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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Book Review: The Evidence (The Mars Hill Classified Series) by Austin W. Boyd

I enjoyed the Christian elements of this story but I think the author lost his point in all the plot lines.
The Evidence (The Mars Hill Classified Series)
by Mr. Austin W Boyd
Series: The Mars Hill Classified Series (Book 1)
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Living Ink Books (July 13, 2012)
ISBN-13: 978-0899578286
Genre: Christian, Fantasy, Sci Fi
My Rating: 3.5 of 5.0

Product Description
As commander John Wells watches from the International Space Station, terrorists cripple Washington. While the world suspects Iranian jihadists, unexplained images from Mars offer a staggering alternative. Caught in a web of politics, John heeds his country's call to head to the Red Planet. Was he born for this moment in history? 448 pages, softcover from Living Ink.

Commander John Wells has felt a Godly call on his life since he was a young boy. He took all the right steps to prepare himself to follow what he believes is God’s directed destiny. John has been a successful naval officer with a bold record that gets the right attention and gets him selected as an astronaut.

John has had an amazing time on the space station, but just as he is looking forward to getting home to his wife and children, his rotation is extended when another crewman needs emergency care. As John waits to get home, a terrorist attack cripples Washington DC. The evidence points to an attack by Iranian jihadists. Meanwhile mysterious images stun the world as evidence of alien life on Mars. One of the bomb investigators doesn’t trust all the clear clues of the attack. Instead he is inclined to agree with John’s alternate theory that something much bigger is going on.

John has to struggle with leaving his wife and children when he is offered the opportunity to fly to Mars to search out the truth of the pictures. Amy has her own life struggles that extend beyond being in the position of a single parent during the long months that John is away. It is not an easy decision and together they must seek God’s will.

The story covers quite a bit – maybe too much. There are multiple characters and multiple events. The primary story centers around John but there are chapters following a mysterious team who has set bombs for an undisclosed purpose. There is another full set of scientists and sci fi fans who are focused on the revelations of man-sized alien spiders on Mars. I enjoyed the Christian elements which are shared in real life situations. Although it isn't clear from this book if the aliens on Mars are real or a hoax, this does raise the question of whether alien life would challenge Christian faith. Unfortunately, it was difficult to determine the real point the author wants to make. This leaves the reader with a choice: continue the series in hopes of making more sense or move on to something that isn't quite so convoluted.

The title “Evidence” naturally catches my legal interest. It can be derived from several threads of the book and leads into the next book in the series which is titled "Proof". A couple of us are tempted to continue to try to figure out what is going on but the majority of the ladies are moving on to other reads. If and when I read book two I may have a better recommendation.

Source: Print books picked up prior to 2017. eBook picked up on sale 2017. This was read for Ladies Book Club. It qualifies for 2018TBR and Alphabet Challenge.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sunday Post November 11, 2018/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday November 12, 2018

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.

The structural engineer hasn't made it to the office yet but the insurance approved rental of temporary space. We will start moving on Monday. It will be good to get back to some regular work.
My husband's pacemaker procedure went well Monday. He has chaffed all week at inactivity. We are eager to see how he will do over the next week.

I passed on the HO HO HO Challenge this year as I feel I have so much to catch up on. However I will be adding Christmas titles to my reading queue the rest of the year.

My listening and reading was good. I am still working off the old Kindle while I figure out how to get the books I want on the Kindle Fire without having to go through my huge library. I thought I had it figured but it isn't working seemlessly. I finished two audio books and one ebook. I posted four reviews on blog and six at Goodreads. I am back to posting my usual memes.

