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Friday, March 16, 2018

Audible Book Review: Hell Divers, The Hell DIvers Series, Book 1, by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

This is a dark, action-packed sci fi thriller.
Hell Divers
The Hell Divers Series, Book 1
By: Nicholas Sansbury Smith
Narrated by: R. C. Bray
Series: The Hell Divers Series, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
Release date: 07-19-16
Language: English
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Dark Fantasy Sci Fi, Technothriller
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
An Audible Editor's Pick of 2016 and An Audible Best of 2016 Science Fiction.
More than two centuries after World War III poisoned the planet, the final bastion of humanity lives on massive airships circling the globe in search of a habitable area to call home. Aging and outdated, most of the ships plummeted back to Earth long ago. The only thing keeping the two surviving lifeboats in the sky are Hell Divers - men and women who risk their lives by diving to the surface to scavenge for parts the ships desperately need.
When one of the remaining airships is damaged in an electrical storm, a Hell Diver team is deployed to a hostile zone called Hades. But there's something down there that's far worse than the mutated creatures discovered on dives in the past - something that threatens the fragile future of humanity.
Narrator Interview:
©2016 Nicholas Sansbury Smith (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Mankind managed to poison their world through nuclear war and waste. There are only two airships remaining with the last human survivors. The captains of the ships continue to look for a safe place to land and recolonize their own world. First, they have to survive in space to find that safe place.

A fierce electrical storm has endangered one of the ships by damaging it and leaving it stranded above one of the most dangerous places on earth, a city known as Hades. Xavier Rodriguez, 'X’, is a Hell Diver on the second ship. Hell Divers are the men and women who accept the challenge of diving to the earth’s surface to scavenge for supplies needed to keep the ships operating. ‘They dive so humanity survives”. But no sky diver has ever returned from Hades. Yet the divers must try as the necessary fuel and repair parts are located in this hostile area.

Hell divers have shortened life expectancy as many perish after less than 20 dives. X is the longest surviving diver with over 90 dives! He leads a team to the edges of Hades hoping to find supplies on the outskirts. Instead of supplies they find a horrendous monster of great strength and agility, with the ability to climb walls and even fly. These mutant monsters, dubbed ‘sirens’, are vicious killers who eat the prey they catch.

X has been an almost careless diver since he lost his wife a few years back. But a new death leaves him in charge of his best friend’s young son, a child prodigy. X faces the most dangerous dive of his life as he and the other team members agree to dive into Hades to seek the needed supplies.

X was initially presented as a cold, uncaring character but the author did develop his traumas and his depths. I think my favorite character is the boy, Tin. I also liked the captain who fights personal health issues as she desperately tries to save her ship and humanity There is plenty of action in this story, but I wasn’t fully enthralled. It may be because it borders on a horror story but that shouldn’t bother me too much. I felt the beginning was a bit disjointed and maybe I never got back on track. Still, I enjoyed the intense entertainment and I will probably continue with the next book at some point.

Audio Notes: R. C. Bray does a fine job with the narration. He provides depth to the tense scenes and gives the characters unique voices. The narration follows the story with precise timing and pacing. The narration enhanced this reading experience for me.

Source: Audible Daily Deal 2017. This qualifies for 2018TBR, Take Control, Audiobook and Alphabet Challenges.

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway March 16, 2018

Happy Friday!

I have been crazy busy at work. Helping with title company extra closings and trying to catch up on legal work.


US Entrants: Leave a comment and tell me WHICH BOOK you would like to get from the Friday Pick lists.

INTERNATIONAL: Leave a comment indicating "Gift Card" (see further comments near the end of the post.)

CUT OFF TIME IS THURSDAY NIGHTS AT 9:00 PM CENTRAL so I do not have to stay up too late to do the winner post! I will randomly pick two winners to announce Friday mornings with the next Pick post.

Thank you to all who entered the March 9 Pick. There were TWO automatic wins this week and one that got lost in spam, making THREE. Automatic wins are those who requested the book four times without other people asking for that book during those weeks. There was one blocked title again.

