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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway: The Breaking Point by Karen Ball

This is full of emotional conflict.
The Breaking Point
by Karen Ball
File Size: 5983 KB
Print Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Multnomah (September 26, 2009)
Genre: Christian, Family Drama, Inspirational
My Rating: 3.5 of 5.0

Caught in a blizzard, they expected to fight for their lives. What they didn’t expect was a miracle…
Renee and Gabe Roman are on the edge—relationally and spiritually. Both believe they are followers of Christ who know God. So why is their marriage so difficult? After years of struggle, they wonder if it’s all been for nothing.
Then, on an anniversary trip to a remote resort, their truck hurtles down the side of a mountain. Suddenly, they find themselves at the mercy of the rugged Oregon wilderness, forced to fight for survival by relying on each other. But both must surrender their last defenses if they are to come home at last—to God and to each other.
Can the Romans overcome their greatest obstacle—themselves—in time?

Renee is a young woman who was raised in a family strongly grounded in faith. This doesn’t protect her from physical desires and emotional upheaval.

Gabe was raised under the tyranny of an abusive father who filled Gabe with negative self-views. Gabe is only able to find approval when he discovers he has the ability to put on a face that is praised by his church group. Gabe is able to hold that mask even though his youth pastor questions if his supposed ‘calling’ is real. His biggest problem, other than living behind a mask, is controlling his raging temper.

Renee and Gabe meet on college campus and quickly are enthralled with each other. Their relationship leads to unexpected consequences and, sooner than planned, marriage. Although they love each other they have a great capacity to hurt each other and find their love traveling into hate and resentment. This emotional roller coaster continues for years. Finally they get help from a caring, Godly couple, and agree to separate to seek self-healing so they, hopefully, can heal their marriage. Even with that, they end a short vacation with arguing and silence while driving home through a snowstorm.

The story telling is interesting as it flows from present to past events following both characters. Peppered through the story are diary entries sharing the pain of an estranged marriage. The story reveals real life struggles that face even Christ followers. Issues are shared with strong faith while the chapters begin with paired quotes from secular works and the Bible. Although there were some wonderful, meaningful phrases, I found the fractious relationship to be sad, tiring and a bit drawn out.

One of the genre listings at Amazon is "psychological thriller" which I think is misleading. This may be considered psychological fiction but I would call it family drama. I have to admit that this isn’t my favorite genre or style of reading. I much prefer adventure and entertainment over emotional trauma. The ladies in my ladies’ book club had mixed reactions too. Several loved it while a couple of us said… ‘okay – it wasn’t my style’. If you read for entertainment, this might not be a book for you. However, if you enjoy a faith based story that shares real life emotional turmoil, this is one you should want to pick up.

I bought the print book several years ago and picked up the Kindle version in April to read for our April Ladies Book Club meeting. I’m going to count this toward 2019TBR goal.

Paperback Book (US and Canada Only)

(Don't forget to fill in the form for entry!)
For 3 Extra Bonus entries
(a) comment on the review
(b) visit the author's website and tell me something you like there.

* This contest is open to US and Canada only for the paperback book.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) June 1, 2019.
Winners are asked to respond on the winners form linked in the announcement or by email.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Sunday Post May 19, 2019/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday May 20, 2019

Sunday Post #318 Chairs, Compliance, and Storms
I am linking with Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading now at The Book Date (at Wordpress).
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.

This looks like a repeat from last week:
"Work continues. Our new employee seems to be doing well considering how much we have 'thrown at her' this week.
I contacted the architect's office repeatedly but, in spite of one reply, there is no progress. I'll be back on the phone this week."

I found a couple of poppies like this along our front walk. Sadly most of the yard is full of weeds as we wait for the yard man.
Tiger Lily is moving normally and eating again.
Our weather is expected to reach the 100s this week. We are waiting for a new air conditioner to replace the one broken. (The upstairs one still works.)
We're watching the finale of Game of Thrones tonight.

My reading/listening week was so-so; not wonderful. I finished 3 books: 2 audiobooks and 1 ebook. I posted three reviews and my usual memes.

I visited 22 blogs last week.
Shout Out this week to From Beginning to Bookend. Hannah had a video book blog and is currently posting her reviews at Goodreads.
Thank you to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • ATBR- Audio Book Review: Still Life by Dani Pettrey; Christian, Religious Romance, Romantic Suspense; My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0 Overall; Story 4.0; Narration 4.5.
  • NG2019- #NetGalley: Deadly Vows by Jody Holford; Amateur Sleuth, Cozy Mystery; My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0.

