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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Official 2015 TBR Pile Challenge - Completed Successfully

The Official 2015 TBR Pile Challenge- COMPLETED
hosted by Roof Beam Reader


WRAP UP POST AT Roof Beam Reader.com

Goal: Specify and read 12 books that must have been on your bookshelf or “To Be Read” list for AT LEAST one full year. (All published prior to 1/1/2014.)
I made a few adjustments but finalized my list by 1/10/15.
(The links go to my review of the book as I post them.)

1. Shopping for Time: How to Do It All and NOT Be Overwhelmed Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Mahaney Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, Janelle Bradshaw September 4,2009
2. Homespun Bride Jillian Hart May 4,2009
3. Kiss of Midnight: A Midnight Breed Novel (The Midnight Breed.. Lara Adrian May 4,2009
4. Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson Audible Nov 2011
5. Awaken His Eyes: The Awakened Book One Jason Tesar May 2011
6. The New World (FREE short story) (Chaos Walking) Patrick Ness Nov 2010
7. On the Run (The Elijah Project) Bill Myers, James Riordan Nov 2010
8. The Lord Is My Shepherd: The Psalm 23 Mysteries #1 Debbie Viguie Oct 2010
Dead Reckoning Ronie Kendig Sept 2010
9. Sheltering Hearts (Virgin River) Robyn Carr Sept 2010
10. Fatal Judgment (Guardians of Justice Book #1): A Novel Irene Hannon April 2012
Spying in High Heels (High Heels Mysteries #1) Gemma Halliday Sept 2011

Alternates:
11. Frozen Past (A Jaxon Jennings' Detective Mystery Thriller Series, Book 1) Richard C Hale July 2012
12. Extremes: A Retrieval Artist Novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch Audible Oct 12

Book Review: Frozen Past (A Jaxon Jennings' Detective Mystery Thriller Series, Book 1) by Richard C Hale

This fast paced thriller has a good bit of killing with intense tension.
Frozen Past (A Jaxon Jennings' Detective Mystery Thriller Series, Book 1)
by Richard C Hale
  • File Size: 1523 KB
  • Print Length: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Three Thirty A.M. Publishing (March 5, 2012)
  • ASIN: B007HETCU6
Genre: Suspense Thriller
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0


Jaxon Jennings. Cop. Homicide detective. Partner. He always had your back and rarely made mistakes.
Until the death of his son. Until the night he couldn’t save him. Until everything he held dear was taken away from him.
Now, a shell of a man, his reckless actions mark him as a burn-out. A Loner. A dangerous man whom many in the Fairfax County Police Department cannot trust. The criminals he pursues in the suburbs of Washington D. C. are nothing more than ways to bide his time until his next drink, next fix, next loss of control. His past haunts him no matter how hard he tries to hide from it.
So, when a boy’s body shows up floating under the ice of a quiet neighborhood pool, Jaxon finds himself immersed in a world where the ghosts of his past feel too close for comfort. A psychopath is using the innocent in ways that appear familiar.
Jaxon’s past is catching up with him. And the anger that seethes below the surface threatens to destroy not only his life, but the lives of a group of kids somehow connected with him. The answers are locked, frozen in the part of his past he refuses to confront. But people are counting on him. And he must do anything to save them.
Anything. Even if it costs him his life.


Review:
The story starts with a child disappearing; then another. The story continues to tell the sometimes gruesome tale of a broken cop and a serial killer who goes after children and teens. Jaxon is the cop who lost his own son to a killer years ago. When a boy’s body shows up floating in a pool Jaxon begins a chase with a criminal who seems to be always one step ahead.

Luke and Ellie have been best friends since third grade. Now they are in ninth grade and their relationship is warming up. Luke hear’s a strange voice as a group plays outside. Ellie’s dog disappears until Luke stumbles upon it during a snowball fight. The pair then get creepy facebook messages from a stranger. The kids pull a prank that turns into something horrible and soon the police are regular visitors.

Jaxon is intent on stopping the killer each death crushes his spirit more. As more dead bodies are found, including beheaded animals, the FBI is called in for some input. Soon Jaxon’s ex-wife, an FBI agent is working the case with him. Things might improve between them if Jaxon doesn’t fall into a greater depression over the death of more children.

Ellie and Luke need protection when it becomes clear the killer is targeting them. Can Jaxon and the authorities, or even Luke and his teen friends, stop the killer before he gets to Ellie?

The mystery and suspense is well done even though I found the murders disturbing. The young romance is an interesting and warm element to set off a bit of the gruesomeness. The story is fast paced with writing that is easy to read. However, I wouldn't recommend this for young readers. I do recommend it to readers who like a good thriller and aren’t squeamish about serial killing.

