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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Audio Book Review: The Red Shoelace Killer by Susan Sundwall

This is a fun cozy mystery but I was not impressed by the narration.
by Susan Sundwall
Narrated by: Lee Ann Howlett

Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:03-24-14
Publisher: Susan Sundwall
Genre: Cozy Mystery
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0

First in the Minnie Markwood Mysteries: Minnie Markwood can out-sleuth Miss Marple any day of the week - in her imagination. But when a real killer begins to target Minnie and her young sidekicks, reality trumps imagination big time. Who's buying up all the red shoelaces at the mall and stalking a cashier? Is it the killer who terrorized Minnie on the highway and kidnapped her coworker?  It soon becomes frighteningly clear that Minnie's onto something, and The Red Shoelace Killer's days are numbered.
©2012 Susan Sundwall (P)2014 Susan Sundwall


Review:
Minnie Markwood is a widow in her 50s. She works as a survey taker in Albany, New York. Minnie is a down to earth, sweet woman who ends up sleuthing with her co-worker Rashawna and Rashawna’s brand new boyfriend, Joel. Rashawna is a cute, exhuberant 21 year old who is a bit on the ‘ditzy’ side. Joel appears to be a shiftless, but very likable, young man with an affection for Rashawna and a protective streak that conflicts with his self-preservation instincts.

Joel begins to ‘confess’ to Minnie that he has knowledge of the unsolved Red Shoe Lace Killer case. After seeing some strange, staring men at the mall and finding a store that sells red shoe laces these three set off on a not-so-casual investigation of suspicious activity, including a visit to Joel’s “mean” boss-lady, Salina. Minnie is friends with the local police detective who gives her the okay to keep an eye on things but expects her to call for back up if anything truly suspicious or dangerous arises.

Little sightings and details build up to threats with shoe laces tied on Minnie’s car mirror and an attempted kidnapping. I did think that these details should have been turned over to the detective but, of course, that might ruin the story for these rather bumbling investigators.

The characters are fun and the mystery has a humorous absurdity to it. There is a bit of mundane description and action throughout but overall the reading is light, easy and appropriate to the genre. However, I think this is one story that might be better read than listened to on audio, as my audio notes below indicate. I would recommend this to those who like cozy mysteries.

Audio Notes: Sadly, I found the narration to be very monotone and dragging. Initially it might be thought that the plodding narration was suited to the older character Minnie, and it reminded me a little bit of Murder She Wrote. But the voice for Rashawna is a squeaky girl sound and I’m not sure there was much effort to change the tone for Joel. There was minimal excitement and expression shared. It was so distracting that it detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Listen to the sample to see if you could enjoy that reading for 8 hours. It might just be that I wanted a bit more up beat but I don’t think it is just me.

I received this audiobook from the author/publisher through Audiobook Jukebox.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Mailbox Monday September 29, 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 received three review books and won a book perfect for October reading.
I purchased seven $.99 Kindle books.
I also downloaded many free kindle titles.

(I still have many author requests to consider and reply to. I just haven't found time to cull through these.)

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
I accepted two titles to review from authors I have previously read:


Ruptured: The Cantati Chronicles
by Maggie Mae Gallagher
This is a prequel novella to this series.



(A Short Story)
by Matthew Iden
A missing child heads this mystery.




I received this Political Suspense from New Shelves Distribution:



The Founders' Plot 
by Frank Victoria
Debut author Victoria’s topical thriller follows the political and personal reverberations of a tough and controversial immigration law in California.






Won
I won this at Kathi Daley's facebook page where she has been
giving away ebooks and print books.
by Kathi Daley
This looks like a fun cozy mystery perfect for October reading!

