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Sunday, May 31, 2015

It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday June 1, 2015

This meme starts at Book Journey! My prayers continue for Sheila as she struggles to regain her footing in a world forever changed for her family. I am glad to see she is reading and blogging a bit.


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.

Well here we are in June!  We got the massive State Data Call uploaded on Friday. Now I can catch up on legal work. :-) 

My reading was good but a bit pushed to get the scheduled reviews up. I only finished two books and almost complete on an audio.   I posted five reviews (one with giveaway) and posted the usual memes. :-)

I visited early in the week but then never got back to visit due to my working late, more computer troubles and finally crashing at the end of the week.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
Finished Reading:
1. eBook/Kindle


The Clockwork Crown (Clockwork Dagger Novels Book 2)
by Beth Cato
This is an engaging Steampunk. The review is linked above.
Click on book title for full description.




2. eBook/Kindle


Passionately Yours (The Hellions of High Street)
by Cara Elliott

I really enjoyed this series of fun historical romance.
The review and giveaway is linked above.
Click on book title for full description.




3. Audible/MP3


The Tempting of Thomas Carrick: The Cynster Novels, Book 21
Written by: Stephanie Laurens
Narrated by: Matthew Brenher
I actually have another hour or so to complete this but it will be done on Monday and I will post the review this week. 
I selected this title through Audiobook Jukebox.
Click on book title for full description.




Currently reading:
1. Print


The Cancer Solution: Taking Charge of Your Life with Cancer
by Jack C. Westman M.D. M.S.
I will finish this soon
and hope to post the review this week.
I received this for review through The Cadence Group.
Click on book title for full description.



2. eBook/Kindle


FORTUNE'S DETOUR: Prequel of THE DEKA SERIES
by Abigail Schwaig
I am enjoying this writing and looking forward to the plot development.
I received this from the Author at EPICon 2015.
Click on book title for full description.




3. Audio


Dawn of Destiny (Epic Book 1)
by Lee Stephen
I received this in Audio format for review
from iRead Book Tours
in prep of reviewing the 2nd book in the series.
Book Description
Publication Date: November 4, 2006
Some men go to war for the glory. Some men go to war to escape. For Scott Remington, war is entirely different. It is a belief. It is a calling. It is a destiny. Leaving everything behind-his fiancée, his future, his life-he embarks on a mission of faith into a battle he can barely understand. This is his story. This is his war. This is only the beginning.



4. Print


Lost Mission
by Athol Dickson
This is our Ladies Book Club book for June 6. I refused to pay the Kindle price so I had to order more imperfect copies when I got the chance. I hope I can get it read in time.
Product Description
Buried beneath the poverty-stricken barrios and wealthy enclaves of Southern California, a Spanish mission is uncovered during a construction project---along with evidence of a crime. When four people begin work on unraveling the mystery, they each face a moral dilemma. Will their choices perpetuate the very crime that doomed the mission hundreds of years before? 288 pages, softcover from Howard.


June/1/15- I am still up to date on Bible reading and greatly enjoying the readings-- It seems my eyes are open to more details and meaning.. 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.


No specific date: The Cancer Solution: Taking Charge of Your Life with Cancer by Jack C. Westman
June:
6/9 Audio - Dawn of Destiny (Epic Book 1) by Lee Stephen - iRead Book Tour
6/16 Outlaw Trigger (Epic Book 2) by Lee Stephen - iRead Book Tour
6/17 The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen
6/30 A New Hope (Thunder Point series) by Robyn Carr


I posted five reviews last week which only leaves one prior audio plus a the one finished this week. I am down to three NetGalley titles although I am struggling not to get more.
I hope to get to a TBR eBook next week this month.


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 no review titles this week.
I did purchase one print book for Ladies Book Club and one $.99 Kindle book.
I also received the free Audio download pair from SYNC.
Of course I downloaded more free kindle titles to my library.

(Although I have gotten to a couple, I still have many author requests, old and new ones, to consider and reply to.)
Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
None.

Won
None.

Purchased
I bought one book for Ladies Book Club.