This title was from my Kindle library, free in July, 2012. It is the final book for my 2015 TBR Pile Challenge. It is still available as a free read.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review: Fatal Judgment (Guardians of Justice Book #1): A Novel by Irene Hannon

I really liked this great suspense and romance.
by Irene Hannon

  • File Size: 1443 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0800734564
  • Publisher: Revell (January 1, 2011)
  • ASIN: B004DNWG2U
Genre: Romantic Suspense
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he'd rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward the coldhearted workaholic haven't warmed in the five years since she drove her husband--and Jake's best friend--to despair . . . and possible suicide.
As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, he's forced to revise his opinion of her. And when it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life--and his heart--are in danger.
Full of suspense and romance, Fatal Judgment launches a thrilling series featuring three siblings bound by blood and a passion for justice.


Review:
U.S. Marshall Jake Taylor has spent many years in law enforcement and is used to facing enemies to protect those he is assigned to. He is returning from assignment hoping to get some rest when he is called in to protect a federal judge. Not just any judge, but Liz Michaels, the widow of his best friend. Jake has some misconceptions that create an initial antagonism toward his charge. The longer he is around her the more he sees her actions seem to indicate that his views are wrong.

Liz lost her husband five years ago. Now her sister has been shot in the Judge’s home after seeking refuge from her sometimes violent husband. The spouse is always the first suspect but the investigation looks at others too. The authorities need Liz to back track through her files to locate someone who might be seeking revenge. When the killer slips through the protective detail to get to Liz, Jake realizes he has more to lose than just a charge.

This story has good romantic tension and suspense. I really liked Jake and Liz as the primary characters and Jake’s brother and sister add to the characters. The action is steady and I appreciated the faith based discussion between the characters. The romance develops with good chemical and emotional attraction that is fine without sexual scenes.

I have been eyeing this author and am glad I finally read one of her books. I will be glad to pick up more of her romantic suspense titles when given the opportunity. I recommend this book and author to those who enjoy strong characters and clean romance.

This is from my TBR shelf - 2012. It is the next to the last title for my 2015 TBR Pile Challenge.

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Alphabet Soup Challenge Completed Successfully

2015 Alphabet Soup Challenge -- COMPLETION POST

[Check rules and sign up HERE and look for info to sign up for 2016 Challenge.]

It’s an alphabet challenge!!! The challenge is to read one book that has a title starting with every letter of the alphabet.
You can drop the A’s and The’s from the book titles as shown below. For those pesky Q, X AND Z titles the word with the challenge letter can be anywhere in the title.


 COMPLETION NOTES: I worked hard to actually find titles with the right beginning letters so I didn't have to drop the A's and The's this year. That may not work for 2016. I do plan to do this again as it was fun and helped me pull a dozen titles from my TBR shelves.

A      Accept This Dandelion by Brooke Williams
B      Betrayal in Death In Death, Book 12 by J. D. Robb (Audible TBR)
C      Cleansed by Fire by James R. Callan
D      Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris (Audible TBR)
E      Exodus 2022 by Kenneth G. Bennett
F      Finding Mr. Right by Emily Carmichael (Audible TBR)
G      Gabriel: Zero Point by Steve Umstead (Audible TBR)
H      Hawk by Ronie Keding
I       Immortality by Kevin Bohacz
J       Just In Time For a Highlander by Gwen Cready
K      Kiss of Midnight: A Midnight Breed Novel (The Midnight Breed Series Book 1) by Lara Adrian (TBR)
L     Legendarium by Kevin G. Summers, Michael Bunker (Audible TBR)
M    Monday's Lie by Jamie Mason
N     Nirvana (Nirvana Series Book 1) by J.R. Stewart
O     Only Enchanting  by Mary Balogh
P      Passionately Yours by Cara Elliott
Q     Quitter by Jon Acuff (Audio TBR)
R      Resurrecting Home by A. American
S      Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Mahaney Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, Janelle Bradshaw (TBR)
T     Time and Again: Book 1 in the History Mystery Series by Deborah Heal
U    Unclutter Your Life! How to Tame Your Mess, Calm Your Mind, Lighten your Load by Jen Williams (TBR)
V    Virgin River by Robin Carr (Audible TBR)
W   What a Devilish Duke Desires by Vicky Dreiling
X     Xenonauts: Crimson Dagger by Lee Stephen
Y   You're Never to Old to Laugh by Ed Fischer (TBR)
Z    Zion's Road: A Love Story about Faith and Redemption by Imani Wisdom (TBR)

Book Review: Zion's Road: A Love Story about Faith and Redemption by Imani Wisdom

I liked the message in this story given through a rather different presentation.
Zion's Road: A Love Story about Faith and Redemption
by Imani Wisdom
  • File Size: 192 KB
  • Print Length: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Pink Noire Publications, LLC (January 21, 2014)
  • ASIN: B0093GSA6I
Genre: Romance, Suspense
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0


