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Saturday, May 26, 2018

#NetGalley Book Review: Nick Newton is Not a Genius by S.E.M Ishida

I enjoyed this Middle Grade story and its charming illustrations.
Nick Newton is Not a Genius
by S.E.M Ishida

File Size: 6244 KB
Print Length: 117 pages
Publisher: BJU Press/JourneyForth (October 16, 2016)
Genre: Adventure, Children's, Clockwork, Sci Fi
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Nick Newton is not a Genius. He’s just a merely average boy from the country of Thauma. He may not be brilliant like his mom and dad or a child prodigy like his sister, but he won’t let that stop him from uncovering the mysteries of a clockwork factory or revealing a war hero’s greatest secret. With help from two new friends and his butler named Jude, Nick embarks on an adventure that will change his life forever.

Nick Newton is a fourth grader who is not a genius like his parents and his older sister. His mother is a genius scientist and his father is a genius artist. His annoying sister, Erma, is a child prodigy with several talents. Nick’s testing reveals he is a normal kid and won’t be able to attend the school for the genius children. This sets his parents on a search for an appropriate alternative school.

Meanwhile, Nick is happy to be working on a project he found in the attic, among his grandfather’s things. His grandfather, for whom Nick is named, was a war hero and famous inventor of weapons. Nick is sure that greandfather developed other things besides war weapons. Nick has found the parts of a clockwork bird and instructions and he is intent on piecing the bird together.

When Nick begins his new school the founder of the school, Mr. Volk, wants Nick’s mechanical bird as a collector’s piece. Nick is cautious of the man especially in light of negative rumors regarding him and his robotic inclinations. Will Nick be safe in the school and can he protect his treasured clockwork bird? Can they unlock the secrets hiding in grandfather’s locked trunk?

This is a fun story with engaging, uncomplicated illustrations. The secondary characters, including his family, the butler and Mr. Volk, have their individual charming, quirks which add interest. The story reads easily and I think middle school students would certainly enjoy this as I did. Nick learns from mistakes and adventures as all normal children should/can. I enjoyed Nick’s discoveries and realizations at the end of the story even though the ending seemed a bit abrupt.

The tag words at Amazon include "Christian" however I did not see any overt religious message. I think perhaps the implications of a mechanical heart may be involved in that tag. I do recommend this especially for students (and adults) who enjoy clockwork or model elements and a little mystery too. I am encouraging my eight-year-old granddaughter to try the story.

Source: NetGalley Selection 2018. The qualifies for my NetGalley Challenge and as a 2018 title for Alphabet Challenge.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Audible Book Review: Geekerella by Ashley Poston

This is a fun listen – a nice mix of fairy tale and YA.
By: Ashley Poston
Narrated by: Eileen Stevens, Tristan Morris

Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 04-04-17
Language: English
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Adaptation, Fairy Tale, Romance
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad's old costume, Elle's determined to win - unless her stepsisters get there first.
Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons - before he was famous. Now they're nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake - until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again?
Part-romance, part-love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.
©2017 Ashley Poston (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Elle’s father was a founder of ExcelsiCon when Cons were fairly new. Elle shared her father’s love of the sci fi program Starfield and enjoyed the excitement of the sci fi conference until her father’s death. Now Elle lives with her stepmother and two step-sisters, one of whom is particularly mean. Her stepmother hasn’t lost her resentment for Elle’s close relationship with her father and she doesn’t give Ellie any slack at home.

Across the states, teen actor, Darien Freeman, has just been announced as the new face of Starfield’s main character, Carmindor. Coming in from a beach show, many Starfield fans, with Ellie at the lead, consider him a weak player who won’t be able to live up to the job. Darien is scheduled to attend the Sci Fi Con for pormotion. He used to love the Con until he was betrayed and exposed by his best friend. As Darien tries to manage a way out of attending the Con he accidentally connects with Ellie. They begin a texting exchange not knowing the true identity of each other.

