.)

PAIRS:
Richard Paul Evans, The Looking Glass and The Carousel
SINGLES
Duo Book: Yesterday's Memories by Tara Taylor Quinn and Amanda Stevens
Range of Motion by Elizabeth Berg
At The Stroke of Madness by Alex Kava
Undateable by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle
Behind a Mask by May Alcott
Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman

New Book Group #51 September 12, 2014
10/10 - I just realized I never posted the image for this group.

PAIRS:
Elysa Hendricks, Star Crash (personally autographed copy) and The Sword and the Pen
SINGLES:
Intrepid Encounter by Rebecca Ashley
The Reckoning by Jeanette Baker
Out of This Furnace: A Novel of Immigrant Labor in America by Thomas Bell Reprint Edition
Scandalous Virtue Mass by Brenda Hiatt 
A Stranger's Wife by Maggie Osborne

New Book Group #50! August 8, 2014

SINGLES:
Maybe This Time by Victoria Barrett
The Commander by Kate Bridges
The Cinderella Plan by Margaret Daley
The Mr. & Mrs. Happy Handbook by Steve Doocy
A Garden of Friends by Penny Pierce Rose

New Book Group #49 June 27, 2014

SINGLES:
Jezebel by Katherine Sutcliff
Down by the Water by Caroline Upcher
Miracle by Deborah Smith
The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin


New Book Group #48 May 30, 2014---(All gone)
SINGLES:
Dangerous by Debra Dier
First to Fight Anthology

New Book Group #47 April 25, 2014

SINGLES:
Once Upon a Honeymoon by Julie Kistler
The Hidden Truth of Cytech's Randall Forty by Vickie Kennedy

New Book Group #46 March 15, 2014
SINGLES:
Sweet Talking Man by Betina Krain
The Last Heiress by Bertrice Small (spine creases)

New Book Group #45 January 31, 2014---(All gone)

New Book Group #44 December 14, 2013---(All gone)

New Book Group #43 November 1, 2013 ---(All gone)

New Book Group #42 September 27, 2013 ---(All gone)

New Book Group #41 August 2, 2013

Singles:
Cattle Rancher, Secret Son by Margaret Way

New Book Group #40 June 28, 2013

Singles:
Breakfast in Bed by Sandra Brown - Audio Cassette Tapes (link is for mass media version)

New Book Group #39 May 31, 2013 - Plenty of "summer" titles!
Singles:
Shetland Summer by Janet Lynnford

New Book Group #38 April 20, 2013
Awaken the Senses by Nalini Singh

New Book Group #37 March 22, 2013
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.

New Book Group #36 February 15, 2013
The Trailsman: Texas Lead Slingers by Jon Sharpe

New Book Group #35 January 11, 2013 (All gone)
New Book Group #34 December 7, 2012--- (All gone)
New Book Group #33 October 27, 2012---(All gone)

New Book Group #32 October 5, 2012
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

New Book Group #31 August 31, 2012
An Honorable Man by Rosemary Rogers (spine creases)

New Book Group #30 July 27, 2012
The Willful Widow by Valerie King (spine wear)
Dancing on Snowflakes by Jane Bonander

New Book Group #29 June 29, 2012
Magic: The Gathering Distant Planes, An Anthology

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
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---(All gone)
May, 2011 New Group of Pick books Group #20---(All gone)
3/25/11 Group #19---(All gone)
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 on November 27, 2009 and in five years I have posted 42 groups of 16 (832) books to find new homes! (as of November 2014).

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 748+ 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 $7.00 and $6.00 $10.00 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
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

List #15---(All gone)
List #14---(All gone)
List #13 ---(All gone)
Group #12---(All gone)

Group #11
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---(All gone)
Pick #5---(All gone)
Pick #6---(All gone)

Pick #7
Prey by Michael Crichton - Audio Tape

Pick #8
The Jury by Steve Martini - Audio Tapes

Pick #9
On Treacherous Ground by Earl Murray

Pick #10---(All Gone)

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