Purchased
I purchased seven $.99 books at Amazon Kindle - I guess I have low control of my impulse buying:


Gilbert Morris


Silent Waters
Jan Coffey, May McGoldrick

Lee Strauss, Elle Strauss



(Triple Treat Romances Book 2)
Donna Hatch, Marie Higgins, G.G. Vandagriff



Small Town Charm, Love & Mystery Boxed Set
Julie Anne Lindsey, Judy Alter, Magdalena Scott, Jan Scarbrough, Jennifer Anderson, Cheryl Norman, Bobbye Terry, Suzanne Lilly


Barbara Freethy, Carly Phillips, Christie Ridgway, Barbara Samuel, Roxanne St. Claire

5 Paranormal New Adult Novels
Kristie Cook, Lynn Rush, R.K. Ryals, Raine Thomas, Rachael Wade



Free

I downloaded another 54 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? September 29, 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.

This was another tiring week for me but I felt like I got some good work completed. This week I will be traveling to an industry conference so I will be pushing to clear my desk on Monday and Tuesday before traveling. 
My reading was okay, not great. Once again I just barely finished one ebook and one audio.  I also barely got two reviews posted along with the usual memes. :-)

I only got to visit a few blogs early in the week sad to say. I plan to start visiting tonight (Sunday) to get a start this week.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • Book Review: Shades of Moonlight by Karen L. McKee; Mystery, Paranormal Thriller, my rating 4.25.
Finished Reading:
1. Audible-Audio/MP3


The Red Shoelace Killer
by Susan Sundwall
Narrated by: Lee Ann Howlett
I have mixed feelings on this.
It's a cute cozy mystery but I found the audio underwhelming. Full review to post this week.
Click on book title for full description.



2. eBook/Kindle


Global Predator
by Jack Maclean
This is a thriller set in Pakistan with true-to-life danger, irony and luck.
Review to post this week. 
Click on book title for full description.




eTreasures Publishing:
Two print releases going through final adjustments before we link them up at the website.
Two more ebooks still out for galley proofs; to be released soon.


Currently reading:
1. eBook/Kindle


Mistletoe on Main Street
by Olivia Miles
I like the start of this - easy reading.
Received from Forever/Hachette through NetGalley
as part of Blitz to post on October 2, 2014.
Sleigh bells, snow, and second chances . . .
Click on book title for full description.



2. Print


Seattle Cinderella: (Romancing America)
by Gail Sattler
I haven't started this one yet but need to get to it for Ladies Book Club on October 4. I may pick it up on Kindle so I can let it read to me while I travel some this week.
Click on book title for full description.



3. Audio/MP3


Brave New World
Written by: Aldous Huxley
Narrated by: Michael York
I selected this for Banned Books Week.
I am looking forward to listening to this audio narrated by Michael York.
Publisher's Summary
When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.
On the 75th anniversary of its publication, this outstanding work of literature is more crucial and relevant today than ever before. Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.
©1932 Aldous Huxley; ©1998 BBC Audiobooks America; (P)2003 BBC Audiobooks America



4. Audible/MP3


Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3
Written by: Veronica Roth
Narrated by: Emma Galvin, Aaron Stanford
Although I want to listen to Brave New World, I think my daughter will want to listen to Allegiant on our drive to Tampa. That will be fine as I have not yet read book 3 in this trilogy.
Publisher's Summary
What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation - like a single choice - changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times best-selling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of listeners in Divergent and Insurgent.
©2013 Veronica Roth (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers



I am up-to-date 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 two educational, non-fiction ebook releases which we sent back for a bit more polishing. We are also working on releasing several novels in print -- also polishing.

I still have some books carried forward. I did read at least one of my own TBRs September so now I have to pick one for October. I am staying up to date on completing reviews the week after they have been read. 

October Scheduled -
10/2 - Forever’s HOLIDAY HEAT WEEK BLITZ - Giveaway:  prize pack of the four titles!
Mid Oct: Ruptured: The Cantati Chronicles by Maggie Mae Gallagher
     Pumpkins in Paradise (Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mysteries Book 1) by Kathi Daley
     The Kindness of Neighbors (A Short Story) by Matthew Iden

NetGalley - To be read in August thru September:
Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve, Illustrated by Sarah McIntyre
The Red Book of Primrose House by Marty Wingate  (for Nov)
Mistletoe on Main Street by Olivia Miles (reading now)
It Happened at Christmas by Debbie Mason (early Oct)
What a Lady Needs for Christmas (MacGregor Series) by Grace Burrowes (Oct)

Authors:
The Founders' Plot by Frank Victoria 
From Story Bundle - I am enjoying the romance bundle and so glad I got these. There are Cyperpunk, Supernatural and Mystery Bundles available now - soooo tempting!
Huntress For Hire by Terry Spear
Peter's Christmas by M. L. Buchman
The Death of Davy Moss by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Still many more requests to consider and reply to.