CAROL NW gets There Was a Little Girl (Audio) (I am so sorry that your posts were going into spam. I am watching for that now.)
Rubynreba gets Hannah's Courage
SueF gets Hot on Her Heels.

to picked Winners from March 9 Pick:
BN100 gets a Desert Rogue and
ALINA gets a CG.

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.}

Image found at

New Book Group #77 February 16, 2018
I thought I would look for some 'Springish' titles but that didn't happen. Hope someone finds a title or two you like.
Betty Neals: Tabitha by Moonlight and Fate Takes a Hand
Nora Robert: Hot Ice (spine creased) and Sanctuary
My Lord Conqueror by Samantha James
Surrender by Pamela Clare
Dessert Rogue by Suzanne Simmons
The Rose and the Shield by Elaine Barrieri
Hannah’s Courtship by Emma Miller
Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught
Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
A Husband’s Wicked Ways by Jane Feather
Hot on Her Heels by Susan Mallery
Indigo Blue by Catherine Anderson
Between the Devil and Desire (Scoundrels of St. James Book 2) by Lorraine Heath (hardback)

New Book Group #76 November 3, 2017
21 books remain of the original 37:

I finally Have them Listed!
Boots & Booties by Kristine Rolofson
Saucer the Conquest by Stephen Coonts
Echo Burning by Lee Child
The Scorpion Seducer by Bonnie Vanak
Hell On Earth by David L. Porter
Tempted All Night by Liz Carlyle
Day of the Dead by J.A. Jance
White Night by Jim Butcher
Five Gold Rings Anthology Constance O’Banyon and three others
Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton
Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell
Crisscross by Harmon Henkin
Wizard’s Daughter by Catherine Coulter
Pearl Beyond Price by Claire Delacroix
Maelstrom by Anne McCaffrey
The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
The Wicked Wyckerly by Patricia Rice
Inhuman Condition by Clive Barker
Night Whispers by Judith McNaught
101 Commonsense Rules for the Office by John R. Brinkerhoff

Finger Licken' Fifteen
How to Tame a Highland Warrior
The Texan
Total Control
Atlantis Found
Stephanie Laurens Pair
Rebellious Desires 
Forget Me Not 
The Eighth Commandment
Ghost Riders
The Manning Brides by Debbie Macomber 
Shadow Music 
Corbin's Fancy 
Hawk's Lady

This shelf of 35 books are what is left from Groups #1 (11/27/09) through Group #75 September 29, 2017
(Title list reads left at bottom to right at top - 14 titles.)
Secret Blessing
Named of the Dragon

Aunt Erma's Cope Book
JoAnn Ross: Confessions
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
The New Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman
A Kiss Before Dawn by Kimberly Logan
The Fireman’s Fair by Josephine Humphreys (Hardcover)
Bound by Destiny by Rayka Mennen

Rainbow Mars by Larry Niven
There Was A Little Girl by Ed McBain (Audio Cassettes)
Love's Brazen Fire by Betina Krahn 

(Title list reads left at bottom to right at top - 21 titles.)
Plan of Attack by Dan Brown
(*Three more very old books from my Gothics box.)
*The Man in the Garden by Paule Mason (1969 - yellowed)
Fire Dancer by Ann Maxwell
*Four books are very old; pulled from a box of gothic novels I found.
*Maggie – Her Marriage by Taylor Caldwell (1953 very old, yellowed pages, some stain damage doesn't effect reading)
First Things First by Stephen R. Covey- Audio Cassette
Trilogy Of Mysteries Audio Book Shadow Prey, There Was A Little Girl, Smokescreen Audio Cassettes (NOT CDs)
Raintree Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones (spine creases)
The Shadowing by Joan Overfield
The Sweetheart Dance by Patti Ann Colt
BOX 4 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 47-53)
Undateable by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle
Jezebel by Katherine Sutcliff
The Hidden Truth of Cytech's Randall Forty by Vickie Kennedy
Breakfast in Bed by Sandra Brown - Audio Cassette Tapes (link is for mass media version)
BOX 3 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 39- 47)
Shetland Summer by Janet Lynnford
BOX 2 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 24- 38)
The Trailsman: Texas Lead Slingers by Jon Sharpe
A Courtesans Guide to Getting Your Man by Susan Donovan and Celeste Bradley -- 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
An Honorable Man by Rosemary Rogers (spine creases)
The Willful Widow by Valerie King (spine wear)
Foundation (Foundation Novels) by Isaac Asimov
BOX #1 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 1- 23)
Ghost Writer (Shivers #3) by M.D. Spenser
Alien Chronicles - The Crimson Claw by Deborah Chester