Finished Reading:
1. Audible/Smartphone (A2019)
Storm Cursed audiobook cover art

Storm Cursed
Mercy Thompson Novel Series, Book 11
By: Patricia Briggs
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
Release date: 05-07-19
This is another entertaining addition to a great series.
My review is linked above.
Source: March 2019 Audible credit (pre-order).
Click on book title for full description.

2. eBook/Kindle (eb-LBC)

The Breaking Point
by Karen Ball
This is full of emotional conflict. 
This was our LBC book, discussed Saturday 5/18.
Source: 2016 Print purchase. 4/28/19 Kindle version.
Click on book title for full description.

3. Audio/Smartphone (A2019)
God of War audiobook cover art

God of War
By: J. M. Barlog, Cory Barlog
Narrated by: Alastair Duncan
Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
My son encouraged me to listen to this. 
Being familiar with the game would probably make it a better reading/listen.
Source: February 2019 Audible Daily Deal $3.95.
Publisher's Summary
The official novelization of the brand new game
His vengeance against the gods of Olympus years behind him, Kratos now lives as a man in the realm of Norse gods and monsters. It is in this harsh, unforgiving world that he must fight to survive...and teach his son to do the same.
This startling reimagining of God of War deconstructs the core elements that defined the series - satisfying combat, breathtaking scale, and a powerful narrative - and fuses them anew.
©2018 J. M. Barlog (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Currently Reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (NGTBR)

Read on Arrival
A Bookmobile Mystery
by Nora Page
Release date May 7, 2019.
This has started nicely.
Source: NetGalley 2018.
This is the last of my 2018 NetGalley picks.
Click on book title for full description.

2. Audio/Smartphone (A2019)
The Hope of Azure Springs

The Hope of Azure Springs
by Rachel Fordham
Narrated By: Coleen Marlo
Unabridged Audiobook
Duration: 8 hours 7 minutes
I will listen to this for my "Spring" title.
Source: Audiobooks Credit April 2019.
Seven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won't be able to do it alone. For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He's determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn't expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart. Debut author Rachel Fordham invites historical romance listeners back to the 1880s and the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.

3. eBook/Kindle (NG2019)
In Darkest Days May Blossom by [Snow, Leila]

In Darkest Days May Blossom
by Leila Snow
I liked the sound of this and chose it as a "May" title.
Source: 2019 NetGalley.
Bruised but not broken, she stood in the mud of the street, wearing nothing but a tattered shift the day Jonathan first saw her. He had watched in mesmerized fascination as the girl swiped a filthy arm across her split lip, squared her shoulders, and raised her chin in defiance of her assailants. But when, by random happenstance she turned her head and her piercing, blue eyes met his regard, Jonathan knew his entire world had tipped on end.
Charlotte had known nothing but adversity and hardship the entirety of her life. Orphaned at a young age and condemned to fend for herself, she learned to trust no one and rely solely upon her own strength. Yet, when she’s cut down in the street for a crime she didn’t commit and Jonathan comes to her rescue, Charlotte is begrudgingly compelled to the realization that perhaps hope and love do exist in this miserable world.
England, at the end of the 18th century, is a land exemplified by firm divisions between the social classes. What is a life of ease and prosperity for some, is an arduous existence for others. Nevertheless, ’tis true that love can bloom in the unlikeliest of places. But when a grievously injured Charlotte is falsely accused of a crime and sent to one of the most infamous prisons in the land, the tender bud of Jonathan and Charlotte’s love is threatened. Jonathan is forced to defy family in a desperate bid to save her from the hangman, whilst conspiracies and betrayal are afoot in a cruel effort to keep them apart.
“Better far thou art, a piece
Of God’s own heaven-born beauty,
Smiling in this wintry time.
Doubtless ’tis thy duty,
Us to teach that love and grace
In darkest days may blossom,
And that a tender bloom of hope
May shine in sorrow’s bosom.”
-J.J. Britton

May 19, 2019 - I got a half day behind and had to catch up this week. I am still enjoying the devotions and readings with the One Year Bible plan through You Version App. I read the three day plan: You Are What You Think. I'll pick another study this week. [You can check out audio of the One Year Bible Plan on the companion commentary online.]