Lost Mission
by Athol Dickson
I couldn't resist this for $.99
Valerie Comer, Narelle Atkins, Autumn Macarthur, Heidi McCahan, Lesley Ann McDaniel, Carol Moncado, Lynette Sowell, Jan Thompson, Marion Ueckermann

Free

Free Downloads from AudioFile SYNC 2015 for week four.

The Ring & the Crown
The Ring and the Crown
by Melissa De La Cruz
Sea HeartsRead by Jennifer Ikeda
Sea Hearts
by Margo Lanagan
Read by Eloise Oxer


Over the past week I added 43 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 May 31, 2015

Our Sunday School teacher continued with the study in Romans on not judging. This blended well with our communion message on putting unrest behind and partaking of the sacraments in a humble and worthy manner. I have really tried to boil down today's messages into little nutshells. There was more discussion and more scripture but I think (hope) I have captured the gist of it.

Romans 2:3 basically asks ‘What right have you to judge others and then think you will escape the judgment of God on your own sin?’ Sin is sin and we all are guilty. God’s loving kindness, forbearance and patience is intended to lead us to repentance. Romans 2:4.  It is intended to help us find a right standing with God, not to make us prideful thinking we are superior to others.

Likewise, advised our Pastor, the Lord hates those who stir up trouble in the community. Proverbs 6:9. If there is a spirit of unrest we need to seek out and address any issue directly and nip it in the bud. We need to discern the type of fruit Luke 6:43. Otherwise we need to turn away from restlessness that may be the yeast of criticism (Matthew 16:11) and seek God’s peace and grace.


This song seemed to fit today for those who have a restless spirit and need encouragement.
Hope in Front of Me by Danny Gokey.
A Verse for today:
Isaiah 30:15
For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, "In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength." But you were not willing,

I am ever so thankful for God’s patience and kindness towards me. It is by His Amazing Grace that I experience great joy. It is by His plan that I seek to share His love and joy with others while in this earthly world..

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sharing Beyond Books #205 Comment Giveaway May 30, 2015

Hello again on Saturday night and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!

