Contact email: mesreads AT gmail.com
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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sharing Beyond Books #188 Comment Giveaway January 31, 2015

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

This has been another busy week for me at work with staff out. Fortunately, it hasn't been stressful, just sort of tiring. I got some good reading in that made it nice. I hope everyone else had a good week personally and reading!

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.

There were similar responses and some unique replies too for what makes us try a new author. Those mentioned in order of most to least were: a) the blurb or summary, b) reviews on blogs, Goodreads and Amazon, recommendations and word of mouth, c) enticing cover, and d) genre. Also mentioned by individuals were: price, author interviews, accessibility (library), won in giveaway, no errors on packaging/blurb, recognition of author through social media, excerpts and teasers.
~~~~

The Winner from SBB #187 comments is: #3 Miss Meagan Marie 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. I'm hoping to update the book choices this week. Please let me know your choice by completing the (new) WINNER FORM.

WEEK #188 (One Question.)

Q1. My question this week:  Do you belong to Yahoo Groups? How often do you visit??
A: I do belong to many Yahoo Groups, all book or author groups, which I signed up for about six years ago and visited much more often before I began blogging. (I was even a moderator of a couple back then.) Now I only visit a handful rarely, not even once a month. I get the digests but usually delete them without looking at them. Time is just too limited.
 Image found at PartyPlan Divas.

Thanks to those who are sending in Questions. DON'T BE SHY! Surely everyone has a Q or two you'd like to ask. Input suggestions in this Suggested Question Form. At the end of each month I draw from the suggestions I used during the month and that person will get a book choice or GC. I thank everyone for submitting questions. Thanks for sending in questions! We still have a supply of questions but from the same people so hopefully others will send more in -- even if they are duplicates I'll weed through or try to modify to use.
The contributors for four weeks of January were: Alyn, nrlymrtl, miki and MaryP. Random pick was #4 so MaryP gets a GC. 

Your turn to share:

Q1. My question: Do you belong to Yahoo Groups? How often do you visit??

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 February 7, 2015 at 5 PM  central.

Book Review: The Founders' Plot by Frank Victoria

I loved the constitutional and immigration issue discussions in this book.
The Founders' Plot
by Frank Victoria
File Size: 406 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Frank M. Victoria; Limited edition (June 1, 2012)
  • ASIN: B0088DBQ8Q
  • Genre: Political Thriller
  • My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0


Book Description
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
When California Governor Michael J. DiGrasso pushes through a tough immigration law, the Supreme Court declares it unconstitutional, but the decorated Vietnam veteran refuses to accept the ruling. This ignites a clash between federal, state, and judicial power that threatens to jar the country’s political and justice systems. And it leaves the governor’s long-time friend, President of the United States, Martin W. Ballard, with the decision of whether to federalize the California National Guard to enforce the Court’s order.Tension increases when Elizabeth Stern, a savvy member of the opposition party tries to ram through a new immigration law that will pass judicial review. An expert in back room legislative machinations, she’ll go to any length to force the governor to obey the Court decision, and her devious maneuvers throw DiGrasso’s personal and professional life into turmoil.One sub-plot involves DiGrasso’s close personal friend, Congressman Manuel Mendoza, who is indicted for taking bribes. Another concerns two Mexican families in the country illegally and the tragedies that befall them because of the new immigration law.The unfolding of these interwoven events creates a tense, fast-paced thriller that parallels the current tumult over illegal immigration and the on-going debate on Constitutional interpretation that will leave readers craving for the eventual outcome.


Review:
Michael (Mike) J. DiGrasso was elected as Governor of California on a platform promoting a tough immigration law. He gets a strong law passed by a favorable legislature but then has to struggle to enforce it especially as sanctuary city mayors resent the law. A bigger issue arises when the law is challenged and the appeal process results in the US Supreme Court declaring the law unconstitutional. Mike has determined that the Supreme Court has overstepped its function and he refuses to abide by their ruling.

A particularly determined Senate Minority leader is intent on bringing down the Governor by any means possible. First they will try to race through a more lenient immigration bill that will not be overturned. Second they will seek impeachment. All of this stress creates tension between Mike and his wife, including the fact that the opposition is willing to stoop to blackmail with a past indiscretion.