Temptation lurks like a waiting virus, grabbing you when you least expect it, ravishing your heart, mind, and soul—convincing you to take the easy way, instead of staying on the right path.
Zion’s Road: A Love Story is about faith and redemption. Harold Smith—a former Klansman in a small town of Tulla Springs, Mississippi—discovers second chances are possible when he learns that walking on the right path leads to an adventure of discovering his truths. During Harold’s journey, he meets a stranger who is opposite to what he believes.
The two travelers share an experience, as they delve into one of the mysteries from Harold’s past to find a shattering reality. Left to wonder that everything he knew in his life contradicts these revelations, how will this new discovery affect Harold’s pursuit to redemption? Will the heartfelt pain be too unbearable to complete his journey?


Review:
This is not quite what I expected but it is very interesting. Harold Smith was raised in the 1930s by a father whose family believed that whites were superior to blacks. Harold’s father was a fervent Klansman in Mississippi. As a teenager Harold had an experience that might have changed his view of the colored people in his community but instead he joined his friends and father treating them badly. At age 86, Harold is still spewing racial prejudice to his nephew. Then Harold meets a young, light skinned Negro boy who challenges him to take a journey. Harold has to make a choice to stay where he is (which might be a very dark, gruesome place) or risk moving along and discovering painful truths of his past.

This story addresses a very extreme attitude of racism that I found to be awful and difficult to understand, especially when certain facts of Harold’s past are revealed. The hatred that is portrayed is really distressing but it did exist in those years and among a certain group. (Sad to think that it might still exist today with some people and races or cultures.) The author presents a story that implies that a lot of the hatred and bigotry is handed down through the family. Although that may have some basis, we eventually mature to a place where we become responsible for our own choices. Harold has a chance to see this and to make new choices. Others around him also have this chance but the results may be different.

Although there is a sweet love story revealed in Harold’s past, I do not like that it was adulterous – that is also anathema to me. I liked Harold’s gentle guides who showed him so much love in spite of his awful treatment and attitude toward them in the past. The guides showed grace and forgiveness that could help Harold make better choices and perhaps find redemption through a changed attitude.
The writing makes for easy reading and I would take another look at work by Ms. Wisdom. 

I read this for "Z” to complete my Alphabet Soup Challenge. It was a free book from 2013 on my TBR Kindle shelf. It is still available for free.

Book Review: You're Never too Old to Laugh by Ed Fischer

This was a quick, light and fun read.
You're Never too Old to Laugh:
A laugh-out-loud collection of cartoons,
quotes, jokes, and trivia on growing older
by Ed Fischer
File Size: 17857 KB
Print Length: 128 pages
Publisher: Meadowbrook (February 21, 2012)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
ASIN: B00768D8HQ
Genre: Comedy, Aging
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0


INSPIRING QUOTES, JOKES, and
CARTOONS FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART!
Being "old" isn't what it used to be. Elders today are active, fun, and ready for something new. Stay young at heart with the wit, wisdom, and inspiration you'll find in this book by Ed Fischer.
It's time to be the new you.
Live it up.
Laugh often.
Love life like never before.


Review:
This gave me several chuckles during my holiday week. This is a collection of jokes and quotes on old(er) age from authors (including Agathe Christie and P. D. Whitte), actors (like Bill Cosby and Ingrid Bergman) and other entertainers (i.e. Jim Dale and George Burns). There are also fun cartoons, although some of these were a bit harder to read on my Kindle.

I think my favorites were right at the beginning but there were fun jokes all the way through. It is a quick read that can cheer someone who is maturing gracefully or maybe someone who isn’t and who might benefit from a lighter perspective. After all, as the quote from one of my favorite T-shirts states: “Never take life too seriously. No one gets out alive.”

I recommend this to anyone who wants a pick-me-up look at growing old or wants to share with an “old(er)” friend. And remember: ‘You might be old, but you’re not obsolete’ (quote from Terminator  Genisys).

This is from my TBR shelf 2012 and is my "Y" title for 2015 Alphabet Soup Challenge.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Sunday Post December 27, 2015/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday December 28, 2015



I am linking with Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading now at The Book Date.
Thank you to Sheila for the years that she handled this meme.
Thank you to Kathryn for taking up the baton.
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.

I had a wonderful week celebrating the birth of my Savior at Christmas with family. We also celebrated (quietly) my birthday today.
I had a good reading week finishing six books (completing two more challenges) total: five ebooks and one audio. I posted three reviews plus the usual memes.

I enjoyed visiting early in the week. The rest of the week was taken up with family time.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
Finished Reading:
1. Audible/MP3


Jingles All the Way: A Christmas Tail
Written by: Barbara Morgenroth
Narrated by: Jane M. Held
This is a sweet dog tale.
I received this audio from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox.