AudioBook Jukebox
I'll be looking for new titles to request this week.

Post Hypnotic Press
I have several more audiobooks from this publisher that I will be reviewing.
According to Jennings ‘54

From TBR Collection - TBD
Won Book - TBD
Free Kindle/Nook or Smashwords - TBD for October

Sunday Words of Encouragement September 28, 2014

We watched the second half of the video by Pastor Perry on the Millennial Reign of Christ in Jerusalem in our Sunday School class. Pastor Perry seeks to encourage the viewer to look forward to living and serving during the reign of peace.

We had wonderful music worship again this morning. Pastor delivered his sermon which I will title: “His Way or Our Way?” He used the rather harsh story of Judges 19 and 20 where the Levite’s concubine was horribly abused in the town of Gibeah in the territory of Benjamin. When the other tribes of Israel sought to punish the tribe of Benjamin they attacked first without seeking God’s permission, although they did seek some input as to which tribe should go first. After two devastating battles they finally approached God with the correct question: ‘do we go into battle again or cease?’ Only then did God reply “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.” Judges 20:28.

The point of the story and Pastor’s question: “Do we plunge forward with our own plans, seeking God to bless them?” Or, do we stop and ask God: “What is Your Will? How do You want me to proceed?” We need to be careful to seek God’s Way instead of trying to live “our way”.

My added concluding comments:
God’s way is so much purer and better for us.
Judges 19:1 starts: “In those days, when there was no king in Israel...”
The story is closed by Judges 21:25: "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."
As commentator/Pastor Wayne D. Turner says: "When people do that which is right in their own eyes, it's not usually right in God's eyes."

This is a nice praise song to go with today's message.
Show Me Your Way, by Hillsong

Verses for Today:
Proverbs 21:2-3 NIV
2 A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.
3 To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Help me each morning Lord to seek Your Will for the day and not my own. I give thanks for Your grace and mercy that are new every morning.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sharing Beyond Books #170 Comment Giveaway September 27, 2014

