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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review: Sky Zone: A Novel (The Crittendon Files) by Creston Mapes

This is an action packed thriller with a lead character whose faith is real and tested. 
Sky Zone: A Novel (The Crittendon Files)
by Creston Mapes
  • File Size: 3223 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2014)
Genre: Thriller, Christian Fiction
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: June 1, 2014
A rally for a controversial presidential candidate.
A terrorist threat.
A nightmare of cataclysmic proportions.

Jack and Pamela Crittendon have hit the breaking point. After months out of work as a reporter, Jack is playing Mr. Mom and working part-time at Festival Arena with his survivalist friend Brian Shakespeare. Meanwhile, Pamela has gone back to work full-time while eight months pregnant. Having her recently widowed mother on hand isn't making matters any easier.
With financial pressures boiling, Jack reports for duty at a rally for controversial presidential candidate Martin Sterling where he expects a mindless night on the job. But when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack and Shakespeare are thrust into a life-or-death battle to save their own lives--and the lives of thousands of innocent people.

This third book in The Crittendon Files reminds us of the power of family, friendships and faith--and why we are never in as much control as we think.

Jack Crittendon lost his job as a news reporter and is struggling.  Jack’s friend, Brian Shakespeare, an obsessive survivalist, helped Jack get a part time job as extra security at the local event Arena. Jack’s wife, Pamela, has had to go back to work full time even though she is eight months pregnant. Her mother, Margaret, a recent widow is living with them and beginning to show signs of memory loss and confusion.

Jack has interviewed for a news position that is scheduled to open up if Martin Sterling does well in early polls. Sterling is a presidential candidate who is running on a controversial platform to restrict activities of all Muslims as potential terrorists. Sterling is scheduled to appear at a rally at the Arena and a popular rock musician turned Christian evangelist, Everett Lester, is appearing too.

Homeland Security announces a terrorist threat to the rally function but Sterling refuses to cancel the event. The Arena managers are poorly prepared to deal with the threat and call in a small team of experts as well as local authority. Shakespeare is convinced they have already missed clues as first one Arena guard, then a second disappears. Although the experts waiver, Shakespeare is sure that the terrorists are already in the building hiding in the upper levels known as the Sky Zone. Shakespeare has a weapon stash in his car that he retrieves in order to help protect the Arena guards, Sterling and Lester.

They tried to keep the fans out of the Arena but a couple thousand got in when doors were accidentally open. Shakespeare helps some people escape but among those who get trapped inside with the terrorists are Pam and Margaret. Pam goes into early labor while the terrorists kidnap Sterling and Lester.

There is plenty of excitement in this thriller as well as close character involvement. I did guess some aspects of the terrorist attack but it was fun reading how the truth was revealed. I enjoyed how the author portrays Jack’s true-to-life struggles with his circumstances even as he tries to understand how God is allowing these difficult things to happen out of Jack's control. Jack and Pam must cope with the possibility of health problems with their baby. Jack faces true temptation when doing the “right thing” will likely result in him not getting the news job he wants so badly.

The writing is direct and after a bit of a slow start the story reads at a good pace. This is apparently a third book in a series but I was able to enjoy it as a stand alone. I recommend this to readers who enjoy a thriller that presents Godly faith in the lives of the characters.

I received this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Priceless by Christina Dodd

One of my favorite, collectible authors delivers a 'priceless romance'.
by Christina Dodd

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006104153X
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • My Rating: 4.75 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: March 17, 2009
Headstrong and adventurous, Bronwyn Edana regularly stuns polite society with her reckless exploits. But there is one type of exploit the fiery beauty has never experienced. Still innocent when it comes to men and their roguish ways, she can barely believe the breathless desire she has begun to feel for Adam Keane, a distinguished nobleman and a man with more than his fair share of liaisons in his past . . .
Now branded by a haunting tragedy, Adam will not rest until he lures Bronwyn to his bed. When a shocking conspiracy threatens their lives, he'll bring her from the dangerous streets of London to the sweeping countryside—for he has seen enough of the world to know that a passion like theirs is priceless.

Bronwyn is one of the reknowned Edana sisters, but being short, full and blonde, she has always felt clumsy and drab next to her tall, sleek, black haired, stunning sisters. Bronwyn favors scholarly pursuits rather than the “social graces” of needlepoint, music and dance. Bronwyn’s charming, spendthrift father has arranged a marriage to exchange Bronwyn, as an 'Edana bride', for funds to refill his pockets.

Adam Keane is a handsome nobleman who is determined to restore his family reputation. Adam’s father was hanged as a counterfeiter leaving his mother struggling to stay out of the poor house. Adam has worked hard and made smart investments building his wealth. Now he believes a high born bride will help secure his re-entry into society.

Initially Adam is disappointed to meet his fiance who looks like a brown wren wrapped in over-sized clothes and an ugly wig. He is soon pleasantly surprised by her staunch spirit, the sparkle in her eyes and the curves he discovers under her ill-fitting clothes. He is even impressed by her intelligence although he sarcastically belittles that by a comment that Bronwyn overhears.