Meanwhile Carlos and his friend, Julio, are concerned about Carlos and his family being deported to Mexico. They have managed to make good money including owning the apartment building where they live. Carlos has also earned significant funds by participating in an illegal activity. Although Carlos wants to stop this activity, his superiors are not going to take that nicely.

I loved the first half of this book that expounds on the history of the American founders, the separation of government powers, constitutional issues, government finagling and, most importantly, examples of the Supreme Court improperly stepping into the legislative realm through court orders. The description of difficulties for government dealing with illegal immigrants and for the problems the people face personally were also very interesting. I liked the secret plot that supports the title.

The second half of the book lost some momentum as it turned into more personal drama. The story followed personal issues of Mike, especially after he was the victim of an assassin attempt. The author also followed family and work problems faced by Carlos and his friends. The author did wrap up details at the end even though it felt a bit forced and incomplete.

The writing had a good flow with better pacing in the first half and drama in the second. There was good individual character development with some normal and unusual quirks. The final result was engaging although I would have liked it better if it had stayed more with the political and social issues instead of diverging into the drama issues. I recommend this to any reader who enjoys constitutional issues and stories involving political and personal effects of immigration issues.

I received this from New Shelves Distribution for an honest review.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway January 30, 2015

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

Yikes - It's Friday Again! It's been another busy week - court hearings and closings. I hope everyone is looking forward to the LOVEly month of February!
(I didn't get to pull new books this week but I plan to do it Saturday. Books are pulled but we are still behind in mailing as I am still down one staff person and my right hand lady (my daughter) has to be out tomorrow for an abscess.) 

[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 January 23 Pick. There were 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.) There were two titles blocked.
Rita  gets 'Til There Was You
Brooke gets the Elysa Hendricks Pair

CONGRATULATIONS
to Random.org picked Winners from January 23 Pick:
Betty gets The Ladies Lunch
YunA 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.}
Pretty New books announced with Pretty stained glass!
Image found at Pinterest from freshlymintedlibrarian.wordpress.com

New Book Group #54 December 26, 2014

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

PAIRS - five sets!
Catherine Anderson: Seventh Heaven and Always in My Heart
SINGLES:
Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
Sleeping with Ward Cleaver by Jenny Gardiner



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
At The Stroke of Madness by Alex Kava
Undateable by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle


New Book Group #51 September 12, 2014

PAIRS:
Elysa Hendricks, Star Crash (personally autographed copy) and The Sword and the Pen
SINGLES:
Intrepid Encounter by Rebecca Ashley
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
The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin

New Book Group #48 May 30, 2014---(All gone)

New Book Group #47 April 25, 2014
SINGLES:
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

New Book Group #41-45 ---(All gone)

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 #33-35 --- (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 #24-28 ---(All gone)

New Group #23 Pick Books October 14, 2011
Ghost Writer (Shivers #3) by M.D. Spenser

New Group #18-22 ---(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 758+ 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 #12-15---(All gone)

Group #11
Alien Chronicles - The Crimson Claw by Deborah Chester

List #1
Circle of Stars by Anna Lee Waldo

Pick #2-6(All gone)

Pick #7
Prey by Michael Crichton - Audio Tape

Pick #8---(All gone)

Pick #9
On Treacherous Ground by Earl Murray

Pick #10---(All Gone)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Review: Just in Time for a Highlander (Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands) by Gwyn Cready

I found this story fun, active and entertaining.
Just in Time for a Highlander (Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands)
by Gwyn Cready
  • File Size: 1119 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (February 3, 2015)
  • ASIN: B00NH1UK40
Genre: Time Travel, Highlander
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0


Book Description
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
From RITA winner Gwyn Cready comes a Scottish borderlands time travel romance perfect for fans of Outlander

For Duncan MacHarg, things just got real...
Battle reenactor and financier Duncan MacHarg thinks he has it made-until he lands in the middle of a real Clan Kerr battle and comes face to face with their beautiful, spirited leader. Out of time and out of place, Duncan must use every skill he can muster to earn his position among the clansmen and in the heart of the devastatingly intriguing woman to whom he must pledge his oath.