I got to visit 22 blogs last week.
Shout Out this week to Gemma's Book Nook. Gemma is a "bookish nerd" (her description) from UK.
Thank you to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • eTBR- Goodreads Book Review: Haunted by Willow Cross; Ghosts, Supernatural; My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0.
  • eTBR- Goodreads Book Review: Lilah’s Ghost by Deb Logan; Coming of Age, Ghost, Paranormal; My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0.
  • A2018- Goodreads Book Review: Where Wolves Run by Jason Parent; Dark Fantasy, Horror, Short Story; My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0.
  • A2018- Goodreads Book Review: First Death by AD Starling; Sci Fi, Short Story; My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0.
  • NG2018- #NetGalley Book Review: The Rancher's Gift by Dennis Worden and Jeff Dunn; Christian, Inspirational, Religion; my rating: 5.0 of 5.0.
  • eA2018- Book Review: To Thine Be the Glory by Angela D. Martin; Christian, Memoir, Religion; my rating: 3.5 of 5.0.
  • ATBR- Audible Book Review: The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson; Fantasy, Supernatural, Thriller; My Rating: 5.0 of 5.0 Overall, Story and Audio.
  • NG2018- #NetGalley Book Review: Once Upon A Heartbreak by Cassie Rocca; Contemporary Romance, Second Chance; My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0.
Finished Reading:
1. Audible/Smartphone (ATBR)

By: Mercedes Lackey
Narrated by: Amy Landon
Series: Hunter, Book 1

Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
I enjoyed this fantasy enough to pick up book two.
Source: Audible Daily Deal July 2017. 11/1-5.

Click on book title for full description.

2. eBook/Smartphone (NG2018)
Light's Dawn: A Novella (Light in the Darkness) by [Bostic, Yvette]

Light’s Dawn: A Novella (Light in the Darkness)
by Yvette Bostic 
This was an interesting prequel for the series.
Source: NetGalley 10/21- 11/6.
Click on book title for full description.

3. Audible Smartphone (A2018)

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, A Novel
By: Darynda Jones
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Series: Charley Davidson, Book 11
Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
I picked this audio to catch up on the series since I have Book 12 and 13 to read on NetGalley.
Source: Audible Credit November 2018.
Publisher's Summary
Series narrator Lorelei King returns to narrate Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, the latest installment of Darynda Jones' New York Times best-selling paranormal series.
My entire life can be summed up in one sentence: "Well, that didn't go as planned." (T-shirt)
A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, errant wives, missing people, philandering business owners, and, oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people.
As a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. Now Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, will Charley be able to defeat the ultimate evil and find a way to have her happily ever after after all?
©2017 Darynda Jones (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Currently Reading:
1. Audible Smartphone (AB2018)
Elite, Mercedes Lackey

Written By: Mercedes Lackey
Narrated By: Amy Landon
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: September 2016
Duration: 10 hours 12 minutes
I decided to continue this series right away. 
I only have an hour to finish so I may have to pick up book 3 this week. :-)
Source: Credit Purchase November 2018.
Hunting monsters was supposed to be the hard part. When Joy came to Apex City, all she cared about was protecting the Cits from the dangers lurking outside protective barriers. She understood the need for the secrecy surrounding her Hunts-no need to cause a panic by announcing just how real of a threat the Othersiders pose.
But as she quickly discovered, the conspiracies of the city run much deeper. And a dangerous new covert mission leaves Joy with a target on her back once more. Under the orders of her uncle, the city's prefect, Joy begins patrolling the abandoned tunnels and storm sewers under Apex Center. With her large pack of magical hounds, she can fight the monsters breaking through the barriers with the strength of three hunters.
Then she starts finding bodies. Psimons are turning up dead in the bowels of the city with no apparent injury. Reporting the incidents makes Joy the uncomfortable object of PsiCorps' scrutiny, and the organization appears more interested in keeping her quiet than investigating. Joy's situation grows more precarious, and her relationship with her Psimon boyfriend, Josh, begins to fray. Long-held tensions between PsiCorps and the Hunters seem to be reaching a breaking point.
While infighting threatens the stability of Apex City, Othersider forces are gaining strength and momentum outside the borders. Joy desperately seeks answers to figure out who her real enemies are before she and everyone she cares about are locked into an all-out war. "Avoiding second-volume sag with plenty of charisma, this outing proves to be a satisfying read that takes the baton neatly from the first and leaves readers ready for more."-Kirkus Reviews...