Hello again on Saturday night and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!
I spent an hour or so this morning watching a re-enactment of the Civil War Battle of Marianna. It was interesting - the sights (uniforms, period dresses, weapons, smoke etc) and sounds (cannons, gun shot, fife and shots to "reload and fire") especially.  It didn't evoke feelings of fear or trauma - just sadness for me.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.
You know how they always show kids not eating their vegetables? That applied for many commenters as six of you didn't eat/like salad and/or veggies as a child but like them now. Another person didn't like salad dressing but has since found some they like. Two people had the opposite experience of now disliking foods they loved as a child. The other foods that commenters learned to like as adults included almonds, coconut, chili, vanilla custard, cheese and milk. One person couldn't think of a food taste that changed.
~~~~

The Winner from SBB #169 comments is: #12 Jess1 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 #170 (Two Questions.)

Q1. This is a good question to ask, even at the end of Banned Book Week 2014. Mary asks: If a book is banned, for whatever reason, does it arouse your curiosity and make you consider reading it??
A: I suppose my answer is yes, I am curious why people would want to ban a book.  I may check out the blurb and the controversy but I would only read it if it was something of interest to me. 

Image found at AF AllianceFrancaise Blog.

Q2.  If you read a book for Banned Book Week or, like me, selected one that you plan to read, please share the title of the book. 
A:  I selected Brave New World on Audible, even though that is a re-read for me. I thought it would be fun to listen to that and then to listen to Farenheit 451 afterwards. :-) So they are both in my October line up.
Image found at Audible.com.

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 contributors for September were: Alyn, Rubynreba, Jess1 and MaryP. The selected # is 2 so Rubynreba gets to select a book.


Your turn to share:

Q1. Mary asks: If a book is banned, for whatever reason, does it arouse your curiosity and make you consider reading it??

Q2.  If you read a book for Banned Book Week or, like me, selected one that you plan to read, please share the title of the book. 

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 October 4, 2014 at 5 PM  central.

Book Review: Shades of Moonlight by Karen L. McKee

This story contains a dark, rich mystery of spirit possession in an exotic culture. 
Shades of Moonlight
by Karen L. McKee

  • File Size: 932 KB
  • Print Length: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Twisted Root Publishing (December 5, 2010)
  • ASIN: B004FEFB60
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Adventure
My Rating: 3.75 of 5.0  (4.0 for the story but minus for the lead female character who was annoying for me.)


Book Description
Publication Date: December 5, 2010
When Kalla Jervis, folklorist, arrives in Burma as part of a team of archeologists researching the end of an ancient civilization she expects problems translating the ancient Burmese language. Then she meets her translator, tall, dark and dangerous Simon Renault, a man who both infuriates and attracts her. When dark dreams haunt Kalla’s nights, they hint at a terrible secret that entwines the fates of Kalla and Simon and all of Burma.

Karen L. McKee once again delivers a rich story that evokes the mysteries of an exotic culture. Shades of Moonlight is a fantastic paranormal romance that wraps together past, present and future in one of the most mysterious of Asian cultures. Readers will love the fast-paced story of unforgettable characters caught in the strangeness of a world few westerners have visited.


Review:
Kalla is a folklorist working with other archaeologists to help develop the history of a place through the stories the people tell. She joins a team in Burma where she hopes to rekindle her college romance with the leader of the team, Alex. She and Alex couldn’t make their relationship work due to their competing, controlling natures. Kalla is still fixated on being in control because she thinks it is the only way to protect herself from being hurt by those she loves, like her dad, sister and Alex. She is really intent on winning Alex back because she thinks it will make her dying father happy. Kalla is not prepared to deal with the tall, dark, too handsome and clearly dangerous translator, Simon, who greets her.

Simon is a man of two countries and two beings. When Simon found himself being overwhelmed by a strong, ancient warrior “Nat”, his mother helped him learn control. Simon’s spirit “guest” gleans onto Kalla as his long lost mate causing Simon to have to contend with the spirit’s lustful powers as well as his own interests in Kalla. Simon knows that his spirit-man can be very dark and dangerous so it is a real battle to control him. It is even harder trying to tone the urges down when Kalla makes it clear she is a woman who takes charge and is not a woman to be ‘handled’ or controlled easily.