Bronwyn runs off to stay with a friend who maintains a scientific salon. Madame Rachelle helps Bronwyn uncover her own beauty and she becomes the mysterious, seductive ‘Cherie’. Another young lady is jealous and reveals Bronwyn’s true identity to an enemy who has reason to fear Bronwyn may know his secrets.

Adam has been asked to spy out a plot involving the South Seas Trading Company. He is distracted trying to find Bronwyn and when he locates her he is set to win her in his bed and in his life. Their relationship grows but there are difficulties. Bronwyn’s parents replaced Bronwyn’s more timid younger sister, Olivia, as the promised bride. Adam can’t cry off the wedding without ruining all of their reputations. Even worse, Adam’s reputation is already being muddied by an enemy who has framed Adam as a man passing forged stock certificates.

I loved Bronwyn’s strong, independent character and her transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan. I also liked Adam’s fierce integrity and the vulnerabilities he hides behind his brooding countenance. I found the plot wonderfully engaging with the romantic tension, the dangerous stock conspiracy and a strikingly ugly, bitter and vengeful villain. Several of the other characters add to the story too, including Bronwyn’s parents and Adam’s irrepressible mother, Mab.

The reading was smooth and fast paced. I was surprised by the range of ratings for the book at Amazon. It appears that readers either were captivated, like me, or found the book totally lacking. This is one of Dodd’s earlier works so the romance is sensual and not steamy which suits me fine. This reminded me why Christina Dodd is a favorite author of mine and why I collect her titles.
Early reactions to each other:
For the first time since she'd lived in his house, he smiled. He smiled at her. Her breath caught. She froze. The man she'd thought of as severe, austere, a maiden's vampire fantasy, transformed himself into a wicked highway-man, waiting to rob her of her good sense. Their eyes locked. Page 61.
Yet he'd never imagined a woman like Bronwyn. From the first moment they'd met, she'd upended his expectations. She'd broadsided him with surprises, and he feared he wasn't the ice man he had previously believed. His mother claimed he wasn't cold, that he wore a mask, and he'd denied it vigorously. Page 109.
I picked this title from one of my collections.
I can't bring myself to part with my 1992 print paperback so I am going to share an eBook copy.
Kindle, Nook or ebook versions available at Google (priced at or below $6.00)

(Don't forget to fill in the form for entry!
I have noticed a few commenters who forgot to enter through the Form.)
For 3 Extra Bonus entries comment on the review, OR
visit THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE and tell me something you like/learned there.

* This contest is open Worldwide for ebook.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) August 9, 2014.
WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED after August 9, 2014.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.

Monday, July 28, 2014

July Giveaway Winners: Heading Home, Judgment in Death Audio, Falling to Pieces and Sunshine Comment


Giveaway Ended July 22, 2014

Comment Giveaway - book choice or Sunshine by Janet Spaeth.
WINNER: MARY P - Word Choice "Winter"
I have about 25 Kindle titles with the word Winter (or author Winter) of which I have only read one.
I plan to read one within the next two weeks and then host another Giveaway. When I select the title to read, Mary will get to choose as her prize between an ebook of that book I select OR the print of Sunshine.


Giveaway Ended July 20, 2014

(Print) Giveaway: Falling to Pieces Shipshewana Amish Mystery Series #1 



Giveaway Ended July 12, 2014

Audio GiveawayJudgment in Death 



Print Giveaway Heading Home 


ALL WINNERS: Please fill in the Winner's Acceptance Form AND if you want you can email me at mesreads AT to confirm the win and I will arrange the mailing or notify the publishers.
[I ask that all winner's fill in the form as it helps me keep track of when I have completed the mail outs or notice to the publishers rather than tracking individual emails. But of course -- feel free to email me too! :-)]

BookBlast Giveaway: Son of War, Daughter of Chaos Giveaway $50.00 GC

Son of War, Daughter of Chaos

Aislynn is accustomed to watching for the enemy. Her parents instructed her from the time she was young to look for the signs: people with greater than normal strength, eyes that can glow green, and have the ability to jump long distances. Over the years, Aislynn has come to view her parents’ fears as quirks—things that get in the way of having a normal high school life.

When Aislynn’s mother dies under suspicious conditions, her father doubles his restrictions. But all his precautions can’t stop the boy with glowing green eyes from finding Aislynn. She realizes too late she’s been drafted into an ancient Egyptian war, whether she’s prepared or not.

Janette RallisonAuthor Janette Rallison
Janette Rallison is old. Don’t ask how old, because it isn’t polite. Let’s just say she’s older than she’d like to be and leave it at that.

Janette lives in Chandler, Arizona with her husband, five children and enough cats to classify her as “an eccentric cat lady.” She did not do this on purpose. (The cats, that is; she had the children on purpose.) Every single one of the felines showed up on its own and refuses to leave. Not even the family’s fearless little Westie dog can drive them off.