Abby needs a hero and she needs him now
When Abigail Ailich Kerr sees a handsome, mysterious stranger materialize in the midst of her clan's skirmish with the English, she's stunned to discover he's the strong arm she's been praying for. Instead of a tested fighter, the fierce young chieftess has been given a man with no measurable battle skills and a damnably distracting smile. And the only way to get rid of him is to turn him into a Scots warrior herself-one demanding and intimate lesson at a time.


Review:
Duncan is a handsome, modern day financier, He is accustomed to being successful in the boardroom and the bedroom. As he is participating in a SScottishbattle reenactment he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a real-life battle between Scottish Highlanders and the British. Duncan is trying to help a young boy under attack when he is hit by an arrow shot by a fierce young woman who is apparently the Scottish leader.

Abigail Kerr has her hands full as a reluctantly accepted chieftess of her clan. She has reached a rocky peace with the British and wants to get a loan to build a canal on the clan property, even while they struggle to pay the annual taxes. The favored solution is for her to marry her childhood friend, cousin and leader of a neighbor clan, Rosston Kerr. He is more than ready to bring his wealth and rule the clan as only a true Scotsman can. Abby is convinced that she doesn’t need to marry but she does need a strong arm to stand by her side as she leads. She is shocked to discover a strange foreigner who barely knows how to fight is to be that strong arm.

In only a matter of days (or was it more like hours) Abigail is kissing Duncan and tempting him. He’s not one to resist long and soon they are entangled in intimacies as well as the other material problems. He is convinced he can help her but he has a lot to learn of the times and ways. Undine, Abby’s potion brewing friend, is the one responsible for the magic that brought Duncan back in time. She explains that he must fulfill his purpose before he can return to his own time. He doesn’t have a choice even if he wanted to stay and even if the fulfillment of his mission results in Abby marrying his rival, Rosston.

I can appreciate the difficulties Abby faced as a female in a time when women were possessions, not leaders. She has to walk a fine line between independence and duty to her clan. I liked Duncan’s willingness to be what Abby needed and, even more, his willingness to accept her strengths. They both had flaws that contributed to conflicts. There was a goodly amount of sensual tension and involvement in a very short time.

I especially enjoyed the bit of mystery that simmered behind the clan difficulties. I also liked the interesting modern references and double entendres that were humorously blended with the past circumstances. I wanted to learn the solution to Serafina’s problem but that was a thread that was left loose for another story apparently. I definitely liked the time travel element which gave more interest beyond the highlander romance. All in all I found the story fun, active and entertaining.

I received this through Sourcebooks at NetGalley for an honest review.
I am counting it towards my NetGalley Challenge, TBR Double Dare, Winter COYER, and Alphabet Soup.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Review: Starship Blackbeard by Michael Wallace

This was so much fun - fast paced and engaging!
Starship Blackbeard
by Michael Wallace

  • File Size: 373 KB
  • Print Length: 171 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Balsalom Publishing (December 22, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00PYOF1V0
Genre: Sci Fi Action Adventure
My Rating: 4.75 of 5.0


Publication Date: December 22, 2014
In the aftermath of an interstellar war with an alien race, Captain James Drake is unjustly court martialed and sentenced to hard labor. Now Drake is on the run from Lord Admiral Malthorne, while another pursuer, Drake's old friend, believes the accusations are true, and promises to bring him to justice.
But Drake won't go down without a fight. Rather than surrender, he'll lead his loyal crew into the lawless frontier worlds, infested with pirates and smugglers, to repair and rearm his ship. Then he'll return to attack Malthorne's estates and seize the evidence he needs to clear his name.
But more than just Malthorne's estate is at stake. If Drake is captured, he and his crew are doomed--and the kingdom will be plunged into another war.
Book #1 of the Starship Blackbeard Series, by Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author Michael Wallace.


Review:
James Drake was a loyal Captain commanding the Royal Navy warship, HMS Ajax, on a planet that draws similarities to earth. Drake and his crew were victorious in a hard fought battle against the alien Hroom. When the battle was done the Captain was found guilty of shooting down an innocent merchant ship and headed to a prison planet. His first mate and a good number of his crew are convinced Drake was framed. They arrange a rescue and mutiny in his own ship. Drake is unhappy with the rescue and is prepared to turn himself in to his old friend, Rutherford, Captain of a sister ship. But Drake learns more facts that don’t make sense, including the fact that his valued pilot, a Hroom, has been turned into an addicted sugar eater who is now destined to be a slave on a sugar plantation. Drake struggles with the desire to save his friends and events tumble until he and the crew end up on the run with the Ajax.