2. eBook/Kindle and Smartphone (NG2018)

Kill Shot: A Novel (White Knights Book 2)
by Susan Sleeman
I am 25% in and enjoying this romantic suspense.
Source: 2018 NetGalley. 11/7 - ___.
Suspense and romance combine in Susan Sleeman's thrilling new novel about an FBI agent who must team up with a beautiful therapist to stop a killer with a deadly new weapon.
Some fears haunt you forever....
As the ballistics and weapon's expert for the FBI's special task force nicknamed the White Knights, Rick Cannon has known the Department of Defense was developing self-steering bullets. Rick feared these smart bullets--which have one hundred percent accuracy that can turn even a novice into a lethal sniper--would eventually end up in the hands of the wrong people. But since the ammunition was still in the development stage, he figured they had plenty of time before that happened. He was wrong. Dead wrong.
Until they become reality.
When a homeless vet is killed with a smart bullet, it's clear that the ammunition has been stolen, and the Knights are called in to find the thief and stop the killings. But they aren't the only ones desperate to find the killer. Therapist Olivia Dobbs is well known for her success in counseling military veterans with PTSD. When she discovers one of her clients moments after he is murdered, she becomes both the FBI's prime witness, and suspect.
Despite the mutual attraction that immediately sparks between them, Rick can't--no he won't--let Olivia interfere with his investigation. But when the sniper trains his rifle on her, Rick must recall all the skills he learned as a Marine sniper to make sure the next bullet fired isn't a kill shot that takes Olivia out.

3. eBook/Kindle Fire (TBR)
Christmas at Draycott Abbey (Draycott Abbey Romance)

Christmas at Draycott Abbey (Draycott Abbey Romance)
by Christina Skye
This looks like a fun Christmas story and I haven't read this author in years.
Source: 2012 Free Kindle; "C" title.
As Christmas draws near and darkness veils the haunted English abbey, a tale of loss and love betrayed begins.
As cold closes in, old hatreds spring to life, bringing danger to a vulnerable woman betrayed by those she trusts most. Wounded and lost, Clair Haywood will seek haven within the abbey's ancient granite walls. But her enemies are closer than she knows.
Only one man can save her. And he has been dead for 200 years.

3. eBook/Kindle Fire (TBR)
Cadaver in Chief: A Special Report from the Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse

Cadaver in Chief: A Special Report from the Dawn of the Zombie Apocalypse
by Steve Hockensmith
I haven't progressed on this. I am setting it aside for a "C" Christmas title (above).
Source: Kindle 2012 Freebie. 11/3- ____

November 11, 2018 - I am up to date and enjoying the One Year Bible plan reading through You Version App. Although I am on track on my smartphone I haven' t been steady for each morning and find myself finishing the reading at the end of the day instead of beginning. I need to get back to starting my day with scripture.
I am joining several ladies from church in an additional reading plan starting 11/12: Names of God, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am looking forward to this reading too!
[You can check out audio of the One Year Bible Plan on the companion commentary online.]

I completed three books and posted ten reviews. I still have 15 reviews to post!
Obviously I have all of these reviews to add to Goodreads, Amazon and Audible so I am way behind again. I still have older ones to catch up on too.
My NetGalley shelf is now at 9 as I am reading one and added 2 titles. I still have one author title in queue - I think. 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 added two new review titles through NetGalley.
I picked up One credit; three Audible Credits and two Audible Daily Deals.
I didn't pick up any Kindle paid titles.
I only picked up a one free kindle titles through my phone internet when we were near internet. (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
I picked up this book through NetGalley. These will likely be read in the new year.

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave: A Novel (Charley Davidson Series Book 13)Summoned to Thirteenth Grave: A Novel (Charley Davidson Series Book 13) Jan 15, 2019
by Darynda Jones

I finished book 11 and now have 12 and 13 from NetGalley.

The Last Woman in the Forest

The Last Woman in the Forest Mar 5, 2019
by Diane Les Becquets
This is a crime suspense with rescue dogs.


11/5/2018 Credit Purchase:
By Mercedes Lackey
I wanted to continue this series.

11/5/2018 Audible - Three Credits:
Harden audiobook cover artHarden
Lee Harden, Book 1
By: D.J. Molles
Narrated by: Christian Rummel
Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
Release date: 10-23-18

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight audiobook cover artEleventh Grave in Moonlight
A Novel
By: Darynda Jones
Narrated by: Lorelei King
Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
Release date: 01-24-17

Lone Wolf audiobook cover artLone Wolf
F.B.I. K-9, Book 1
By: Sara Driscoll
Narrated by: Angela Dawe
Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
Release date: 11-29-16

11/6/2018 Daily Deal $3.95:
I Am Number Four audiobook cover artI Am Number Four
By: Pittacus Lore
Narrated by: Neil Kaplan
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Release date: 08-03-10

11/11/18 Daily Deal $3.95
The Retreat audiobook cover artThe Retreat
By: Mark Edwards
Narrated by: Simon Mattacks
Length: 9 hrs and 24 mins
Release date: 05-10-18

There are six new Audible Originals offered for November and I have to narrow down my choice from four that I like.