Click on book title for full description.



2. eBook/Kindle


Xenonauts: Crimson Dagger
by Lee Stephen (Author), Francois Cannels (Illustrator),
Interesting story with action and danger.
See the review linked above.



3. eBook/Kindle


You're Never too Old to Laugh:
A laugh-out-loud collection of cartoons,
quotes, jokes, and trivia on growing older
by Ed Fischer
This easy read and fun title is from my TBR shelf 2012
and my "Y" title for Alphabet Soup Challenge.
Click on book title for full description.



4. eBook/Kindle


Fatal Judgment (Guardians of Justice Book #1): A Novel
by Irene Hannon
This is good Christian, romantic suspense. 
It is one of my TBR Pile Challenge books to be reviewed this week.
Click on book title for full description.



5. eBook/Kindle


Frozen Past (A Jaxon Jennings' Detective Mystery Thriller Series, Book 1)
by Richard C Hale
This fast paced story has a
good bit of killing with good tension.
This is the final book for my TBR Pile Challenge.
Jaxon Jennings. Cop. Homicide detective. Partner. He always had your back and rarely made mistakes.
Until the death of his son. Until the night he couldn’t save him. Until everything he held dear was taken away from him.
Now, a shell of a man, his reckless actions mark him as a burn-out. A Loner. A dangerous man whom many in the Fairfax County Police Department cannot trust. The criminals he pursues in the suburbs of Washington D. C. are nothing more than ways to bide his time until his next drink, next fix, next loss of control. His past haunts him no matter how hard he tries to hide from it.
So, when a boy’s body shows up floating under the ice of a quiet neighborhood pool, Jaxon finds himself immersed in a world where the ghosts of his past feel too close for comfort. A psychopath is using the innocent in ways that appear familiar.
Jaxon’s past is catching up with him. And the anger that seethes below the surface threatens to destroy not only his life, but the lives of a group of kids somehow connected with him. The answers are locked, frozen in the part of his past he refuses to confront. But people are counting on him. And he must do anything to save them.
Anything. Even if it costs him his life.



6. eBook/Kindle


Zion's Road: A Love Story about Faith and Redemption
by Imani Wisdom
This is not quite what I suspected. 
I read this for "Z"  to complete my Alphabet Soup Challenge.
Temptation lurks like a waiting virus, grabbing you when you least expect it, ravishing your heart, mind, and soul—convincing you to take the easy way, instead of staying on the right path.
Zion’s Road: A Love Story is about faith and redemption. Harold Smith—a former Klansman in a small town of Tulla Springs, Mississippi—discovers second chances are possible when he learns that walking on the right path leads to an adventure of discovering his truths. During Harold’s journey, he meets a stranger who is opposite to what he believes.
The two travelers share an experience, as they delve into one of the mysteries from Harold’s past to find a shattering reality. Left to wonder that everything he knew in his life contradicts these revelations, how will this new discovery affect Harold’s pursuit to redemption? Will the heartfelt pain be too unbearable to complete his journey?



Currently reading:
1 eBook/Kindle


The Colossus
by Ranjini Iyer
I received this early in the year for review but didn't get it on my calendar. I found it in my calendar folder as I was clearing out completed review requests.
Maxine Rosen, a demure, clumsy, Chicago caterer gets more than she bargains for when she discovers her father’s coded research document linked to health pills unearthed from the ancient Indus Valley civilization. The pills, she learns, carry frightening secrets about the true nature of her father’s death; a truth that may be more than she can bear. Enlisting the help of handsome professor Julian McIntosh, Max travels across the continents to unlock the mystery of her father’s research, struggling to keep one step ahead of a powerful German pharmaceutical company who will stop at nothing to keep the disturbing document under wraps.



2. eBook/Kindle


Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball: A Novella
by Donita K. Paul
This looks so cute. 
It is for our Ladies Book Club meeting first Saturday in January.
Can mysterious matchmaking booksellers bring two lonely hearts together in time for Christmas?
In a sleepy, snow-covered city, Cora Crowder is busy preparing for the holiday season. Searching for a perfect gift, a fortuitous trip to Warner, Werner, and Wizbotterdad’s (a most unusual bookshop) leads to an unexpected encounter with co-worker Simon Derrick. And the surprise discovery of a ticket for a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas Ball.
Every year, the matchmaking booksellers of the Sage Street bookshop host an enchanting, old-fashioned Christmas Ball for the romantic matches they’ve decided to bring together.
This year, will Simon and Cora discover a perfect chemistry in their opposite personalities and shared faith? Or will the matchmakers’ best laid plans end up ruining everything this holiday?