Drake ends up seeking help within a planet cluster of pirates and smugglers. He has always been loyal to the admiralty and hates the position he is in. Still the more they learn the more it appears there is a serious conspiracy. Drake begins to accept that he cannot safely surrender so his plans begin to change. In addition to running from the Admiralty, they have to battle for freedom against a pirate ship.  Although damaged, Ajax and the crew prevail. Drake and his crew gain a new reputation and Ajax gets fixed up with a new name: Starship Blackbeard!

A startling secret is uncovered that could change the future of the beleaguered Hroom and threaten the human colonies. Drake realizes that the Lord Admiral Malthorne is involved in hiding the secret and he suspects that the Admiral is behind framing him. Drake prepares to return to his home planet to do battle.

I quickly learned to like Drake and his dedicated crew members. They are a mixed crew and I was reminded of the band of friends that made up the crew in the movie/series Firefly. They are brave, bold and daring and there is lots of fast paced action, space chases and battles, that kept me thoroughly engaged. The story is very well written and the combination of characters, plot intrigue and action make this wonderful entertainment. I enjoyed several books from the Righteous Series by this author and was glad to try this Sci Fi thriller when he offered it. I was delighted to discover the beginning of another good series in a totally different genre. I highly recommend this to sci fi adventure lovers and those who enjoy fast paced entertainment. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

I received this title from the author for an honest review.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday January 26, 2015

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.

Here we are ready to start the last week of January. Whew!
I had a really busy week so not so much time for blogging. 
I'm glad to have the work though.

I enjoyed my reading with two books completed and two more close to complete.  I posted two reviews, leaving two again for this week so far. I also posted my usual memes. 

I'm glad I got to visit Sunday and Monday nights last week because I didn't get to do any after that.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

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


Starship Blackbeard
by Michael Wallace
I really enjoyed the action and the characters in this. I'll post a review this week.
Click on book title for full description.



2. eBook/Kindle


Just in Time for a Highlander (Sirens of the Scottish Borderlands)
Gwyn Cready
This is an engaging time travel Highland romance.
I'll post the review this week.
Click on book title for full description.


Currently reading:
1. eBook/Kindle


The Founders' Plot
by Frank Victoria
I am loving the constitutional, immigration and other issues featured in this good plot! I am at 82% complete so expect to finish and post a review this week.
Click on book title for full description.



2. Audible/MP4


Immortality
Written by: Kevin Bohacz
Narrated by: Kevin T. Collins
I am about 20 hours into this 26 and 1/2 hour long audiobook.
This is turning out really interesting!
I received this audio through Audiobook Jukebox.
Click on book title for full description.



3. eBook/Kindle



Hawk (The Quiet Professionals, Book 2)
by Ronie Kendig
I enjoyed Book 1 in this series and look forward to book 2.
I received this through NetGalley.
Book Description
Publication Date: November 1, 2014
Raptor’s communications expert, Staff Sergeant Brian “Hawk” Bledsoe is struggling with his inner demons, leaving him on the verge of an “other than honorable” discharge. Plagued with corrupted intel, Raptor team continues to track down the terrorist playing chess with their lives. Afghan pilot Fekiria Haidary is devastated when a systems glitch on her aircraft forces a weapons launch on a safe target. And when the deadly bombing separates Brian from the team, he must make an impossible choice: save his brothers-in-arms, or save the woman and children depending on him to survive a brutal snowstorm.



4.eBook/Kindle


A Touch of Nerves
by Dennis Hampton
This looks interesting.
I received this from New Shelves Distribution.
Publication Date: December 18, 2012 
Army investigator Captain Ben Hawkins discovers that several pounds of the powerful nerve toxin VX-212 can't be accounted for at the Army facility responsible for destroying chemical munitions. Soon an FBI team is searching for Mahmoud, who can't forget his father's fate in the Iraq-Iran war, and Saman, whose parents were on Iran Flight 655, shot down by the American cruiser, the USS Vincennes. Their hatred of the country they blame for their losses leads them to the United States for revenge. Their scheme uses the same weapons the United States went to war to find--chemical weapons of mass destruction. The weapons didn't come from Iraq, though, but from the stockpiles of chemical weapons developed and stored in the United States.