I really enjoyed this modern-day Cinderella story. I like the primary characters and some of the secondary characters play good supporting roles. As in most Cinderella stories, I was rooting for the geek and the star to find a way to meet and develop a true relationship. I was also hoping for the downfall of the unloving stepmother and bratty, bullying step-sister.

The story is told from alternating first person views by Ellie and Darian. The romance is appropriately sweet for a younger audience. The fandom is a great element to draw cosplayers and sci fi fans. The story is fun and I recommend it to readers who enjoy cosplayers, Cons and fairytale romance.

Audio Notes: Eileen Stevens and Tristan Morris do a great job on the shared narration. The capture the youth and self-deprecating attitude of the primary characters. They also do a fine job with the other characters. The full package is very entertaining.

Source: 2017 Audible Daily Deal Purchase. This qualifies for 2018TBR, Audio Book and Alphabet Challenges.

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway May 24, 2018

Happy Friday! 

A busy week; new staff is helping me get work done. Yay! We've had sun and rain all week.


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 May 18 Pick. There was one automatic win this week. Automatic wins are those who requested the book four times without other people asking for that book during those weeks. There were two titles blocked; one was won through the block again.
AUTO: Elizabeth gets a Depraved Heart.

to picked Winners from May 18 Pick:
FREDAMANS gets a GC and
DI gets By a Spider's Thread (through the block).

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.}
Related image
Only 7 days left in May!
Image found at Goodreads.

New Book Group #78 April 27, 2018
Midnight Rainbow
Indigo Blue
By a Spider's Thread

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 1,164+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, May 24, 2018

Book Review: Hearts Under Fire by Antonio Scotto di Carlo

This mystery and romance had some good twists.
Hearts Under Fire
by Antonio Scotto di Carlo
File Size: 1232 KB
Print Length: 235 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1976742951
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
ASIN: B00U88RP52
Genre: Mystery, Romance, Suspense
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Jenny is a beautiful young businesswoman. She lives in an Italian tourist town where she owns a shop. Her need for independence is her strength, but her innate distrust sometimes creates problems with others.
One day she encounters love. More than an encounter, it’s a collision, a head-on collision. Her heart isn’t Eros’s only target, and everything changes …
Police begin investigating suspicious events around her, slowing down the construction of a new great hotel in town and rocking her life even more.

Jenny is a young woman making a success of her sales shop in an Italian tourist town. She has been betrayed in the past, so she guards her independence fiercely to the point of spoiling her personal relationships. She is trying to find a way to rent the space above her shop so she can store her inventory on site. She meets with her landlord who flirts with her but she thinks she can convince him to give her a discounted rental rate with the goal of buying it.

Her normally proper boyfriend, a successful architect, unexpectedly invites her to go out of town for a resort weekend. He is a good man but is pressuring her a bit to get married. At the end of the weekend he convinces her to accept her proposal. Shortly after they have returned home the police show up at her door to announce that he has been murdered. Because a similar murder occurred a few months before the police are not sure whether this is a random murder or something related to his work.

The strange coincidence is that one of the detectives, Chris, is a man who Jenny recently exchanged heated glances with in the market. Chris is enchanted with Jenny even though he should have nothing to do with her because of the investigation.

Chris and Jenny soon fall in love with intense chemistry but intense conflict too. Chris has his own past demons that create warnings and obstacles which run up against Jenny’s obsession with independence. His reactions begin to create a growing negative suspicion in Jenny that causes a traumatic twist in their relationship.

I enjoyed the warm, descriptive writing style very much. I was surprised that this was written in Italian and translated into English as it flowed quite well. The sexual encounters were a bit cliched but not grossly graphic. I really liked the twists and turns which culminate in a final twist in the last chapter. There is a fun (and strange) rap song included. It was an engaging romance/mystery mix that I recommend to readers who enjoy those genres.