Since Janette has five children and deadlines to write books, she doesn’t have much time left over for hobbies. But since this is the internet and you can’t actually check up to see if anything on this site is true, let’s just say she enjoys dancing, scuba diving, horse back riding and long talks with Orlando Bloom. (Well, I never said he answers back.)

book blast button

Blast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 8/17/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mailbox Monday July 28, 2014

Welcome to Mailbox Monday.
Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.  This Meme started with Marcia at A Girl and Her Books (fka The Printed Page) and after a tour of hosts has returned to its permanent home at Mailbox Monday.
Thanks to the ladies sharing hosting duties: Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach.
Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

I have no new review books but I downloaded the two free SYNC audios and purchased a few Kindle titles. I also downloaded many free kindle titles.
By the way - Here is a free Kindle title for a book I reviewed early this year:
The Wanderers, is available as an ebook for free for two days!  The offer only runs from July 27-28, so download a copy today--and tell a friend so they can get one too!
(I still have many author requests to consider and reply to.)

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles


I purchased Of Triton as the second in the series before I review the third book on audio.

Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy)
Anna Banks
Kindle Edition
Sold by: Macmillan

I purchased several Kindle titles at .99 cent. I know it doesn't make sense when I download so many free but every now and then these catch my attention. Since I don't eat lunch out I spend my lunch money on books. :-)

A Candle in the Window
Jillian Hart
Kindle Edition
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Once Upon A Time (The Fairies of Rush)
Maggie Shayne
Kindle Edition
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

The Holiday Brides Collection (Books 1 - 4)
(Holiday Brides Series Book 6)
Ginny Baird
Kindle Edition
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.


I got this week's duo from SYNC YA  where we go "Inside the Mind":

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Stark, skillfully woven, this fascinating novel explores the curious turnings of human character through the strange case of Dr. Jekyll, a kindly scientist who by night takes on his stunted, evil self, Mr. Hyde

by Patrick Link
In the wake of increasing concern over brain trauma in professional athletes, Patrick Link has crafted a story about a retired NFL linebacker who must deal with a family tragedy and his own suffering because of the violence of his chosen sport.

Plus I downloaded another 60 or so free Kindle titles. Titles found linked through Bookbub, Bookfun, Ereader News Today, Free Par-tay, Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink or Kindle ebooks.

It's Monday! What are You Reading? July 28, 2014

This meme starts at Book Journey!

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

It was a good work week - not quite so exhausting. 
Attended an unexpected funeral on Saturday so only half the day was work.

Reading and listening was good but a bit slow.  I finished two books and am mid-way+ in one. I posted three reviews, one with comment giveaway plus a Christmas Hop Giveaway.  I also posted the usual memes. :-)

I visited some early in the week, although not as much as I would like to.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • Book Review and Giveaway: Every Time I Love You by Heather Graham; Contemporary Romance with historical elements; my rating 4.0.  Open US. Ends 8/2/14.
  • Book Review: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie; Fantasy Adventure; my rating 4.25.  
Finished Reading:
1. eBook/Kindle

Sky Zone: A Novel (The Crittendon Files)
by Creston Mapes
This is an exciting Christian thriller. 
I guessed the twist well before the end but it is still engaging.
I'll post a review this week.
Click on book title for full description.

2. Audio

Lightning Fall, A Novel of Disaster
Author: Bill Quick
Narrator: Johnny Heller
Another exciting listen which covers lots of post EMP scenarios. I'll post a review this week.
Click on book title for full description.

eTreasures Publishing New Release:
Re-release updated version:
The Long Hour Before Light
by Ronald Joseph Scala
Dare to venture into darkness. Dare to step into the unknown. If you have the courage, you will find horrors beyond your imagination. 

In this nightmare world, you will find punishment doled out from the grave, an art gallery whose painted horrors call out to you, and a portal to the fires of perdition. 

You will meet Old Gods who crave human flesh and visit terrifying forests where the greenery hungers for flesh and blood and an old barn where people familiar to you by day become monsters at night.  

Dare to read The Long Hour Before Light, a collection of the most terrifying short stories yet from author Ronald Joseph Scala.
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Thriller
Pages:  245, Anthology

Two print releases going through final adjustments before we link them up at the website.
Two more ebooks still out for galley proofs.

Currently reading:
1. Print

The Lady's Maid (Prairie Dreams)
by Susan Page Davis

I am half way through and enjoying this easy historical.
This is for Ladies Book Club for 8/2/14.
Click on book title for full description.

2. eBook/Kindle

The Freezer (The Tanner Sequence)
by Timothy S. Johnston.

This is starting out with sharp, intense mystery.
Book Description
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
A Tanner Sequence Novel
2402 AD
CCF homicide investigator Kyle Tanner and his girlfriend are on their way to Pluto, en route to a new life together. Just one little death to check out in the asteroid belt first. But when you're as tangled up in conspiracy as Tanner is, a few hours on a case can change your life. Or end it.