Colonel Kashani, a senior Iranian intelligence officer, stumbles upon the plan, and he understands the dangers of enraging the American dragon. His challenge is to stop a terrorist plot without being ensnared by the FBI investigators trying to locate him. The Army investigator has his own choices, including whether to risk his career and possible arrest in an attempt to stop the attack, even if it means working with a foreign agent.
The action moves from Spain to Washington,D.C., Iran to Texas, and to small towns in Alabama and Virginia. The story is especially timely in view of recent events in Iran and Washington.


I am reading The One Year Bible again along with my husband and others from our church. I am also listening to the companion commentary online. -- Really enjoying my Bible reading. It seems my eyes are open to more details and meaning.
To go a step beyond the Bible reading I am also reading Jesus Daily 365 Interactive Devotions.

January Schedule:
I am still focusing on reading NetGalley titles and TBR titles this month.


I have two reviews to complete from this week so I am still up to date.
Now I have three NetGalley review titles I need/would like to read in January/February.  
I also have one more ebook from publicist to get to. 


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.

No new reviews or purchases for me this week although I did request a couple of titles from NetGalley that I hope will be approved this week.
I downloaded more free kindle titles to my library
(Although I have gotten to a couple, I still have many author requests, old and new ones, to consider and reply to.)

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
None

Won
None

Purchased
I am continuing to resist making any purchases. :-)

Free

Over the past week I added 57 free Kindle titles to my library. Titles found linked through Bookbub, Bookfun, Ereader News Today, Free Par-tay, Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink or Kindle ebooks.

Sunday Words of Encouragement January 25, 2015

Our Sunday School teacher did the final wrap-up on our two year study of Revelations. We still had questions about the timing of the rapture and tribulation but we all agreed that it wasn’t important as long as we live prepared. Then we had another awesome worship time!
Somewhat ironically – okay, not really, cause it is clearly a God thing– Pastor’s Sermon was “Rapture and Those Left Behind!”  According to certain scholars there are over 1800 references to Christ’s second coming in the Old Testament with 17 books giving it prominence. There are 318 references, or 1 out of every 30 verses, in the New Testament. Twenty three of twenty seven New Testament books refer to the second advent.

Pastor described the rapture where believers will disappear from earth “in the blink of an eye”. He read a quote that noted that ‘Every country will be effected.’ People from communications, transportation and law enforcement are gone. Social systems and structures will be in chaos and mayhem as people experience panic and evil doers seize the opportunity to run amok
.
There are two separate events that occur at end times. First Jesus returns as the bridegroom, to receive His bride (the church or true believers), in the air, in an instant of time. Second Jesus comes as King of Kings to make war against the antichrist and Satan. He comes to earth, where everyone will see Him and with a multitude in His armies.

There are varying theories on the timing of the Rapture: preTribulation, mid Trib or post Trib. Many believe that the true Christian believers will leave earth before the seven seals mentioned in Revelation 6 and 7 are opened. Others believe that the believers may be on earth for the first three and one half years of the seven year tribulation period but will be taken away from earth before the wrath of the Lord is poured out in the seven bowls. Revelation 8. Pastor noted that the rapture is Imminent, Sudden and Transforming for every Redeemed child of God! 1 Corinthians 15 and Ephesians 1:13-14.

The important thing is that it comes as a thief in the night and we need to ready! Satan’s job is to deceive any he can by pulling us away from God through working on Sunday, missing church for family day, living in sin, failing to obey, etc. So we must “Choose who you will serve! Wake up to sin in your life and repent.” Will you be left behind? Or are you ready for eternity?

Here is a song to remind us we were created for a purpose
but we will be close to Him in the Blink of an Eye!
Verses for Today:
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Lord I pray that you reveal any wicked thing in me so that I may repent and put sin behind me. Help me to stay ready and be watching for your coming!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sharing Beyond Books #187 Comment Giveaway January 24, 2015

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

Another week has flown by. It was busy for me - how about you? We had a few warmer days but now rain has brought in the cold again.
Thanks to everyone who commented last week.

There were some wonderful ideas for gifts. Many agree regarding special bookmarks, gift cards and more. Di suggested a lightwedge which I never heard of. Also Sarah suggested a great gift that has no monetary cost but a lot of heart cost: a thought out list of book suggestions! The link that I left gave some other suggestions like ear plugs or library/name stamp. Another one that I thought of is ear buds - I need to replace those for my MP player several times a year.
~~~~