I completed three books and posted three reviews. I continue to be current for review posts.
I have been adding newer reviews to NetGalley, Goodreads, Amazon and Audible.  (Eventually I will add older reviews.)
My NetGalley shelf is now at 15 unread. I am working on the now 6 April titles. [I have 4 5 old titles (2012-13!) that I might get read this year too.]
I still have four author ebook titles in queue.
Still many through InstaFreebie and many new author requests I haven't replied 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 (yours truly). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.
I didn't get any new review books.
I resisted the daily deals this week but picked up one free Audible Original.
I downloaded week 4 titles from SYNC.
I picked up NO free kindle titles. (Note these are in my Amazon library, NOT on my Kindle until I download and transfer them.) Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles



5/17/19 Audible Original
Black Crow, White Snow
by Michael Livingston
Narrated by: Janina Edwards
Length: 2 hrs and 37 mins
Release date: 05-02-19
SYNC Audio 2019 Week 4: May 16 – May 23
SPILL by Leigh Fondakowski, performed by Elisa Bocanegra, Nicholas Hormann, James Morrison, Darren Richardson, and a full cast (L.A. Theatre Works)
MEET THE SKY by McCall Hoyle, narrated by Morgan Fairbanks (Blink)

I added only NO free titles to my Kindle library. Titles found linked through Bookbub, Bookfun, Ereader News Today, Free Par-tay, Ignite Your Book, Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink or Kindle ebooks.

Sunday Words of Encouragement May 19, 2019

Our Sunday School teacher finished his wrap up of 1 Corinthians. Church began with awesome praise and worship. Pastor’s Sermon continued his Life Skills series with “Conflict Resolution”.

A baby has basic life skills but has to learn to eat, burb, pass gas and more with the help of the parents. Marriage skills are learned over time with the couple growing. From the time of being children, to adults, people deal with conflict in a variety of ways: yelling; physical wrestling (fighting); competing; keeping score. Then there is parental (or outside) interference and when mature enough, relational.

Obviously, many have not learned to deal with conflict. The divorce rate is over 50 percent, even in the church. Often people run away instead of resolving a conflict. They run from a job, from a marriage, from a town or community, even from a church.

James 4:1-2 asks ‘What is causing the quarrels among you? You want what you want; if you ask God, you don't ask with right motives.
Conflict occurs when there is distance between expectations and reality.
We are either the victim or the offended.
When we have a conflict situation we can be one of three in our reaction:
1. Peace-breaker
2. Peace-faker
3. Peace-maker
James 3:18 says “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

Resolving conflict is so important that it comes before worship. Matthew 5:23-24.
We are encouraged to live in peace: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18.

To be a peacemaker we have to breathe grace.

Point: We are called to be peacemakers, and peacemakers breathe grace.

Psalm 34:14: seek peace and pursue it.
Make every effort to live in peace … to receive the grace of God and avoid the root of bitterness. Hebrews 12:14-15.
Resolving conflict brings growth and joy. Unresolved conflict brings destruction and bitterness. That is the work of the enemy – not of God.

These are steps to resolving conflict:
  • Define the problem and stick to the issue. Don't generalize, keep to a narrow, specific issue.
  • Pursue purity of heart. Seek God's input.
  • Plan a time to meet.
  • Affirm that the relationship is more important than the conflict.
  • Listen, and listen some more.
  • Forgive.
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Forgiveness says:
  • I won't bring it up again.
  • I won't dwell on it in my heart or mind.
  • I won't talk about it with others.
  • I won't let the issue stand between us.

Resolve your conflict; take care of it. Resolve it soon.
Commit to: When conflict arises take on the role of a peacemaker.

I found this song for today:
Verses for Today:
James 4:1-3 (NIV)
Submit Yourselves to God
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Lord, I pray that you help me be a peacemaker when there is conflict to be resolved.

Related image

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sharing Beyond Books #369 Comment Giveaway May 18, 2019

Hello again and Welcome back to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.
Three of the commenters don't really have favorite heroine/hero types and another says it varies based on genre. Three mentioned intelligence (smart), two mentioned confident and witty and two mentioned animal lovers. Other characteristics ranged from demure to not crying for females and strong & silent to strong personalities for the men. Also sassy, good-natured and bad boy types.

The Winner from SBB #368 comments is: #11 KIMBERLY who can make a GC choice if international or book choice from the Updated (**Finally!) ARC/Review titles or (recently updated) Love and Christmas titles - all linked near the end of the post. -- [12/15/18 I am pulling out some new Christmas and Love titles to add to the Win box choices. I had to move the books due to the water threat in office. I will dig them out again soon.]