There is a dark, rich mystery that flows from the past of Pagan, Burma to the people of the present. Some of the players are locals, who want to protect the secrets and treasures of the land while others would exploit them. Kalla and Simon have no ulterior motives towards the country or its secrets but they get caught up in the battle because their own inner spirits and personal histories have brought them to this situation.

Mei, the other translator, is a lovely, gentle-spirited local woman who shows a distinct opposite to Kalla’s stubborn will, yet Mei has her own strengths. There are some romance conflicts and jealousies in the story with Kalla and Mei wanting Alex, Alex wanting Mei and Simon wanting Kalla.

I truly enjoyed the rich history and found the aspect of the folklorist fascinating. The plotline is interesting as well although the spirit possession is rather creepy and scary. What made the story difficult and long for me was Kalla’s character. I would say that her control issues resulted from a lack of confidence and lack of self acceptance which I found very annoying in a woman of her age and with her skills. Unfortunately Kalla’s stubborn control and refusal to trust or accept help from others was dragged out throughout the story in not a good way and adding unnecessary length. It caused her to make stupid decisions and act in idiotic ways which seemed forced at times to help the plot but lessened my enjoyment of the story.

I would recommend this story to those who would enjoy the history and rich tone fitting a dark, exotic culture. The reader just has to be prepared for the involvement of spirit possession and prepared to deal with a control freak female lead.

I received this as part of a Romance StoryBundle a couple months ago. There are three StoryBundles available now offering multiple stories for one low price. I am soooo tempted!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway September 26, 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 am tired tonight and have been tired several nights this week; crashed on Monday night. I feel like I am not getting much reading done. I haven't gotten to my banned title - Brave New World. 
The weather is cooling off very nicely. How is the weather for everyone out there in blog world?

[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 September 19 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 were no titles blocked.
Becky gets Chieftain
bn100 gets So Hard to Forget
CarolM gets Williams J Coughlin Pair
Alyn gets Lord Braybrook's Penniless Bride

CONGRATULATIONS
to Random.org picked Winners from September 19 Pick:
Booklady gets the Anne Stuart Pair
Miki gets a GC 

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.}
Have you ever read a book you think should be banned??
I can't think of one.


New Book Group #51! September 12, 2014
(No picture yet but here is the list)
PAIRS:
Elysa Hendricks, Star Crash (personally autographed copy) and The Sword and the Pen
Anne Stuart, Hidden Honor and The Devil’s Waltz
SINGLES:
Intrepid Encounter by Rebecca Ashley
The Reckoning by Jeanette Baker
Taylor's Temptation by Suzanne Brockmann
A Painted House A Novel by John Grisham 
Scandalous Virtue Mass by Brenda Hiatt 
Viking Heat by Sandra Hill 
Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie and Gennaro Book 2) by Dennis Lehane
Missing Susan by Sharyn Mccrumb
Pandora's Clock by John J. Nance - AUDIO CASSETTES
A Stranger's Wife by Maggie Osborne
The Short Forever (Stone Barrington Novels Book 8) by Stuart Woods - AUDIO CASSETTES


New Book Group #50! August 8, 2014
PAIRS:
William J. Coughlin: The Court and The Judgment
Phyllis J. Whitney: The Ebony Swan and Woman Without a Past
SINGLES:
Maybe This Time by Victoria Barrett
The Commander by Kate Bridges
So Hard to Forget by Evelyn Crowe
The Cinderella Plan by Margaret Daley
Whirlwind Affair by Jacquie D'Allessandro
Let Darkness Come by Angela Hunt
Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione 
ChiefTain by Nan Ryan
A Place Called Home by Lori Wick
The Mr. & Mrs. Happy Handbook by Steve Doocy
True Believer by Nicholas Sparks
A Garden of Friends by Penny Pierce Rose

New Book Group #49 June 27, 2014

PAIRS:
Sandra Brown:  The Thrill of Victory and Temperatures Rising
Beverly Barton: The Last to Die and Raintree: Sanctuary
SINGLES:
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


New Book Group #48 May 30, 2014

PAIRS:
Karen Haper:  Black Orchid (spine creases) and Shaker Run
Elizabeth Lowell: Fever and The Color of Death
SINGLES:
After Dark by Phillip Margolin Audio Tapes
Dangerous by Debra Dier
First to Fight Anthology

New Book Group #47 April 25, 2014

SINGLES:
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

SINGLES:
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

SINGLES:
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
Singles:
Cattle Rancher, Secret Son by Margaret Way

New Book Group #40 June 28, 2013
Singles:
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!
Singles:
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
Singles:
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 Group #19---(All gone)
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 713+ 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, etc....you 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)

TO ENTER:
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 mesreads@gmail.com. [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)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Audio / Audible Book Review: The End is Nigh: Apocalypse Triptych Anthology