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 almost EIGHT years I have posted 75 groups of 16 (1,200) books to find new homes! (as of November 2, 2017).

I am happy to say that so far about 1,148+books have found new homes through this feature! YAY. [A month or so ago I posted I had reached 2000 books given away. As I calculated the numbers 11/2/17 I realized that had to be an error. I realized I went from 1098 to 2001 instead of 1101. Guess I was tired; sorry for the error.] I have to update my print out to check the exact number sent out - a few were never claimed. 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!

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, 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 $7.00 and $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)

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!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway: When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall

This is another emotional story with engaging live journey.
When the Morning Comes, Sisters of the Quilt Series #2
by Cindy Woodsmall
Amazon Link
File Size: 1628 KB
Print Length: 338 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook (May 20, 2008)
ASIN: B0019O6J2O
Genre: Amish, Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Product Description
Her relationship with fiance Paul Waddell in tatters, Hannah Lapp has fled her secluded Old Order Amish community in hopes of finding a new home in Ohio with her shunned aunt. Hampered by limited education and hiding her true identity, Hannah struggles to navigate the confusing world of the Englischers. When the Morning Comes is a continuation of the lives of dearly loved characters from the best-selling novel and 2007 ECPA Finalist When the Heart Cries.

Hannah was facing rumors and ostracism by her Amish community. Dismayed by the refusal of her parents and friends to support her, Hannah left home seeking support and refuge with her shunned aunt in Ohio.

Hannah is a brave young woman to face a new town alone. She is blessed to find a friendly man to help her hunt for her Aunt. She is also looking for work but soon learns that having only an 8th grade education limits her options. A traumatic event leads to a serendipitous result.

Back home Paul continues to hope that Hannah will return in time. He decides to carry on with his studies and work opportunity while waiting. Also at home, Hannah’s sister Sarah is still struggling with what happened to Hannah and her leaving. Several neighbors find Sarah wondering in strange places but her father won’t acknowledge that she is having trouble.

This second story follows issues at home with Hannah’s brother, Luke, and his intended, Mary. Hannah’s good friend Matthew, who helped her get away is also having difficulties with his love interest.

Hannah is a lovely character and I am enjoying her growth journey There are several new characters who add to the tension and romantic entanglements. There is a bit more faith discussion in this book, which is fine by me. I recommend reading the books in order. I am looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy.

Source: 2016 for Ladies Book Club. This qualifies for 2018 TBR and March Take Control Challenges.
My Review of Book 1: When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall; rating 4.5 (Giveaway ends 5/17.)

One winner.
Paperback Book (US Only)

(Don't forget to fill in the form for entry!)
For 3 Extra Bonus entries
(a) comment on the review
(b) comment on the author's website

* This contest is open to US only for the paperback book.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) March 24, 2018.
Winners are asked to respond on the winners form linked in the announcement or by email.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Audio Book Review: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

This is an engaging suspense; strong beginning to the series.
If I Run
by Terri Blackstock
Narrator: Nan Gurley
Series If I Run Series
Runtime: 6.7 Hrs. - Unabridged
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Genre: Christian, Mystery, Suspense
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Casey knows the truth.
But it won’t set her free.
Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.
But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?
Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

Casey Cox found her officer father dead when she was 12 years old. The police ruled it a suicide, but Casey knew the evidence supported murder. Someone was covering up the facts.