I added just 1 free title to my Kindle library over the past weeks. 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 November 11, 2018

We had another good Sunday School and Service today. Our SS teacher’s lesson was on 1 Corinthians 3:1-11 noting that each minister does that work that is given to him. God chose Saul to be the one who would be the one to lay the solid foundation. God equipped Paul. Galatians 1:11-19. Never focus on one person, teacher or leader but rather study and make sure that the message is consistent with the Word of the Lord, the Bible. The foundation is the simple Good News: you need Jesus. Others may build on that message with various materials, some good and some not good and someday the lessons will be subject to inspection (v18-23). Be careful to discern the truth by relying on the Word and remembering the foundation: Jesus is the way to eternal life. Galatians 1:6-10

Pastor’s message was titled “Dealing With Expectations” based on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9.
We want to be dependable but we don't always succeed. We all have expectations of others, We expect quality services, careful driving, fulfillment of commitments. Often we fail to communicate our expectations and often they are unrealistic. We expect others to meet our expectations but that is unrealistic. Most miss the mark. Unfulfilled expectations result in conflicts.

God is the only one who is faithful 100 percent of the time. But sometimes we wonder if He is truly faithful.

If we become unsure or confused, we seek security. Paul reminds us of our secure relationship in Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. God reached out to save and sanctify you. v2. God has equipped you with specific gifts for specific purpose. v4. You've been customized!

Point: God is faithful. He is unwavering, unshakable and totally faithful.

He called us into fellowship with His son, Jesus Christ. Our belief in Christ creates a relationship with Kinship. It is a constant. We can rely on Him. He is faithful:
Faithful to love us. Psalm 36:5.
Faithful to be with us. 1 Corinthians 3:16.
Faithful to forgive. 1 John 1:9.
Faithful to save. Hebrews 5:7-9.
Faithful to His Word. Psalm 33:4; Psalm 89:1-5. Colossians 3:16; John 17:14-17.
We can trust Him through it all.
Don't be too independent!

I found this song that is new to me but perfect for this message! God is Faithful!
Verses for Today:
Psalm 36:5 (NIV)
5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

I give THANKS to God that I have the assurance of HIS Faithful promises. He has saved me; he provides for me; He protects me; He gives me wisdom; He comforts me; He calls me His own child. I am blessed through His Grace. He will see me through the storms of life.

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Saturday, November 10, 2018

#NetGalley Book Review: Once Upon A Heartbreak by Cassie Rocca

This is a cute second chance romance although a little annoying at times.
Once Upon a Heartbreak
by Cassie Rocca
File Size: 2432 KB
Print Length: 243 pages
Publisher: Aria (May 1, 2018)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Second Chance
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Is true love really out there? A hilarious, heartwarming romance: perfect for the fans of Jo Watson, Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.
Liberty Allen used to be a hopeless romantic, that is, until Zack Sullivan unwittingly broke her teenage heart.
Fifteen years later, Liberty has her life together in New York City, running a successful business and engaged to be married in just a matter of months. But something just seems to be missing...
All of a sudden, Liberty runs into Zack out the blue, forcing her to question everything she thought she knew about her life, her happiness, and even her feelings on true love...

Liberty was an overweight 15-year-old when she met Zack, a 17-year-old who was more interested in baking than partying and girls. Both suffered through teen mocking and bullying so it isn’t surprising that they developed a friendship with Liberty being the tester for many of Zack’s baking projects. An event caused Liberty to feel humiliated and abandoned by Zack. Liberty moved away the next day, changing her life to discipline herself to not eat sweets and to exercise rigorously in order to achieve and maintain an attractive body image. Liberty also disciplined herself to close her heart to true emotions and settle instead for rational emotional responses.