The Winner from SBB #186 comments is: #11 Infuse 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. I'm hoping to update the book choices this week. Please let me know your choice by completing the (new) WINNER FORM.

WEEK #187 (One Question.)

Q1. MaryP asks:  What makes you decide to take a chance on a "new to you" author??
A: I like to try "new to me" authors. What I look for is a genre and blurb that interest me. I will also check into recommendations from other bloggers. :-)
Image found at Paradise Mysteries.

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.

Your turn to share:

Q1. MaryP asks: What makes you decide to take a chance on a "new to you" author??

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 31, 2015 at 5 PM  central.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway January 23, 2015

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

I ended the work day and thought: "It's Thursday already! Really?" Busy week being short handed at work. But it's been good and reading has been enjoyable. Weather is a little warmer 40s at night up to 80 in the day! Life is cycling here:- some 90+ birthdays, some sad deaths and three new babies to church friends!  Life is a joy all in all. :-)
(Hopefully I'll get a chance to pull new books for next week. Meanwhile I have to get caught up pulling and mailing books for the last several weeks as that staff member has been in the hospital.) 

[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 January 16 Pick. There was one automatic win 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 with multiple picks but it was finally won. 
CarolM  gets Fifteen Minutes

CONGRATULATIONS
to Random.org picked Winners from January 16 Pick:
Rubynreba gets To Collar a Killer
Michelle 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.}
One more for the new year theme. :-)
Image found at KeepCalm-O-matic

New Book Group #54 December 26, 2014

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

PAIRS - five sets!
Catherine Anderson: Seventh Heaven and Always in My Heart
SINGLES:
Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
Sleeping with Ward Cleaver by Jenny Gardiner



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
At The Stroke of Madness by Alex Kava
Undateable by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle


New Book Group #51 September 12, 2014

PAIRS:
Elysa Hendricks, Star Crash (personally autographed copy) and The Sword and the Pen
SINGLES:
Intrepid Encounter by Rebecca Ashley
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
The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin

New Book Group #48 May 30, 2014---(All gone)

New Book Group #47 April 25, 2014
SINGLES:
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

New Book Group #41-45 ---(All gone)

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 #33-35 --- (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 #24-28 ---(All gone)