I really enjoyed the variety on the anticipating apocalypse theme in this engaging anthology.
Title: The End is Nigh: Apocalypse Triptych
Author: John Joseph Adams, Hugh Howey
Narrator: Mur Lafferty, Rajan Khanna, Kate Baker,
Lex Wilson, RalphWalters, Jack Kincaid,
Norm Sherman, James Keller, Anaea Lay
Length: 15 hrs and 8 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:04-08-14
Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing
Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm. But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild. THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH will tell their stories. Edited by acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Hugh Howey,
THE APOCALYPSE TRIPTYCH is a series of three anthologies of apocalyptic fiction. THE END IS NIGH focuses on life before the apocalypse. THE END IS NOW turns its attention to life during the apocalypse. And THE END HAS COME focuses on life after the apocalypse.
Post-apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that have already burned. Apocalyptic fiction is about worlds that are burning. THE END IS NIGH is about the match.
©2014 John Joseph Adams & Hugh Howey


Review:
Overall observation: This anthology has great variety and is full of a bit of humor, a bit of horror, some bittersweet moments and lots of irony. I enjoyed all of the stories, even the horror ones which is a genre I do not generally read. These were short enough to get the point across and some left me hoping for more which I understand may exist in the subsequent anthologies where some of the stories, but not all, may be continued. All of the authors were new-to-me but I will look forward to reading many of them again. I will be picking up Book 2, The End is Now, as soon as I decide if I want to wait for the audio or get it now in Kindle format.


Audio Notes: All of the narration was well done except for one which was awful due to the narrator having a sniffling cold or some other nasal problem which nearly ruined that story. The changes in narrators helped keep the work interesting and distinguished the stories with individual and suitable voices. The audio enhanced my reading enjoyment and I do recommend this in audio format.


Individual Content descriptions and brief comments:
** Are my favorites with * being next in line.
Introduction by John Joseph Adams: Explains the concept behind the “end is nigh”, “end is now” and “the end has come”.

The Balm and the Wound by Robin Wasserman: A con-man preacher of doom is planning his retirement by pulling in the wealth of believers of God's soon coming return. This sleazy man is surprised to meet his 10 year old son, who may be a true seer. (Some foul language.) This is a brash presentation of religious preparedness with an ironic ending.

Heaven is a Place on Planet X by Desirina Boskovich: Aliens have come to earth to announce a date for destruction and deliverance. Only those who go about their lives as usual will be transported to a new life on Planet X at the hour doom. Enforcers, one out of every thousand people, are assigned to determine who violates the rules and they must  vaporize violators on sight. But can the enforcers obey the rules until the end without questioning who are these aliens that no one has seen? This story exudes conspiracies and people being led like sheep.

Break! Break! Break! by Charlie Jane Anders: This young man has been taught how to take a fall, from a roof no less, since the age of four. How many bone breaks can a boy take for stuntman training? How extreme can the videos get before you realize rebellion is crashing around you? I found this bizarre and bleak.

**The Gods Will Not Be Chained by Ken Liu: A genius mentality captured as “Ghosts in the machine” is revealed as a father protects his family through an old computer. Although the story is light on the impending doom theme, I liked this rather sweet and clever twist to artificial intelligence. I hope to read more by this author.

Wedding Day by Jake Kerr: A lesbian couple wait too late to get married while trying to arrange transportation away from an expected asteroid collision. The characters give a personal look at potentially realistic problems with an end of the world scenario. The emotional focus in this story was less interesting for me than some of the other dilemmas faced.

*Removal Order by Tananarive Due: A responsible, caring young woman disobeys orders by staying in a condemned neighborhood to take care of her terminally ill grandmother who can’t be moved. The story has a sorrowful sweetness as it presents a difficult dilemma of making a choice between caring for a loved one or seeking survival and safety.

**System Reset by Tobias S. Buckell: IT adept bounty hunters trace a hacker who plans to “reboot” the electronic systems of society. This poses a realistic, if not unique, possibility and question: which side would you support? Is the villain right or wrong? I really enjoyed the story and the questions.

*This Unkempt World is Falling to Pieces by Jamie Ford: In a 1910 setting a group of fancy, wealthy people are celebrating the end-of-the world as they expect a comet collision. The lowly staff are stuck serving instead of having their own last moments to share. But is it all a publicity stunt; a hoax? Although this is a pretty light offering, I enjoyed the writing tone and irony in this story too.