The mystery is a strange one—one man dead, a cryptic message his dying breath. Still, Tanner's ready to wrap it up until another gruesome murder shakes him to his core. The discovery of a microscopic bomb near his own heart offers the first faint clue, but the clock is ticking. He has four days….

A desperate search for answers takes Tanner to The Freezer, an isolated facility on one of Jupiter's moons. With anti-CCF dissidents targeting the facility, a team of scientists conducting experiments the military would rather remain hidden, and a mysterious man in white hunting him on the ice, Tanner will have to choose his allies carefully. Putting his faith in the wrong person will leave him bleeding out in seconds.

3. Audible/MP

Sixth Grave on the Edge: Charley Davidson,
Book 6
Written by: Darynda Jones
Narrated by: Lorelei King
I downloaded this to enjoy.
Publisher's Summary
Sometimes I wrestle my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle. (Bumper Sticker)
Most girls might think twice before getting engaged to someone like Reyes Farrow - but Charley Davidson is not most girls. She’s a paranormal private eye and grim-reaper-in-training who’s known to be a bit of a hell-raiser, especially after a few shots of caffeine. Her beloved Reyes may be the only begotten son of evil, but he’s dark and sultry and deeply sexy and everything Charley could hope for. Really. But when the FBI file on Reyes’ childhood happens to land into her lap, she can’t help herself: She opens it...and then the real fun begins. First, Charley finds a naked corpse riding shotgun in her car. Then, a man loses his soul in a card game. Throw in a deaf boy who sees dead people, a woman running from mobsters, and a very suspicious Reyes, and things can’t get any worse for Charley. Unless, of course, the 12 Beasts of Hell are unleashed.
©2014 Darynda Jones (P)2014 Macmillan Audio

4. Print

Romance Rides the Range (Truly Yours Digital Editions)
Colleen L. Reece

Just started this as it is the second book for Ladies' Book Club meeting 8/2. Book Description
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
Sarah doesn’t dare look back . . .
Sarah Anderson refuses to become a drudge for her stepfather and his unruly children after her mother dies in 1882. Neither will she become a pawn for his indebtedness to a riverboat gambler. Sarah escapes from her Missouri home and heads for California to find her brother Seth, trusting God to keep her safe on the perilous journey west.
Matt Sterling rescued Seth from danger and taught him to become a top hand on the Sterling ranch near Madera. Betrayed by one selfish girl, Matt has vowed the San Joaquin River will run dry before he ever gets involved with another woman. He’s better off fighting cattle rustlers, floods and drought to make his spread one of the finest in the valley.

Is love's long lasso strong enough to overcome obstacles and rope in the runaway girl and the once-bitten, twice-shy rancher?

I am up to date on my daily Bible reading.
I have disciplined myself each morning to read my Bible passage before I pick up print, Kindle or mp3. I am really enjoying the reading.

Line Edits:
We are still finalizing formatting for four ebook re-releases, two fiction and two non-fiction. We are also working on releasing several novels in print.

I still have some books carried forward. It doesn't look too good for getting my own TBRs this month. Ah well.
I completed three reviews and have two new ones. That puts me with three for this week. 

July Scheduled - completed.

NetGalley - May Picks to be read in June/July:
Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve, Illustrated by Sarah McIntyre
SEAL Team Six: Hunt the Wolf by Don Mann A SEAL Team Six Novel (Mulholland Books)
Neverhome by Laird Hunt (Little, Brown and Company) 
The Night Visitor by Dianne Emley (Random House)

The Freezer (The Tanner Sequence) by Timothy S. Johnston (reading)

From Story Bundle -  I am enjoying the romance bundle and so glad I got these.  There are several other Bundles available now.
Huntress For Hire by Terry Spear
Peter's Christmas by M. L. Buchman
The Death of Davy Moss by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Shades of Moonlight by Karen L. McKee

Still many requests to field and reply to.

AudioBook Jukebox
Of Neptune: Syrena Legacy, Book 3 by Anna Banks

Post Hypnotic Press
I have several more audiobooks from this publisher that I will be reviewing.

From TBR Collection - Sunshine; Priceless
Won Book - TBD
Free Kindle/Nook or Smashwords - TBD

Sunday Words of Encouragement July 27, 2014

This was an interesting morning of messages. Sunday school, praise and worship songs and Pastors message were all consistent on a theme. Our Sunday school teacher shared a video of a sermon by David Platt. ‘We don't respond to God’s radical call because it's easy, but because He is worthy of our trust, our plans and dreams, and our affections.’ We need to recognize the true power of God/Jesus and not make Him a washed out version that fits our self-centered needs. He is majestic and all sufficient. He is enough. We need to trust Him with our lives.

Pastor’s message was on The Power of God. He told of a jewelry sales clerk who rebuked a would be thief by demanding that he leave 'in the name of Jesus'. We have faith but does our unbelief or our lack of trust block our way of receiving all His promises, all the blessings He has for us? Do we look at our circumstances and rely on our own resources instead of looking at His power and relying on His promises? If we say we believe Him then we need to trust Him with our lives.
Romans 4:20-24; Hebrews 3:12- 14 (and see through 19); Mark 4: 19, 22-24 and Matthew 13: 11-15, 58.