**NOTE: I did post an Updated ARC and Other books for Giveaways. I have to go back and list the titles -- someday.
Please let me know your choice by completing the WINNER FORM.

WEEK #369
(Two Question.)

Elizabeth asks: Who is your favorite Games of Thrones character (from the TV show and/or the book series)?? I'll add a question: If you haven't read or watched Game of Thrones do you think you will??
There are definitely some intriguing characters. I do like Arya, especially as the "No One" assassin. I do think my favorite character, even if not the most interesting, is Jon Snow. And the best villain, at least until last week, was Cersie. Although if I think back there actually were some horrendous, evil, characters like Ramsey Bolten.

Image found at Fansided.

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! The supply of questions is dwindling so share some if you think of any -- even if they are duplicates I'll weed through or try to modify.
May comments were shared by Emily and Elizabeth. They both get the first 1/2 credit towards a book pick.

Your turn to share. Elizabeth asks: Who is your favorite Games of Thrones character (from the TV show and/or the book series)?? I'll add a question: If you haven't read or watched Game of Thrones do you think you will??

SBB Comment Winners can choose a selection from the Updated ARC and Other books, including the "Love" and Christmas titles all in one post.

SBB Rules:
a) Must be a follower.
b) Share a comment on the question 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 June 1, 2019 at 5 PM central.

Audible Book Review: Storm Cursed, Mercy Thompson Novel Series, Book 11 by Patricia Briggs

This continues the fun Mercy Thompson entertainment with werewolves, vampires and witches…Oh My!
Storm Cursed
Mercy Thompson Novel Series, Book 11
By: Patricia Briggs
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Storm Cursed audiobook cover art
Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 05-07-19
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0 Overall; Story 4.5; Narration 4.75.

Publisher's Summary
In this powerful entry in the number-one New York Times best-selling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves....
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.
And a coyote shape-shifter.
And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.
Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who live in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and interact with the fae.
The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming, and her name is Death.
But we are pack, and we have given our word.
We will die to keep it.
©2019 Patricia Briggs (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Mercy has declared the Tri-City area as a safe place for the fae. The government and the Grey Lords, fae leadership, are seeking to meet to work out some guidelines for normal humans and the fae creatures to live safely beside each other. The meeting is to take place in Mercy’s hometown with Mercy’s mate, Adam, and the werewolf pack members providing security. Considering her unique relationship with the fae, Mercy has been recruited (directed) to participate by arranging a safe location.

While the joint meeting is barely being discussed, Mercy is called upon to help deal with some strange community incidents. Mercy faces a rogue, killer goblin and next she has to deal with zombie miniature goats. Mercy gets help from appropriate allies, like Larry the Goblin King and a new pack member, Sherwood, who brings some surprising skills to bare when faced with black magic. The zombie goats are determined to be the work of an invading witch group.

Mercy and Sherwood go to check on the local witches and discover tragedy and horror. They find one survivor, a nearly dead kitten. Mercy and Ben save Adam and a small group of government officials from a bomb. When a curse attack against Mercy is accidentally discovered at her garage, it becomes clear that the enemy witches, including one called “death”, are not only trying to take control in the community, but they want to block Mercy and the joint meeting. Dangers escalate and Mercy seeks the aid of her fae friends, Zee and Tad, and even the wildly instable vampire, Wolfe, to take on the black witches and the minion zombie army they have created.

This is a series that keeps on providing strong entertainment through strong characters and engaging plots. The relationship between Mercy and the werewolf pack is always interesting. Of course, her bond with her mate Adam is particularly well done. The black magic in this story creates a dark tone with evil and death putting a bit of a damper on Mercy’s usual snappy humor. I enjoyed the cameo touch with Mercy’s family, Coyote and Mercy’s brother. I also liked the unique zombie creatures and the surprise connection that appears during the battle. I wasn’t overwhelmed with this episode, but it maintains the entertainment level of the series for me. I recommend the whole series and suggest starting at the beginning for full enjoyment.

Audio Notes: I’ve probably said it before, but Lorelei King is the gifted narrator for this series. She has unique voices for the characters and brings the right emotion and energy to the story. She even captures the darker mood of this story. It is a pleasure to listen to this series on audio.

Source: March 2019 Audible credit (pre-order). This qualifies for 2019Audiobook goal.


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