BRING HER TO ME by Ben H. Winters: This presents a strange religious cult where only one teen of the community doesn’t hear “The Voice” of God like everyone else. Will she escape or try to go with them when they do a ritual death cross-over? And what does it mean when “The Voice” tells her mother, and others: “Bring Her to Me”? Well, this story left me clueless on both questions.

**In the Air by Hugh Howey: A man is part of a group that has secret plans to survive a deadly global nano-strike. He isn’t sure if the end will really come and waivers about his choices waiting too late to tell his wife the truth and too late to make certain choices. This raises questions of morality, integrity and survival instincts. I’d be curious to know what happens next. This is intriguing and brought this author to my attention so I will look for his other works.

*Goodnight Moon by Annie Bellet: A group in a space station orbiting the moon are faced with collision and destruction. Only a couple can escape to warn earth. This is a calm and interesting presentation of choices, sacrifice, resignation and acceptance where personal choices matter more than nationalities, age, race or other defining qualities. I liked this gentle presentation of the theme and want to read this author again.

Dancing with Death in the Land of Nod by Will McIntosh: The world is hit by a plague that paralyzes the victims leaving them with only a nodding head and the ability to respond if assisted. Johnny is already taking care of his elderly father who is experiencing dementia and who is obsessed with his dilapidated, money losing drive-in. Johnny faces a dilemma: does he avoid the plague to protect his ailing father or does he help his neighbors and risk exposure? This is a very down to earth reality and heartrending story. Unfortunately the sniffing and awkward breathing during the narration of this, particularly in the beginning, was horribly distracting.

*Houses Without Air by Megan Arkenberg: Breathable air is fading fast. Two women share their work loves with each other as the world dies. One creates delicate virtual reality computer gaming and the other is an artist who creates miniature memorials. Although this seems to be presented in a bubble world of just these two, there is a poignant analogy to the fairy-tale of The Little Matchgirl.

The Fifth Day of Deer Camp by Scott Sigler: A rough group of hunters in a secluded camp cabin step out to find aliens landed not too far off. This is rather funny in its rustic portrayal of some card playing, beer drinking, good 'ole boys and how they react to a totally unexpected danger.

Enjoy the Moment by Jack McDevitt: A scientist is struggling with establishing a principle that will get her name down in history. As a substitute she decides to try to find a new comet that can be named after her. Her husband is content to live each day while she stresses for achievement. Her enjoyment may be short lived as her name-sake comet approaches earth. Different human reactions, and some more irony, are portrayed in this contribution.

Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through by Nancy Kress: A few years have passed since a large volcanic eruption in Indonesia left falling ash as far as New York. There is a mystery regarding unknown elements in the ash particals. Meanwhile a mother struggles to raise her two daughters, the elder ever a trouble maker. But now mom is called in because the younger child has created a concern within her teacher for being too much of a pacifist. Mother watches the children and their classmates puzzling over the differences. Could there be a connection? A very subtle tie-in for the reader to pull together made this a little odd but interesting.

Spores by Seanan McGuire: Megan who suffers from OCD works in a bio lab where she is acutely aware of smells and cleanliness. Her wife, Rachel and their daughter, Nikki, have learned to live with and watch for symptoms of the OCD attacks. Megan returns home one night to find a moldy dish of fruit in the kitchen. She struggles to deal with it without lapsing into a full blown attack. However during the night a terrible thing awakens her and she has to face a man-made fungus growth gone wild. Eek! This is a very eeire tale and the OCD adds an interesting factor.

*She's Got a Ticket to Ride by Jonathan Maberry: John Poe is a man sent in to rescue the misled from dangerous cults. Sometimes the results are satisfying but sometimes they are tragic. This time he encounters a girl who is of age and answers ever question with a reasoned response. Does he have the right to drag her away from the choice she has made because the parents are afraid of losing control of her money? Who is right? What are the choices and who gets to make the choice for others? Well done to put the reader in an introspective mood.