I was looking for a video with our choir song but didn't find one.
Instead I found this which I think fits well with the message today.
By Faith by Keith & Kristyn Getty
Verses for Today:
Hebrews 3:12- 14  (NIV)
12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.

I have faith, Lord; help thou my unbelief and make me obedient, at all times and in all things, to Your will.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sharing Beyond Books #161 Comment Giveaway July 26, 2014

Hello again on Saturday night and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!
I feel a little more rested this week though the week was still busy.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.
There was a good split but coffee just edged out tea: eight to seven with five that like both and drink either tea or coffee depending on the situation. The tea drinkers were split between hot and iced. And it was funny that a few liked the smell of coffee but prefer tea.

The Winner from SBB #160 comments is: #9 SueF who can make a GC choice if international or book choice from the ARC/Review titles, Christmas titles or Love titles - all linked near the end of the post.  Please let me know your choice by completing the (new) WINNER FORM.

WEEK #161 (One Question.)

Q1. Miki asks: Have you already attended a book convention? What would you be ready to do to attend one???
A: The first book convention I attended was in May 2009. I drove four hours to Orlando just to attend the RWA bookfair. It was fun and I should have gotten more pictures. Since then I have attended two EPICon conferences - one in San Antonio and another in Portland. They are great fun. I enjoy meeting authors and publishers and I have learned a lot. I'm looking forward to March 2015 in San Antonio again. One of these years I hope to attend the BEA Conference.
Author Deirdre Knight on right (seated) and me. (I initially had us reversed.)
Not the best of photos but this was taken at the RWA book fair May 2009.

Thanks to those who are sending in Questions. DON'T BE SHY! Surely everyone has a Q or two you'd like to ask. Input suggestions in this Suggested Question Form. At the end of each month I draw from the suggestions I used during the month and that person will get a book choice or GC. I thank everyone for submitting questions. Thanks for sending in questions! We still have a supply of questions but from the same people so hopefully others will send more in -- even if they are duplicates I'll weed through or try to modify to use.
The four contributors for July were: Nikki, MaryP, Margaret and Miki. Random pick is: #3 Margaret.

Your turn to share:

Q1. Miki asks: Have you already attended a book convention? What would you be ready to do to attend one??

SBB Comment Winners can choose a selection from the Valentine and "Love" books, the Christmas Giveaway Books (this is the new link), or the June 2013 Newly Updated ARC/Review List.

SBB Rules:
a) Must be a follower.
b) Share a comment on either of the two questions above.
Open internationally and an international winner may get a smaller book or a $5.00 GC if I decide the mailing is too much.

I will pick a Comment winner from all comments made through Saturday August 2, 2014 at 5 PM  central.

Book Review: Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

This is a engaging, fast paced fantasy with good twists.
Half a King
by Joe Abercrombie
  • File Size: 1770 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0804178321
  • Publisher: Del Rey (July 15, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
“A fast-paced tale of betrayal and revenge that grabbed me from page 1 and refused to let go.”—George R. R. Martin
“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds that his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

Prince Yarvi is a younger son and not expected to become the King. He was born with a deformity and has always been a disappointment to his father, brother and those who value the warrior brawn over brain. Only his mother, his uncle and his tutor, Mother Gundring have shown love and encouragement. Yarvi has trained to become a minister but right before he is to test as a noble scholar his father and brother are ambushed. Yarvi is troubled to become King (or half a King as many consider him) but, with the encouragement of his Uncle, he accepts. As one of his first acts he vows vengeance on those who murdered his father.

Yarvi and a small army go to face the alleged enemy. Although they didn’t find the leader of the clan, his men slaughtered many innocent villagers. As they were returning to their ship to go home Prince Yarvi meets betrayal and is left for dead in the carnage. Unexpectedly he lives and falls into the hands of his enemy. He can’t tell them who he truly is so he claims to be a ship’s cook and he is sold to a slaver.

Yarvi ends up as an oarsman with other slaves. His companions help him to learn to do one stroke at a time. Yarvi struggles to row, managing to grow muscles and strength as he plots escape and reclaiming his throne.

Yarvi’s learning comes in handy and he gains a promotion to supply officer. He manages better than his predecessor and provides better food and conditions for the other slaves who appreciate his efforts. Eventually Yarvi and some of his friends escape. Of course they face more hardships as they try to stay ahead of the ship’s Captain who pursues. Yarvi finally reveals his identity and a group of his friends agree to help him sneak into the castle to capture the false king. Clues picked up along the way reveal how extended the betrayal was and, before the band faces the impostor king, there are more secrets and twists to surprise everyone and to challenge Yarvi once again.