New Group #23 Pick Books October 14, 2011
Ghost Writer (Shivers #3) by M.D. Spenser

New Group #18-22 ---(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 758+ 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 #12-15---(All gone)

Group #11
Alien Chronicles - The Crimson Claw by Deborah Chester

List #1
Circle of Stars by Anna Lee Waldo

Pick #2-6(All gone)

Pick #7
Prey by Michael Crichton - Audio Tape

Pick #8---(All gone)

Pick #9
On Treacherous Ground by Earl Murray

Pick #10---(All Gone)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Review: 'Tis The Season: Under the Christmas Tree\Midnight Confessions\Backward Glance by Robyn Carr

These are three quick, delightful and adorable romances!
'Tis The Season: Under the Christmas Tree\Midnight Confessions\Backward Glance
by Robyn Carr
  • File Size: 444 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0778316645
  • Publisher: MIRA (October 28, 2014)
  • ASIN: B00OP85WQU
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Small Town
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


'Tis The Season: Under the Christmas Tree\Midnight Confessions\Backward Glance
by Robyn Carr
Book Description
Publication Date: November 1, 2014
Revisit Virgin River with two beloved holiday stories from #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr. Included is the bonus novella Backward Glance—available digitally for the first time.
'Tis the season for family, friendship and the thrill of a holiday romance…
Under the Christmas Tree
With snow falling over the redwood forests, secluded Virgin River is the ideal place to spend the holidays. Each year, the close-knit community gathers in the town square to decorate and light a massive tree. Carols are sung, hot chocolate is shared—and a surprise left under the Christmas tree is about to bring two special people together!

Midnight Confessions
Holiday kisses don't end with Christmas—there's still the New Year's Eve party at Jack's Bar to attend. Locals and newcomers alike find themselves eager for that special countdown…and that midnight kiss.
So join us in Virgin River this year, where Robyn Carr's trademark humor, warmth and sincerity will have you celebrating the festive season in your favorite mountain town.


Review:
This is a collection of three delightful romances. They may be set at holiday time but they'd make a nice read anytime.

Under the Christmas Tree puts two locals together caring for abandoned puppies. Annie begins to take care of the nearly frozen puppies until Doc Jensen can arrive. She is expecting the old doc but instead his son, Nate, appears. Annie knew Nate from high school years when he was a friend of her older brothers. She is wary of any romantic involvements after discovering that her fiance of several years had two other girlfriends. Nate has been accustomed to a foot loose life style especially after the fiance he brought home left because the small town life wasn’t good enough for her. He is interested in Annie but realizes that she isn’t the right type to be “loose” with. I enjoyed how this couple make a nice arrangement caring for the pups and soon became friends. Things might lead into a serious relationship if they are willing to take a chance.

Midnight Confessions is set on New Year’s Eve and finds Sunny not so sunny. She is struggling with the memories of being jilted at her wedding the year before. Drew is a young doctor who is visiting his nearby family while taking a break from work before starting his residency. Drew is immediately entranced by Sunny but she quickly shoots down his attempts at flirtation. An accident ends up putting them together long enough to share their heartbreaks. Can they learn to move beyond past hurts to the possibility of true love?

Backward Glance gives a former romance a second chance. John is a man who has taken a handy-man approach and grown it into a successful maintenance and landscape business. John and Leigh had a summer affair five years before. Leigh is a brilliant scientist, with stunted social experience, who was going through a divorce when they met. John is surprised to hear that Leigh has returned to town with twin four year old boys.  John didn’t think he could ever live up to Leigh's standards and he let her go in the heat of an argument. But he has never forgotten her and she, apparently, had reason to always remember him. Could two opposites balance their strengths and weaknesses to make a stable future together?

These three stories have lovely, vulnerable characters. I enjoyed each of the stories which had nice positive messages on life and love. Two were fairly mild in the romance with one being a bit more sensual. The writing has an easy, direct flow that reads nicely and quickly. This reminds me why I always enjoyed Ms. Carr even though I haven't read her books for a few years. It is time to start enjoying this series. The overall read was sweet and “adorable”!