3. First Book of the Year: 2016 -- TBA
I will be participating in First Book of the Year and I have narrowed my choices to seven books.
I will decide by the end of the week so I can post for this event on Friday.

December 27, 2015- I am one day ahead on my readings and have loved the way they mesh and
confirm God's word.
I am reading The One Year Bible again along with my husband and others from our church. I am also listening to the companion commentary online.


I posted three reviews last week which keeps me up to date. However now I have to squeeze in five reviews before 12/31 to review the books completed to finish two challenges.
I have read all of my 12 TBR Pile books with the last two reviews to post this week.
I have read the last of my Alphabet Soup Challenge and just need to post reviews for Y and Z.


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 two audio titles for review in 2016 - one from the author and one through Audiobook Jukebox.
I purchased five ebooks at Amazon at $.99 each. This is likely to be the last of my purchasing for a while.
I added more free kindle titles to my library.

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
I received two audio titles:

Received from the author:

Time Heist
Time Heist: Firstborn Saga Volume 1
Written by: Anthony Vicino
Narrated by: Adam Verner
Time Travel Sci Fi - a favorite genre for me. :-)



Received from Blackstone Audio by request at Audiobook Jukebox:

Buster: The Military Dog Who Saved a Thousand Lives | RAF Police Flight Sergeant Will Barrow,Isabel GeorgeWritten by: RAF Police Flight Sergeant Will Barrow, Isabel George
Narrated by: James Langton
This is about a real military dog and I am looking forward to listening.


Won

NONE

Purchased
[I still have two Audible credits to use before the end of 2015.]

I purchased five Kindle titles for $.99 each as they caught my eye and I figure I may not be making purchases for several months if I participate in the TBR DARE again:


James Maxey 



Diana Green
M. L. Buchman
 

Karin Kaufman, Christy Barritt, Heather Day Gilbert, Don Prichard, Stephanie Prichard, Dan Wals


Michael Landon Jr., Cindy Kelley 
 

Free

Over the past week I added 56 free Kindle titles to my library. Titles found linked through Bookbub, Bookfun, Ereader News Today, Free Par-tay, Ignite Your Book, Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink or Kindle ebooks.

Sunday Words of Encouragement December 27, 2015

The sermon this morning was to prepare us for the New Year. It is a time to start fresh with new beginnings. People should make changes, letting go of old hurts and sorrows. Many people strive to be, or do, better in the new year. Of the 319 million people in the United States, 45% make resolutions (although only 8% or the 45% succeed). These are purposeful, intentional plans for change.
The #1 resolution for the followers of Christ should be to improve spiritually. We need to be intentional about loving God first.
Ephesians 4:22-23 Begins the steps: put off the old self which is separation from God. Put off self-centeredness and seek to serve. Submit to God and step out to a new path. Change for the right reason...to glorify God. He doesn't want perfect Christianity, He wants an open heart.
Implement the plan by:
1. Submitting your life to God.
2. Reading the Bible to keep God’s ways in mind each day.
3. Praying for God’s will in all things.
Satan will put up temptations, obstacles so we must be aware. God made people His priority and we need to follow His example. We do this through training. Just as a habit takes 21 days to make or break, we must train and stay in training to stay in shape.
Ephesians 4:25-31 provides a specific guide to actions to stop doing and verse 32 tells what actions we should do.

This is another song from our Christmas program.
Great words/message.
A Verse for Today:
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I appreciate the message this morning as I turn toward another New Year. If I decide to make a list of resolutions, growing closer to God will be #1 one the list.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sharing Beyond Books #233 December 26 2015