Fifteen years later Liberty is engaged to be married to her unemotional, lawyer boyfriend whom she has dated for several years. His sister is getting married and he asked Liberty to marry him and have a double wedding. The wedding is still several months away when they agree to visit Cape May with Liberty’s employees. Liberty is thrown for a loop when she discovers their host is none other than Zack.

Zack, now a single dad of a five-year-old daughter, is thrilled! He is awed at how beautiful Liberty is but he is dismayed that she tries to avoid him and won’t eat the meals and desserts he has prepared. He realizes she has lost the sparkle he cared for so many years before. Liberty tries to hold onto her anger from the loss of her first teenage crush but part of her wonders if Zack could really care for her as she is. Can Zack convince Liberty that he truly does care for her before she walks down the aisle to a ‘comfortable’ but uninspired marriage?

It was frustrating and sad to read Liberty’s lack of confidence and the extremes she took to change her nature. Zack and his daughter are lovely characters and Liberty’s friends are nice additions with their own romances. I found the ending a bit strange as it veered to cover the romances of Liberty’s friends in addition to her own romance. I didn't realize that this is the third story and the other romances were wrapped up here.

I found the story an easy read, and mostly fun if you can get beyond Liberty’s insecurities. I recommend this to readers who enjoy second chance romances.

Source: NetGalley 2018. This qualifies for NetGalley Challenge.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Audible Book Review: The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson

This is wonderfully well written and creative story telling.
The Emperor's Soul
By: Brandon Sanderson
Narrated by: Angela Lin

Length: 3 hrs and 55 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 11-02-12
Language: English
Publisher: Recorded Books
Genre: Fantasy, Supernatural, Thriller
My Rating: 5.0 0f 5.0 Story and Audio.

Publisher's Summary
When Shai is caught replacing the Moon Scepter with her nearly flawless forgery, she must bargain for her life. An assassin has left the Emperor Ashravan without consciousness, a circumstance concealed only by the death of his wife. If the emperor does not emerge after his hundred-day mourning period, the rule of the Heritage Faction will be forfeit and the empire will fall into chaos.
Shai is given an impossible task: to create—to Forge—a new soul for the emperor in less than one hundred days. But her soul-Forgery is considered an abomination by her captors. She is confined to a tiny, dirty chamber, guarded by a man who hates her, spied upon by politicians, and trapped behind a door sealed in her own blood. Shai's only possible ally is the emperor's most loyal counselor, Gaotona, who struggles to understand her true talent.
Time is running out for Shai. Forging, while deducing the motivations of her captors, she needs a perfect plan to escape...
©2012 Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC (P)2012 Recorded Books

Shai is a magical “forger” using mediums and soul stamps to forge art, both small and large. If she knows the make-up elements of her subject she is able to recreate it. She is caught as a result of a betrayal. On the eve of her scheduled execution the official arbiters, offer Shai a deal if she will forge a new soul for the secretly comatose Emperor. Although her Soul-Forgery skill is considered an abomination, the arbiters are willing to use it to help them retain their positions of power.

Shai agrees to the project which would allow her freedom… and life. She is ever the opportunist. The arbiters are cautious about her skills as several believe that she is skilled enough to change even the fabric of her cell to make an escape. They go to great lengths to secure her. Shai does plan to forge an escape but she is under constant watch. She is supervised by Gaotona, a man who respects the quality of her skills but disdains her use of them for forgery – not recognizing her form of art.

Shai is offered secret deals by a power-hungry arbiter. She fears that even if she accepts the offer the woman will have her killed before letting her go free. It may take all of Shai’s excellent skills to fashion a way out of her situation and she has a limited amount of time and resources.

This story is wonderfully creative, imaginatively plotted, beautifully written and executed. I kept seeking times to listen as I was fascinated by Shai’s mind maneuvering and the rapport she builds with Gaotona. The story is full even though it is short. By the end my thoughts were “author Brandon Sanderson is an artist”. I recommend this to readers who enjoy a skillfully crafted mystery and fantasy.

Audio Notes: Angela Lin is a narrator who is new to me. Her voice captured the character of Shai and the twisting nuances of the story. The narration enhanced an already excellent work. I would be glad to listen to other books she has narrated.

Source: Audible March, 2017 Daily Deal $1.95 (a bargain). This qualifies for 2018TBR and Audio Challenge.


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