**Agent Unknown by David Wellington: A senior agent for the CDC is tracking people who are showing symptoms of a zombie-like infection. The immediate reaction of law enforcement is to kill the monsters but the agent is trying to bring back infested subjects for research by the CDC authorities who are seeking a cause and a cure. The agent has concerns for the methods of research but even more concerns when facts about the infection reveal a potential long term threat. I haven’t read a lot of zombie stories but I liked the progression of this and the humanity of the agent. I’d like to read more of this author.

Enlightenment by Matthew Mather: Effie is an unhappy, overweight, introverted young woman. She has been attending church meetings looking for a place to belong or looking for love. She meets a charming young man with a bionic arm who appeals to her intellect and encourages her to join him on a deeper search for enlightenment and fulfillment. She is initially appalled but slowly is seduced to a twisted perversion of sacrifice. This is one of the horror tales which I found mostly gruesome and repugnant. It is not really my cup of tea.

*Shooting the Apocalypse by Paolo Bacigalupi: The shooting in this story is with a cameraman and a determined journalist. Timo gets the hard, gritty and sometimes shocking photos while he pulls in Lucy to write the stories to reach the people. They live in a country where water has become a protected commodity and states and communities have set up barriers to prevent traveling over boundary lines. As they begin a story with a bizarre murder scene they discover a larger problem that will impact many readers. This was a bit of an odd beginning but a great punch at the end. My early journalism background made this more interesting for me.

Love Perverts by Sarah Langan: An astroid is heading towards earth and only a limited number of people will receive a ticket to safety. Tom, an introverted teen, and his outrageous and sometimes abusive friend, Jules, face the oncoming collision with different attitudes: she is partying and he is angry. What will a young, gay, teen boy do to get a ticket to be with his little sister so he can protect her from the parents that would reject and abandon him? This is an interesting commentary on the meanings and nature of ‘love’.

I am pleased to have received this title from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox. The comments are my honest thoughts.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mailbox Monday September 22, 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 received three review books to start preparing for the holiday season. I also selected an Audible book with one of my monthly credits. I purchased three $.99 Kindle books.
I also discovered six free Audible books and downloaded many free kindle titles.

(I still have many author requests to consider and reply to. I just haven't found time to cull through these)

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
I was invited to read several Christmas titles so I received three from NetGalley this week:
All three of these will be read in October


Mistletoe on Main Street 
by Olivia Miles
Sleigh bells, snow, and second chances . . .
....
Now, with their past, present, and future rocking around the Christmas tree, it's time for Grace and Luke to face the music . . . and the mistletoe.

by Debbie Mason
"Christmas, Colorado, will get you in the spirit for love all year long." --- Jill Shalvis, New York Times bestselling author
Love is the best Christmas gift of all.
...
If word ever got out about their night together-the night he's never been able to forget-the scandal could cripple his career. Yet as he starts his campaign, Ethan finds that, like the town of Christmas itself, he can't get Skye out of his head . . . or his heart.




by Grace Burrowes
The Best Gifts are the Unexpected Ones...
...
As Christmas—and trouble—draw nearer, Dante and Joan's marriage of convenience blossoms into unexpected intimacy, for true love often hides beneath the most unassuming holiday wrapping...





Won

NONE.

Purchased
I selected this title with one of my Audible credits; I'm holding the other credit till I decide.

Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3 |

Allegiant: Divergent Trilogy, Book 3
By Veronica Roth
1 Credit; ($20.99 ...$0.00)



I purchased three $.99 books at Amazon Kindle:


Stars & Empire: 10 Galactic Tales
Jay Allan, Michael Bunker, Joshua Dalzelle, Isaac Hooke, Christopher Nuttall, Edward W Robertson, Jasper T Scott, Endi Webb, Dietmar Arthur Wehr, Raymond L Weil





Restless Hearts: A San Francisco Gold Rush Romance (Gold Rush Romances Book 1)
Mona Ingram



Free
I found a few... well several as in six...free books at Audible

Gabriel: Zero Point: The FREE Prequel Novella: Evan Gabriel Trilogy |

Gabriel: Zero Point: The FREE Prequel Novella: Evan Gabriel Trilogy
By Steve Umstead




FREE: The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale) |

FREE: The Jester (A Riyria Chronicles Tale)
By Michael J. Sullivan


FREE Yesterday's Gone: Season 1 - Episode 1
By Sean Platt, David Wright

Free: The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories |

Free: The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories
By R. A. Salvatore


So Long, Lollipops: The Free Until The End of the World Novella |

By Sarah Lyons Fleming



I downloaded another 56 free Kindle titles. Titles found linked through Bookbub, Bookfun, Ereader News Today, Free Par-tay, Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink or Kindle ebooks.

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