Hello again and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!
We have been enjoying the Christmas holidays with family. We are all going to see Star Wars at our local theater Saturday afternoon.
I do hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas or other Holiday.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.
Six of us have no children or grandchildren to spoil. Five of us admit to spoiling; another spoils with time (that's a good thing) and Sue thinks they would spoil because she spoils her furbabies. Fredamans spoils her children and furbabies. The remaining commenters try not to spoil. Carol L taught her seven (7!) children to be appreciative of what they had and received.

~~~~~

The Winner from SBB #232 comments is: #11 SUE who can make a GC choice if international or book choice from the Updated ARC/Review titles or (not yet updated) Love titles - all linked near the end of the post. I'm hoping to update the book choices - maybe the beginning of next year, lol. Please let me know your choice by completing the WINNER FORM.

WEEK #233
(One Question.)
Marjorie asks: 1) Have you tried Windows 10 yet. I have not and would like to know if it will give me any problems.?? (This was entered two months ago so I hope the info is still helpful.)
 We have installed Windows 10 at my office and at home. One of the office machines had a conflict with another program so it had to be uninstallled and reinstalled. Then it worked fine. We have had a few minor issues other than that, but for the most part we like Windows 10.
Image found at Windows Blog

Thanks to those who are sending in Questions. DON'T BE SHY! Surely everyone has a Q or two you'd like to ask. Input suggestions in this Suggested Question Form. At the end of each month I draw from the suggestions I used during the month and that person will get a book choice or GC. I thank everyone for submitting questions. Thanks for sending in questions! The supply of questions is dwindling so share some if you think of any -- even if they are duplicates I'll weed through or try to modify to use.
COMMENTS in December provided by: Natalija, Sue, Rubynreba and Marjorie. Random Org winner #3 - Rubynreba.

Your turn to share:
Marjorie asks: 1) Have you tried Windows 10 yet. I have not and would like to know if it will give me any problems.??

SBB Comment Winners can choose a selection from the Valentine and "Love" books or the February 2015 Newly Updated ARC/Review List. (My daughter pulled several of the Christmas titles to give with gift bags we made up for the nursing homes. One of these days I will get together a new box of Christmas titles.)

SBB Rules:
a) Must be a follower.
b) Share a comment on the question above.
Open internationally and an international winner may get a smaller book or a $5.00 GC if I decide the mailing is too much.
I will pick a Comment winner from all comments made through Saturday January 2, 2015 at 5 PM central.

Book Review: Xenonauts: Crimson Dagger by Lee Stephen

This is fast-based and entertaining story of a joint venture between Russians and Americans to battle aliens.
Xenonauts: Crimson Dagger
by Lee Stephen (Author), Francois Cannels (Illustrator),
  • File Size: 3309 KB
  • Print Length: 82 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Aside Publishing, L.L.C. (June 1, 2013)
  • ASIN: B00D52F1A4
Genre: Sci Fi, Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


The year is 1958. The Soviet Union and the United States of America are entrenched in a Cold War. But for Mikhail Kirov, captain in the Soviet Fourth Army, life is relatively idle. After serving honorably in Hungary, Mikhail is stationed to the base of Zossen Wünsdorf, south of Berlin, where he lives in a government-issued house with his wife and six-year-old daughter. Gone are the days of quelling the Hungarian Revolution. The biggest challenge he faces now is teaching his little girl arithmetic. But things are about to change.
An object of unknown origin has been intercepted over the Atlantic by the Americans. Nuclear missiles are launched. The object crashes in Iceland. In a tense moment of necessity, NATO contacts the Kremlin. The Americans need help.
Crimson Dagger serves as a prequel to the video game Xenonauts, by Goldhawk Interactive, a real time strategy game set in the Cold War era. It is a story about cooperation amid extraordinary circumstances as rival superpowers are forced into camaraderie to combat a superior foe. Selected as the leader of this unlikely alliance, Mikhail must set aside he and the Americans' differences as they enter the unknown side-by-side, prompting the question: is the enemy of one's enemy truly their friend?


Review:
Mikhail Kirov, a captain in the Soviet Fourth Army, is serving at a quiet station after his heroic efforts during WWII. He is trying to teach his six year old daughter mathematics but she is only interested in learning to be a soldier to fight the Americans. Kirov is pulled away from his family for a special assignment.

Kirov and a team of Russian top soldiers are teamed with a handful of American Green Beret specialists to face a mutual enemy. A ship, apparently alien, has been shot down over Iceland and the joint troop is being flown in to board the ship and stop the aliens before they can do further damage or call for aid.

There is some suspicion between the Russians and Americans so they plan to keep a close eye on each other. However, when they run into the large, lizard-like aliens with highly superior weapons, the trained soldiers must quickly decide who the true enemy is if they want to save their lives. A mighty battle ensues with much loss of life – on both sides. One of the aliens is able to project thoughts into the mind of the humans and it is not clear what the plans are -- whether for escape or reinforcements.