Yarvi is not the usual handsome, strong hero. Instead he is a deformed, weak, scholarly nerd who is scorned in his society of warriors. But Yarvi is shrewd and remembers the wisdom shared by his teacher. His friends are a wonderful mix of characters who have suffered through hardships and share different talents for the obstacles they face. I enjoyed the characters, the fast paced adventure and was pleased with the twists at the end. I recommend this to those who enjoy engaging fantasy.

I received this from Del Rey through NetGalley.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway July 25, 2014

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

I don't quite know how these weeks keep going by so fast. This week was another busy and good one; not too stressful.
I'll start pulling together another box of books for next week. 

[UPDATED NOTE - US entrants I prefer, please, that you pick a book as that is the first purpose of this giveaway - to find new homes for books. The GCs are for the international entrants because postage has jumped up.]

Thank you to all who entered the July 18 Pick. There were Four! automatic wins this week.  (Automatic winners are those who requested the book four times and I did not note other people asking for that book during those weeks.) There was one title blocked which was won through the block.
Rita gets Full Bloom
bn100 gets Tangled Lives
Alyn gets Desperate Alliances
Anita gets Hearts are Wild

to picked Winners from July 18 Pick:
MaryP gets a GC
Faith Hope & Cherrytea gets The Secret Life of Bees

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.}
The picture first caught my eye then "law school" caught my attention. :-)
Image found at Lawschooli.

New Book Group #49 June 27, 2014

Sandra Brown:  The Thrill of Victory and Temperatures Rising
Beverly Barton: The Last to Die and Raintree: Sanctuary
Jezebel by Katherine Sutcliff
Down by the Water by Caroline Upcher
Hawkes Harbor by S.E. Hinton
Savage Thunder by Cassie Edwards
Miracle by Deborah Smith
Desperate Alliances by Cory Daniells
Never Walk Alone by Paula Detmer Riggs
The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin
Running Blind by Lee Child
Dirty Sexy Knitting by Christie Ridgway
The Grey Beginning by Barbara Michaels
The Highlander's Bride by Michele Sinclair

New Book Group #48 May 30, 2014

Karen Haper:  Black Orchid (spine creases) and Shaker Run
Elizabeth Lowell: Fever and The Color of Death
After Dark by Phillip Margolin Audio Tapes
Dangerous by Debra Dier
First to Fight Anthology
Full Bloom by Jayne Ann Krentz
Mesmerized by Gayle Lynds
On the Edge by Susan Kearney
Safe by His Side by Linda Conrad
Son of the Sword by J. Ardian Lee
Spring Fancy by LaVyrle Spenser
Tangled Lives by Margot Dalton
Trial by Fire by Jo Davis
Underfoot by Leanne Banks

New Book Group #47 April 25, 2014
Catherine Palmer: Prairie Rose and A Whisper of Danger
Stephanie Laurens: A Lady of His Own (spine creases) and Impetuous Innocent
Trey's Secret by Lois Faye Dayer
Midnight Reign by Chris Marie Green
Once Upon a Moon by Julie Kistler
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Hidden Truth of Cytech's Randall Forty byVickie Kennedy

New Book Group #46 March 15, 2014

   Virginia Henley - Notorious and Insatiable
   Debbie Macomber - Navy Woman and This Matter of Marriage
Sweet Talking Man by Betina Krain
Penhollow by Georgette Heyer
The Last Heiress by Bertrice Small (spine creases)
Strong Arms of the Law by Vicki Kennedy

New Book Group #45 January 31, 2014
   Deborah Cooke: Winter Kiss and Kiss of Fate
   Fern Michaels:  Hey Good Looking and Charming Lily
Out of Darkness by Lynn Erickson
Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride by Elizabeth Rolls
Contract Dad by Helen Shelton
Hearts Are Wild by Laura Wright

New Book Group #44 December 14, 2013---(All gone)

New Book Group! #43 November 1, 2013 ---(All gone)

New Book Group #42 September 27, 2013 ---(All gone)

New Book Group #41 August 2, 2013
The Nightingale's Song by Jo-Ann Power
Cattle Rancher, Secret Son by Margaret Way
White Heather by Jaclyn Reding

New Book Group #40 June 28, 2013
Breakfast in Bed by Sandra Brown - Audio Cassette Tapes (link is for mass media version)

New Book Group #39 May 31, 2013 - Plenty of "summer" titles!
Shetland Summer by Janet Lynnford

New Book Group #38 April 20, 2013
Awaken the Senses by Nalini Singh

New Book Group #37 March 22, 2013
Anthology: Something Borrowed, Something Blue - this book has spine creases and minor water damage...I thought I had read it and liked it but now I realize it was another anthology I read with Elaine Barbier.