Ohh - this was a tense week with a big data call due by June 1. I was home late three nights and had trouble
with internet one night and crashed at the end of the week.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.
Somehow it doesn't surprise me that most of us do not listen to a lot of music. :-) Only three of 14 commenters offered choices. Janhvi  suggested Demons by Imagine Dragons with Caressed by Ice. Nikki suggested Kelly Clarkson's Dark Side for the 50 Shades of Grey. Meredith suggested a song with witches (couldn't remember the name) for a scene in Outlander. Fredamans didn't have a song for a book but noted that some book titles make her think of a song  --  "Love Will Keep us together by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt always puts that 70's tune in my brain".
~~~~

The regular Winner from SBB #204 comments is: #7 Janhvi 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 this week. Please let me know your choice by completing the (new) WINNER FORM.

WEEK #205 (One Question.)

Q1. This is my question - one that came to me recently rather than from my list: Where do you get your reading selections (other than TBR books) and how do you choose??
A: As you all know I pick up a LOT of books for review. I am fortunate to have many books offered by publicists (Hachette, Sourcebooks and more); others I pick from Blog tours like Pump up Your Books, BookBlasts, iRead and more. Audios are often from Audiobook Jukebox and I do accept some titles from author inquiries. But here is the thing: I get so much email I often miss opportunities. This past year the Sourcebooks emails have been going into my promo folder so I have missed getting them. Recently I signed up for Edlewiess but I haven't gotten to  look at those weekly newsletters to select books yet. When I visit NetGalley I get tempted with so many good choices.

Sometimes it is just a matter of what I happen to see in a given week. I try to choose a variety in the genres I enjoy to keep things interesting. I also try to maintain a reasonable control on the number of books I select -- it would be so easy to get out of control! So I am now curious how everyone else picks up titles to read??
Image found at Bio Break

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 questions for May came from Miki, MaryP, Jess1 and Abby. Random.org picked 3 so Jess1 gets a book selection this month.

Your turn to share:
Q1. This is my question: Where do you get your reading selections (other than TBR books) and how do you choose??

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 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 June 6, 2015 at 5 PM  central.

Book Review and Giveaways: Passionately Yours (The Hellions of High Street) by Cara Elliott

This is another enjoyable adventure to conclude this engaging series.
Passionately Yours (The Hellions of High Street)
by Cara Elliott

  • File Size: 973 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Forever (March 4, 2014)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • ASIN: B00DTUHMU4
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0


Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only things they are encouraged to pursue are eligible bachelors. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .
PASSIONATELY YOURS
With her older sisters both happily married, Caro Sloane yearns for a romantic adventure of her own. Unfortunately the muddy, sulfur-scented waters of Bath seem the least likely setting for love or excitement. But the aspiring young poet soon finds inspiration when she runs into a familiar-and achingly handsome-Scottish laird.
Visiting Bath with his sickly sister, Alec McClellan is shocked to be reunited with Caro Sloane. He hasn't been able to forget the English beauty since their brief but exhilarating first meeting. But Bath is not nearly as serene as it appears, and soon Alec must protect Caro from a danger that threatens to extinguish the sparks flying between them. Little does he know that a bit of danger is exactly what Caro is looking for . . .


Review:
Caro is the youngest of the three sisters known as The Hellions of High Street. Their father was an explorer who believed his daughters should be as well educated as a son would be. They received a sound scholarly education as well as practical living experiences in how to manage in the wilds and how to escape or fight in dangerous situations. Each of the sisters found a release in writing under male pseudonyms: Olivia pens political essays, Anna publishes adventure romance novels, and Caro writes emotional, passionate poetry.

Caro has had her first season but didn’t meet any man who inspired her interests...except perhaps the summer before when she met the Scottish laird, Alec, with whom she had traded biting exchanges. Now she is in Bath with her mother. Seeking younger companionship Caro has befriended Isobel, who happens to be Alec’s sister.

Alec travels to Bath to visit his sister and is surprised to arrive just in time to rescue Isobel and Caro from an attack by ruffians. Alec has been involved with politics in Scotland but he has broken ties with a group that has turned violent. He suspects that perhaps that group plans to use his sister to threaten him.

Alec is a quite man who has closed his emotions due to a hurt in his past that he doesn’t like to discuss, even with his sister. He enjoys Caro’s unique lively personality and boldness but he believes that she deserves better than a man who has retreated from emotional involvement. Caro, on the other hand, suspects that there is a caring and warm heart lying hidden behind Alec’s scowls and grim demeanor.

Caro overhears a secret conversation that implies danger and violence. She thinks she heard a soft Scottish accent but she is unable to identify the speaker. Caro is wary when another very dashing and charming Scotsman strikes up an acquaintance with her but she is not sure who to believe - this stranger who implies evil danger about Alec, or Alec who refuses to answer her direct questions.