This is a fast-paced and (too) short story. Kirov is a dedicated, intense soldier and I liked his character (including his faith). I also liked the focused sniper, Nina. The aliens and their weapons and modes of travel are nicely creative. I am not familiar with the Xenonauts game and I was only sorry that this story didn’t have a sequel.

This is a title I picked out for “X” for my 2015 Alphabet Soup Challenge.

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway December 25, 2015 (Posted 12/26)

Happy Friday.
We have had family in town since Wednesday and I initially forgot about Friday post until it showed up in my calendar. Since it was Christmas day I figured everyone would understand if it was a day late. Christmas was a lovely day with family and no computers!

We are back to regular two random winners now.
I guess the next box of books will be posted in the new year. :-)

TO ENTER FRIDAY PICK
US Entrants: Leave a comment and tell me WHICH BOOK you would like to get from the Friday Pick lists.
INTERNATIONAL: Leave a comment indicating "Gift Card" (see further comments near the end of the post.)


CUT OFF TIME IS THURSDAY NIGHTS AT 9:00 PM CENTRAL so I do not have to stay up too late to do the winner post! I will randomly pick two winners to announce Friday mornings with the next Pick post.

Thank you to all who entered the December 18 Pick. There were two automatic wins this week. (I guess because so many have been winning this month.) Automatic wins are those who requested the book four times without other people asking for that book during those weeks. There were no blocked titles.
AUTO: 
Becky gets The Marriage Prize
 and 
Alyn gets The Maiden Bride
CONGRATULATIONS
to Random.org picked Winners from December 18 Pick:
Natasha gets Bloody Good
Natalija 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.}
This image is for December Birthdays - including mine on 12/27. :-)
Image found at Holy Family School.

New Book Group #62 November 6, 2015
(I was getting ready to leave the office and realized I hadn't taken the photo of the books yet.
I took this very quickly. I may try to get another next week but this will have to do for now.)

PAIRS
Joan Johnston – Colter’s Wife and The Rivals
Nora Roberts – Born in Ice and Carnal Innocence
SINGLES
The Wedding Night by Jane Ann Krentz
The Marriage Prize by Virginia Henley
In Shelter Cove by Barbara Freethy
Into the Valley by Rosanne Bittner
Never Look Back by Linda Lael Miller
The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver – CD Audiobook
Touch Me by Beverly Rae (personally autographed)
Driven by Desire by LuAnn McLane (personally autographed)
To Marry a British Lord by Judith Obrien
A Highlander For Christmas by Sandy Blair
A Midnight Clear by Katherine Stone (slight seam creasing)
Silver Bells by JoAnn Ross, Fern Michaels, Mary Burton, Judy Duarte


New Book Group #61 October 30, 2015
After I noticed the trend I went on a hunt for “bride” titles. I even pulled a couple from some of my long time collections(*). (But they are not getting read on my shelves.)

PAIRS:
Leigh Greenwood –  The Reluctant Bride and The Independent Bride
Jane Feather(*) – The Hostage Bride and The Accidental Bride
SINGLES:
The de Burgh Bride by Deborah Simmons
The Forever Bride by Evelyn Rogers (Seam creasing)
Short Straw Bride by Dallas Schultz
The Bride Thief by Susan Spencer Paul
Bride by Stella Cameron (Seam creasing) (*)
An Unwilling Bride by Jo Beverley (*)
Bride Enchanted by Edith Layton
The Maiden Bride by Linda Needham (hardback)
Bride of Lochbarr by Margaret Moore (*)
The Ideal Bride by Stephanie Laurens (*)
Honor’s Bride by Galye Wilson
A Necessary Bride by Debra Mullins
Border Bride by Deborah Hale


New Book Group #60 September 18, 2015
A set of "haunting" tales and a few mysteries for October!

Shannon Drake –  Realm of Shadows (Alliance Vampires#4) 
SINGLES:
Bloody Good by Georgia Evans
Cat of Nine Tales by Deborah Macgillivray
The Shadowing by Joan Overfield
The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands
Trilogy Of Mysteries Audio Book Shadow Prey, There Was A Little Girl, Smokescreen Audio Cassettes (NOT CDs)


New Book Group #59 July 31, 2015
A few more summer titles, historicals and mysteries!

ANTHOLOGIES:
Broken Vows, Mended Hearts by Lynn Stone, Gail Ranstrom and Anne O'Brien
3,2,1 Married! by Sharon Sala, Marie Ferrarella and Beverly Barton
SINGLES:
Cruise to a Wedding by Betty Neels
Little Girl Lost by Shirlee McCoy
You Don't Know Jack by Erin McCarthy

New Book Group #58 June 26, 2015
-- A few summer titles, a few mysteries, a few historicals...

SINGLES:
Sevant, The Awakening by L.L. Foster

New Book Group #57 May 1, 2015


SINGLES:
A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl
The Ruthless Greek's Virgin Princess by Trish Morey
Rally Fever by Crea Jones

New Book Group #56 March 20, 2015
(I'll try to get the rest linked another day.)

SINGLES:
The Sweetheart Dance by Patti Ann Colt
Raintree Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones (spine creases)

New Book Group #55 February 5, 2015
(I'll try to get the rest linked another day.)
SINGLES:
If I Had You by Deborah Bedford
The Man Who Ate the 747 by Ben Sherwood

New Book Group #54 December 26, 2014



SINGLES:
Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card - Tape Cassettes


BOX 4 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 47-53)

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Hidden Truth of Cytech's Randall Forty byVickie Kennedy
First to Fight Anthology
Jezebel by Katherine Sutcliff
The Commander by Kate Bridges
The Cinderella Plan by Margaret Daley