New Book Group #36 February 15, 2013
The Trailsman: Texas Lead Slingers by Jon Sharpe

New Book Group #35 January 11, 2013 (All gone)

New Book Group #34 December 7, 2012--- (All gone)

New Book Group #33 October 27, 2012---(All gone)

New Book Group #32 October 5, 2012
- Oops upside down book! NOTE This book has dog bite damage; it is missing half back cover and the edges of pages in the back third of the book... it does not effect the text but I will understand if no one wants this one - A Courtesans Guide to Getting Your Man by Susan Donovan and Celeste Bradley

New Book Group #31 August 31, 2012
An Honorable Man by Rosemary Rogers (spine creases)

New Book Group #30 July 27, 2012
The Willful Widow by Valerie King (spine wear)
Wild Escapade by Lisa Bingham
Dancing on Snowflakes by Jane Bonander

New Book Group #29 June 29, 2012
Magic: The Gathering Distant Planes, An Anthology

New Book Group #28 May 18, 2012--- (All gone)

New book Group #27 April 13, 2012--- (All gone)

New book Group #26 March 2, 2012--- (All gone)

New Group #25 January 12, 2012---(All gone)

New Group #24 Pick Books November 25, 2011---(All gone)

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

New Group #22 Pick Books September 2, 2011---(All gone)

New Group #21 of Pick Books July 29, 2011---(All gone)

May, 2011 New Group of Pick books Group #20---(All gone)

3/25/11 I did get to set up a new group of books: Group #19
Primary Colors - audio tapes

2/19/11 Book Group #18- Pairs!---(All gone).

I have finally updated the intro and Entry paragraphs here:

If you saw the pictures posted of my bookshelves and boxes you know I do have lots of books! And that doesn't include the other eight or so boxes at my office!! And more books as I find deals too good to pass up! I am sharing my book bounty by these Friday Pick Giveaways.

I started Friday Pick on November 27, 2009 and in four years I have posted 43 groups of 16 (688) books to find new homes! (as of November 2013).

I periodically update the lists - deleting those won. You can still go to the Friday Pick list link to see older posts and the older lists book pictures if you want! I am happy to say that so far about 690+ books have found new homes! YAY. I have to update my print out to check the exact number sent out - a few were never claimed.

Note rules here regarding international entries.
Because postage to overseas can be prohibitive I am willing to give a $5.00 book certificate to international winners - Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, ARe, TWRP, ClassAct Books, eTreasures, Desert Breeze, tell me where and I'll set it up. So for my overseas visitors your comment may indicate a smaller book and I'll check postage or note your choice of gift card.

I learned that The Book Depository does not ship to everywhere. The postage for some of the books to far away places runs between $5.00 $7.00 and $6.00 $10.00 and up. Since I would award $5.00 for The Book Depository to an international winner, as an alternative you may choose a smaller book and we will hope the postage will not exceed $6.00. If the postage is more, or if you want to pick a larger book and you are willing to pay any extra postage beyond the $6.00 I will work with you on that. This may not make a difference to many but if it helps one or two of you to give one of my books a home that will make me happy too. :o)

Leave a comment and tell me WHICH BOOK you would like to get from the Friday Pick lists.
CUT OFF TIME IS THURSDAY NIGHTS AT 10:00 PM CENTRAL so I do not have to stay up past midnight to do the winner post!
I will randomly pick two winners to announce Friday mornings with the next Pick post.
Automatic wins are those who requested the book four times and I did not note other people asking for that book during those weeks.
WINNERS PLEASE CHECK THE WIN POST ON FRIDAYS AND fill in the Winner's Acceptance Form or email me at [I will confirm receipt of the addresses- well I realize I haven't always done this. But if you filled out the form and don't get the book within two weeks nudge me with an email please!] If I have the winners e-mail I will send a reminder in a week or so....

Thanks for helping these books find new homes!!

Repeating this helpful blog tip: You can right click on a link and you will be given the choice to open the link in a new window or tab so you do not navigate away from the screen you are on!! I use this all the time!

1/14/11 New List #17--- (All gone)

12/3/10 Book Set: #16
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown 

List #15---(All gone)

List #14---(All gone)

Here is set #13 of Used books! ---(All gone)

Group #12---(All gone)

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

List #1
Circle of Stars by Anna Lee Waldo

Pick #2---(All gone)

Pick #3---(All gone)

Pick #4---(All gone)

Pick #5---(All gone)

Pick #6---(All gone)

Pick #7
Prey by Michael Crichton - Audio Tape

Pick #8
The Jury by Steve Martini - Audio Tapes
No Safe Place by Richard North Patterson - Audio Tapes

Pick #9
On Treacherous Ground by Earl Murray

Pick #10---(All Gone)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: Every Time I Love You by Heather Graham

An engaging romance that spans two hundred years. 
by Heather Graham
  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell (1988)
  • ISBN-10: 0440200873
Genre: Contemporary Romance, with Historical Elements
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Every Time I Love You is the captivating tale of a modern couple and their struggle with ill-fated past lives.

Gayle Norman is a modern woman who had a college romance that ended in tragedy when her temperamental boyfriend overdosed. Since then she has focused on her career as an assistant and event coordinator for Sabel Gallery, a well known artist gallery in Richmond, Virginia. Gayle keeps her distance from men even though her friends think it’s time to find a man to date.