Thirteen years later Casey’s good friend, Brent, a journalist, was digging into her father’s death. He called her to say he had news, When Casey arrives at his apartment she walks in to find his bloody body. Casey stumbles in the blood and leaves her footprints and handprints at the scene. She knows she will be the number one suspect, so she goes on the run.

Dylan Roberts, Brent’s childhood friend, is a stressed veteran suffering from PTSD. He was an investigator in the service and is hired by Brent’s parents to hunt down the murderer and bring her back. As Dylan views the crime scene he quickly sees evidence that indicates that Casey may not be the murderer. He heads out to follow the clues of Casey’s flight run.

Casey is good at disguising herself and staying off the grid. Still she leaves a few clues. Casey has a caring heart and can’t stop herself from becoming involved in the sorrows of others. She chooses to investigate the kidnapping of a missing teen even though it puts her undercover situation at risk.

I enjoyed the suspense and Casey’s cleverness in staying hidden. Both Casey and Dylan are flawed and well-developed characters. The story has steady pacing with strong details and interesting plot lines. I liked how the chapters cover different events alternating between Casey and Dylan. Although there is no real romance in this first book, you can see the anticipated direction. This is a series and the reader should expect to get books two and three.

I have read Ms. Blackstock before and appreciate her writing style. I recommend this to readers who enjoy clean suspense. Even my husband, who is not much of a book reader enjoyed the story though and was ready for book two as we finished book one.

Audio Notes: The narration by Nan Gurley is disappointing. There is no effort to distinguish the female and male voices which sometimes caused confusion, especially for my husband who doesn’t have the same practice at following along as I do. The narration did help me share this with my husband as we listened together. Listen to the sample to decide if you want to listen or read this one.

Source: ChristianAudio Sale 2017. This qualifies for my 2018TBR, Take Control TBR and Audio and Alphabet Challenges.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Audible Book Review: Dead Ever After, A Sookie Stackhouse Novel, Book 13, by Charlaine Harris

Entertaining but it seemed time to wrap up this series.
Dead Ever After
A Sookie Stackhouse Novel, Book 13
By: Charlaine Harris
Narrated by: Johanna Parker

Series: Sookie Stackhouse, Book 13
Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins
Release date: 05-07-13
Language: English
Publisher: Recorded Books
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
Number-one New York Times best-selling author Charlaine Harris has won numerous awards for her Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series, which has been adapted into the hit HBO show True Blood. In this 13th and final book, a murder rocks the town of Bon Temps and Sookie is arrested for the crime. After making bail, she sets out to clear her name - but her investigation only leads to more deaths.
©2013 Charlaine Harris, Inc. (P)2013 Recorded Books

In the last book Sookie used a magical artifact to save Sam’s life. This has a ripple effect as Eric thought she should have used it for him, others wanted the artifact for themselves, and Sam isn’t sure yet how he feels being brought back to life.

An old friend turned enemy returns to Bon Temps and ends up dead after visiting Sookie. Sookie has an alibi but the detective doesn’t seem to want to listen. A collection of Sookie’s friends show up to help bail her from jail and help her investigate several strangers in town. Sookie narrowly escapes several attacks during the investigations and it just isn’t clear if the vampires want her dead, the fairies, the humans or all of the above.

The continuing love seesaw between Sookie and Eric (always intense but ephemeral) and Sookie and Sam (always at arm’s length) finally gets a push which some readers will be like while others will be disappointed. I was fine with the teeter although the ending result was a little weak.

I enjoyed stepping back into Sookie’s world to wrap up the series. Some of the character abilities seemed weaker and others stronger without a good explanation. Still, I liked the murder investigation and the suspense which gave this story some substance. Otherwise I think this concluding episode seemed somewhat anticlimactic. I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone jumping into the series at the ending, but it had to end somewhere and this is as good a time to wrap as any.

Audio Notes: Johanna Parker does a fine job with the narration. She is the voice of Sookie and manages to convey her quirky personality and also presents the other characters distinctly. The narration enhanced by enjoyment of the series.

Source: Audible 2015 Credit or Sale purchase. This qualifies for 2018 TBR (including Take Control Challenge), Audiobook and Alphabet Challenges.


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