The Mr. & Mrs. Happy Handbook by Steve Doocy
A Garden of Friends by Penny Pierce Rose
Richard Paul Evans PAIR: The Looking Glass and The Carousel
Undateable by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle
Sleeping with Ward Cleaver by Jenny Gardiner


BOX 3 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 39- 47)

Shetland Summer by Janet Lynnford
Breakfast in Bed by Sandra Brown - Audio Cassette Tapes (link is for mass media version)
Cattle Rancher, Secret Son by Margaret Way
Whisper on the Wind by Joan Smith
Remember Me by Mary Higgins Clark
A Lady of Consequence by Mary Nichols
Sweet Talking Man by Betina Krain


BOX 2 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 24- 38)

Thinner by Stephen King
Foundation (Foundation Novels) by Isaac Asimov
Magic: The Gathering Distant Planes, An Anthology
The Willful Widow by Valerie King (spine wear)
Dancing on Snowflakes by Jane Bonander
An Honorable Man by Rosemary Rogers (spine creases)
A Courtesans Guide to Getting Your Man by Susan Donovan and Celeste Bradley -- NOTE This book has dog bite damage; it is missing half back cover and the edges of pages in the back third of the book... it does not effect the text but I will understand if no one wants this one
Tara Taylor Quinn: Father: Unknown and McGillus v.Wright
The Trailsman: Texas Lead Slingers by Jon Sharpe
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.


BOX #1 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 1- 23)

Circle of Stars by Anna Lee Waldo
Alien Chronicles - The Crimson Claw by Deborah Chester
Ghost Writer (Shivers #3) by M.D. Spenser
Death Angel by Linda Howard

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

I started Friday Pick on November 27, 2009 and in almost six years I have posted 62 groups of 16 (992) books to find new homes! (as of November 6, 2015).

I am happy to say that so far about 909+ 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. I periodically update the lists - deleting those won. You can still go to the Friday Pick list link to see older posts and the older lists book pictures if you want!

Note rules here regarding international entries.
Because postage to overseas can be prohibitive I am willing to give a $5.00 book certificate to international winners - Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, ARe, TWRP, ClassAct Books, eTreasures, Desert Breeze, 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 $7.00 and $10.00 and up. Since I would award $5.00 for The Book Depository to an international winner, as an alternative you may choose a smaller book and we will hope the postage will not exceed $6.00. If the postage is more, or if you want to pick a larger book and you are willing to pay any extra postage beyond the $6.00 I will work with you on that. This may not make a difference to many but if it helps one or two of you to give one of my books a home that will make me happy too. :o)

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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Audio Book Review: Goon Squad, Vol. 2: Without Sin by Jonathan L. Howard

This is another fun collection of unusual super-powered cops.
Goon Squad, Vol. 2: Without Sin
The Goon Squad, Book 2
Written by: Jonathan L. Howard
Narrated by: Gabrielle de Cuir, Nicholas Guy Smith

Length: 5 hrs and 14 mins
Series: Goon Squad, Book 2
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:09-28-15
Publisher: Skyboat Media, Inc.
Genre: Sci Fi, Comic Storytelling
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0


Publisher's Summary
An ongoing, episodic "prose comic" from which the pictures are summoned by the magic of words, Goon Squad is set in a version of modern-day Manchester. Its biggest divergence from the real city is that it - along with most other large urban centers - has a team of superheroes to protect it against unusual threats with which the conventional forces of law and order would have problems.
Goon Squad, Volume 2: Without Sin is composed of "A Star in Strange Ways", "Holy Fool", "Dead Man Tells Tale", "A Brief History of the Goon Squad", "Tale of Terror", and "Pomona Island", as well as an introduction read by the author.
©2014 Jonathan L. Howard (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc., and Skyboat Media, Inc.


Review:
This is the second volume of collected stories featuring the Special Talents Goon Squad characters. The action and fun continues. There is additional character development in this collection, which includes pieces sharing some history on problems suffered by Talos, additional information on Red Wolf, the beginnings of the longest member of the current team, Ian, the Revenant, and a brief history of the squad. Ian lapses into a coma while he is regenerating the arm he lost to the Exterminating Angel. He doesn’t want to dream but he does, experiencing a mixture of memory and fantasy that reveals how he gained his talent and drops hints of other mysteries. The final story introduces another villain for the squad to face.

The dry British wit shines throughout in the characters and storytelling. This is fun, comic-like entertainment. If a reader is interested in sampling this series I discovered a summer special that is free at Kindle: GOON SQUAD 2014 Summer Special.

Audio Notes: I liked the introduction by the author. The rest of the narration is shared by Gabrielle de Cuir and Nicholas Guy Smith. They do a good job infusing the nuances of the characters into the story. I enjoy this is audio format and recommend it as quick, fun listening.

I received this audio from Blackstone Audio through Audiobook Jukebox. It is part of my 2015 Audio Challenge.

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