Brent McCauley is an intense, reclusive artist who has agreed to have a showing at Sabel Gallery. His works consist of a group of nudes, including two entangled lovers. Gayle is impressed with the strong evocative feel of the painting.

Brent and Gayle meet and the connection is instant, intense and undeniable. Although it is not her usual behavior, Gayle ends up going home with Brent. Soon they are inseparable and planning their wedding. Gayle begins to have some dark dreams where she is drawn to a man who looks like Brent but she is terrified of him. She can’t really remember the dreams but feels a disquiet.

At the wedding Gayle passes out and after the wedding the dreams increase to the point where Brent insists she seek professional help. She agrees although that doesn’t help much. Then Brent begins to act in unexplaned, angry and violent episodes that he doesn’t remember. Gayle is frightened but Brent refuses to seek help because it might have a bad impact on his reputation.

Interspersed with these modern chapters are chapters set in 1774 introducing Percy Ainsworth, a young American rebel and Lady Katrina Seymour, the sixteen year old sister of a staunch British Tory. These two are at extremes politically but their attraction is explosive.

The conflict in the story stems from Percy’s belief that Katrina betrays him. Gayle and Brent are struggling with the strange flashes they are experiencing. But how can they figure out what is happening especially if Brent refuses outside help?

I had picked this story from my TBR pile because I wanted something involving the American Revolution. Although this had small portions of the Revolution the story is really a double romance. The modern characters are well developed and likable although I had difficulty with the impulsive, contrary traits of the 1774 couple. The romance between Gayle and Brent is very nicely handled. The ‘reincarnation’ aspects of the story added the focal interest even if I have mixed feelings about that theory. The book started a bit slowly but by midway I was anxious to keep reading. The writing is strong and engaging and I recommend this to those who love entertaining romance.

This story was from one of my TBR author collections.

ENTER THIS GIVEAWAY for my 1988 Print paperback

(Don't forget to fill in the form for entry!
I have noticed a few commenters who forgot to enter through the Form.)
For 3 Extra Bonus entries comment on the review, OR
visit THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE and tell me something you like/learned there.

* This contest is open to U.S. address only for print book.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) August 2 2014.
WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED after August 2, 2014.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond by email or the winners form linked in the announcement.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Audio Book Review: The Divine Inspiration of the Bible by Arthur W. Pink

This is a wonderfully edifying and encouraging listen.
The Divine Inspiration of the Bible
Author: Arthur W. Pink
Narrator: Ralph Cosham
Runtime: 3.2 Hours
Recording: Unabridged
Release date: 5.6.2014
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Genre: Nonfiction/Religion
ISBN-13: 978-1-4830-0194-4
My Rating: 5.0 of 5.0

Publisher/Date: Blackstone Audio, 05/06/14
“Deny that the Bible is, without any qualifications, the very word of God, and you are left without any ultimate standard of measurement and without any supreme authority.”—from the book
The Bible is the foundation of Christianity. In The Divine Inspiration of the Bible, Arthur Pink sets out to defend the belief that this holy book is, in fact, the true word of God. In doing so he examines the idea of divine inspiration and presents various arguments that aim to prove God Almighty is the author of the Bible.
This book not only examines evidence for the trustworthiness of scripture and what belief in inspiration means but also helps Christians achieve a firmer understanding of the Bible’s authority.
Originally published in 1917

I loved this audio book. I read Pink’s The Sovereignty of God about 20 years ago and remembered that I thought it was sound, if sometimes difficult, theology teaching. I already believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God but I was interested in the presentations that Pink would make. The book is laid out with each chapter dedicated to a specific, concise argument. As an attorney I appreciated that the arguments and proofs are supported by logical statements and examples that make sense to a person with an open mind and heart. The first chapter presents a “Presumption in Favor of the Bible”. Again, this resonates in legal precedence for me. Other chapters discuss the “Character of Its Teachings”, “Fulfilled Prophesies” and the “Wonderful Unity” as just a few of the themes explored with precision and confidence. Some of the supporting statements I had heard before but others were fresh and all of it was edifying.

I found myself excited about how well the text fit with and encouraged my current Bible reading. It also reinforced past studies I have read (and led) that show how the Old Testament and the New Testament speak as one from the beginning (“In the beginning God created...” Genesis 1:1) to the ending warnings not to add or take away from the scrolls (Revelation 22:18-19).

This book was originally published in 1917 but it is timely today. It has a scholarly, gentle, but forceful and confident, tone that lends strength to the arguments. The audio is a quick listen - less than four hours. I highly recommend this to everyone. Believers and followers of Christ will be encouraged and uplifted. Those who are seeking, and even those who would object or rebel, will find sound arguments if they read (or listen) with fair-mindedness.

Audio notes: The narration by Ralph Cosham enhanced the book for me. It matches the text by being precise and on the side of elegant. This is a book I could, and suspect that I will, listen to repeatedly just for the shear joy and uplift it brought me.

I received this from Blackstone Audio through Audiobook Jukebox for an honest review.


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