I am pleased to have received this title through NetGalley for an honest review. This will go for NetGalley Challenge and TBR Dare.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Audiobook Review: Time and Again: Book 1 in the History Mystery Series by Deborah Heal

There are wonderful history and faith lessons woven into this interesting story.
Time and Again: Book 1 in the History Mystery Series
Written by: Deborah Heal
Narrated by: Michelle Babb
Length: 5 hrs and 12 mins
Series: History Mystery, Book 1
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:06-17-14
Publisher: Write Brain Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian, Suspense
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0


Publisher's Summary
An old house + A new computer program = The travel opportunity of a lifetime...to another century.
Abby Thomas is spending the summer in a run-down old house with a bratty pre-teen named Merrideth she is supposed to tutor. Not a dream job. But it does come with perks.
There's John Roberts, a devastatingly attractive neighbor who is almost too wonderful to be real.
And there's the new computer program Beautiful Houses--also too amazing to be real. No one knows how it works, but with it she can rewind and fast-forward the lives of all the people who ever lived in the house, including Charlotte Miles.
In 1858, the house is a train stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. And Charlotte is stuck there serving meals to the passengers, wondering if she'll ever get to have any fun. And then she meets two travelers who change her life forever.
There's James McGuire with whom she falls in love. And there's his boss, a young Springfield lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. His debate with political opponent Stephen Douglas catapults him onto the national stage. And it inspires Charlotte to take up the cause of abolition.
The House
A stop on the Alton & Chicago Line. A stop on the Underground Railroad.
Watching the house's history unfold, Abby and Merrideth gain a new perspective on their own lives as time and again they see God's loving hand in the lives of its inhabitants.
©2013 Deborah Heal (P)2014 Deborah Heal


Review:
Abby Thomas is a college student using her summer to earn funds and credits towards her degree. She is tutoring an 11 year-old resentful girl, Merrideth. Merrideth is upset by her parents’ divorce especially since her mother has moved them away from her home, friends and father in Chicago. Now they live six hours away in a small town in an old house which seems dull and isolated -- at first..

Merrideth’s expensive computer keeps turning on a program called Beautiful Houses, which Merrrideth is surprised to discover includes their house when it was in new condition. As Merrideth and Abby explore the remarkable program they are immersed in the life of Charlotte Miles, whose father was the original founder of the whole community. They are fascinated by Charlotte’s life in the years leading up to the civil war. Charlotte is also resentful of her father for not allowing her to go on the train to the Alton Fair with a local boy. Instead she must stay home and serve the meal as her home is the Station Way-Stop. But one of the guests is a nice young man, James McGuire, who works for a Springfield attorney, Abraham Lincoln. There are other interesting guests too that add to the charm and history of the house.

Abby and Merrideth are able to develop a friendship while learning that God has His hand on those who seek and trust Him. There is a charming young boy as an added character as well as a local fellow, John Roberts, who is smitten by Abby. The author does a smooth transition of scenes from present to past with the interesting twist of technology. She skillfully uses difficulties and problems from Charlotte's life, with wonderful depth of historical elements, to show Abby and Merrideth lessons that apply to their emotional struggles in the current day.

I really enjoyed the history and the way the author weaves in God’s care and love in both time lines. I was sorry the story ended rather abruptly, but I recognize it leaves room for more historical adventures. This is a good book for teens, adults and history lovers. I do recommend it in text however, as I was disappointed by the narration.

Audio Notes: Sad to say, I was not impressed by Michelle Babb’s narration. There was little variation of character voice and only a few attempts to add emotional impact. I felt this was more a reading than a narration and it detracted from my enjoyment. This is an occasion when I recommend the text rather than the audiobook. However, other listener's enjoyed the narration so test a sample and decide what you think.

I received this audio through Audiobook Jukebox for an honest review. This qualifies for Audio challenge and T in Alphabet Soup. 

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