Source: 2017 Author through Goodreads. This qualifies for 2018TBR and Alphabet Challenges.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Book Review and Tour Giveaway: The Deadliest Sport by June Trop

The mystery and historical detail are interesting in this historical fiction.
The Deadliest Sport: A Miriam bat Isaac Mystery in Ancient Alexandria
by June Trop

File Size: 1363 KB
Print Length: 174 pages
Publisher: Black Opal Books (October 7, 2017)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Miriam bat Isaac, a budding alchemist in first-century CE Alexandria, welcomes her twin brother Binyamin home to fight his last gladiatorial bout in Alexandria. But when he demands his share of the family money so he can build a school for gladiators in Alexandria, Miriam explains that he forsook his share when he took the gladiatorial oath. When she refuses to loan him the money for what she feels is a shady, and dangerous, enterprise, Binyamin becomes furious. Soon after, the will of Amram, Miriam’s elderly charge, turns up missing, Amram becomes seriously ill, and the clerk of the public records house is murdered. Could Binyamin really be behind this monstrous scheme? If not he, who could be responsible? And is Miriam slated to be the next victim?

Miriam bat Isaac is an industrious young woman in 1st Century Alexandria. She has helped her father's former business partner maintain the family business and make safe investments. She is hoping that her twin brother Binyamin will soon retire as a Gladiator and join the family business. Ben has just arrived home with his best friend, another gladiator who is brutish and suspected murderer. They are to participate in gladiator games in their home town.

Miriam doesn't approve of Ben's behavior and disrespect for their Jewish traditions. She soon learns that Ben has no inclination to join the family business. Instead he demands his inheritance so that he and his best friend can build a Ludus, a training facility for gladiators, in Alexandria.

When Miraima explains that he has no inheritance, Ben pressures her to convince her partner to invest in the project. A day or two after Ben's return, Miriam discovers her partner's will is missing and he has suddenly become quite ill. Then a former family employer is killed and certain facts lead Mirium to suspect her brother and his friend are involved.

I appreciated Miriam's independent nature but thought she was very foolish for going to the rougher side of the docks to investigate the missing will and the murder on her own. Even a past traumatice experinece in the streets doesn't make her use better sence. She also puts herself at great risk by confronting the men she believes are responsible for murder.

For the most part I liked the clear and detailed writing. However, there are some long, windy sentences and a portion of the story is delivered through a letter rather than action. I can't say that I was drawn in by the characters as there was a certain flatness in the story for me. Still, I liked the mystery and the historical detail which was remarkable. I recommend this to reader's who enjoy historical detail and a mystery plot.

I received this title through iRead Book Tours It also qualifies for a 2018 title in my Alphabet Challenge.

Content Rating: PG (mild religious oriented expletives, such as "Lord," some violent descriptions, such as the corpse, the gladiatorial arena)

To read reviews, please visit June Trop's page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

Watch the Book Trailer:

Meet the Author:

June Trop and her twin sister Gail wrote their first story, "The Steam Shavel [sic]," when they were six years old growing up in rural New Jersey. They sold it to their brother Everett for two cents.

"I don't remember how I spent my share," June says. "You could buy a fistful of candy for a penny in those days, but ever since then, I wanted to be a writer."

As an award-winning middle school science teacher, June used storytelling to capture her students' imagination and interest in scientific concepts. Years later as a professor of teacher education, she focused her research on the practical knowledge teachers construct and communicate through storytelling. Her first book, From Lesson Plans to Power Struggles (Corwin Press, 2009), is based on the stories new teachers told about their first classroom experiences.

Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she devotes her time to writing The Miriam bat Isaac Mystery Series. Her heroine is based on the personage of Maria Hebrea, the legendary founder of Western alchemy, who developed the concepts and apparatus alchemists and chemists would use for 1500 years.

June lives with her husband Paul Zuckerman in New Paltz, where she is breathlessly recording her plucky heroine's next life-or-death exploit.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest

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