I didn’t find quite the depth in plot in this story as the first two as there seemed to be more focus on the personal tension and less danger and adventure in this tale. Still, once again, I enjoyed the tension between the hero and heroine that is developed with interesting sparks and teasing banter. Ms. Elliot does a lovely job with word phrasing for descriptions and engaging dialogue. There is a background of intrigue and Caro does ultimately get her own dangerous adventure.

This is the third story in the series which could be read as a stand alone. However, I encourage reading the stories in order just to enjoy them all.
Scandalously Yours 
Sinfully Yours

I received this title through NetGalley from Hachette/Forever in exchange for an honest review. It adds to my NetGalley Challenge and P in Alphabet Soup Challenge.



Buy Links:

About the author: Cara Elliott
Cara Elliott started writing Western novels at the age of five. However, she traded in her cowboy boots for Regency high-top Hessians after reading Pride and Prejudice in junior high school and hasn't looked back. She graduated from Yale University, and she now lives and works in New York City.
Social Media Links:


EXCERPT:
   “One would almost think you were going out of your way to avoid speaking to me.”
   “We’re speaking now,” he pointed out.
   “I would call it verbal sparring.” Caro edged around impatiently, forcing him to look her in the face. “But now that I have you alone, I’d rather not keep trading thrusts and parries. I would rather discuss far more important matters—such as whether you have learned anything new about the attack on your sister?”
   Pursing his lips, Alec shifted his stance just enough to allow him to return to his perusal of the lettering on the column. “Not really.”
   “Ye gods.” She restrained the urge to take hold of his arm and give him a hard shake.      “What sort of answer is that?”
   “The only one I intend to give,” he replied calmly.
   “Fine.” Caro watched the breeze ruffle his long hair, causing a tangle of red-gold strands to curl around his ear and dance down the freshly shaven line of his jaw. The faint scent of bay rum tickled at her nostrils.
   “Fine,” she repeated, after forcing herself to exhale. “Then I’ll just have to do a little poking around on my own.”
   That got his attention. He looked around abruptly, his gaze narrowing to a slitted stare.    The movement was quick, but not quick enough to hide the sudden darkening of his eyes.
   “That wouldn’t be wise,” he growled. “The only thing I will add for now is that you should stay well away from Edward Thayer.”
   “Why?”
   “Because…” He let out an exasperated grunt. “Must you always plague me with questions?”
   “I wouldn’t have to if you would stop treating me like a feather-headed wigeon.”
   Alec’s scowl became more pronounced.
   “Haven’t I proved myself trustworthy and capable?”
   A small muscle on his jaw twitched. “I am not at liberty to give you any more details right now. All I can say is that…” As he drew in a breath, he seemed to change his mind about what to say. “Thayer is a charming fellow. No doubt his smooth words are more to your liking.”
   Deciding Alec deserved a bit of teasing, Caro pretended not to notice the roughness edging his voice. “Yes, he’s exceedingly charming.”
   If his storm-blue stare squeezed any tighter, it would be sharper than a razor’s edge.
   “And scrupulously polite,” she added.
   Alec was becoming more flustered. Small sounds were beginning to rumble in his throat, like the growling of a bear. “I do not have Thayer’s gift of making myself agreeable. He has a honeyed tongue, which seems to appeal to all the ladies.”
   “Honey is, after all, a great deal more palatable than vinegar,” Caro pointed out.
   He now looked utterly nonplussed.
   Caro let him stew for a moment longer before huffing an exasperated sigh. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, give me some credit for having a brain, Lord Strathcona! Of course I don’t find Thayer appealing. When honey drips that freely, it ought to catch naught but flies.”
   The growls ceased.
   Caro waited for him to speak.
   Ever so slowly, Alec shifted his feet, stirring tiny puffs of pale dust beneath his boots.
   The flicker of dark leather caused a momentary spasm of doubt as she recalled her chilling encounter in the churchyard.
   Alec as evil? She couldn’t explain how, but she knew with a certainty that resonated right down to her very heartbeat that it couldn’t be true.
   “Are you saying you would trust my word over his?”
   “Yes, you big lummox! I don’t know why I should, but I prefer your snaps and growls.”
   A dappling of sunlight seemed to catch on the curl of his lashes, gilding them to a gleaming gold.
   “You are forthright, you are honorable in your own maddening way,” she went on. Oh, no man ought to have such beautiful eyes.
   She found herself staring, and at that moment, all rational thought seemed to dance away in the breeze. His face was utterly intriguing—a mix of chiseled planes and well-defined features that hinted at hidden secrets.
   “And… well, you are quite the most interesting man I have ever met.” Her legs suddenly seemed a little unsteady, so Caro reached out and caught hold of his lapels.
   Looking up, she found his mouth was only inches from hers.
   “Oh, bosh—I shall probably regret this…” Standing on tiptoes, Caro kissed him. Not a mere feathering of flesh against flesh, but a hard, hungry embrace that she let go on for far, far longer than any proper young lady should dare.
   “There, I have no doubt shocked you.”
   The tip of his tongue traced along the swell of his lower lip.
   “I imagine you think me a wanton hellion, and I suppose I am. It must be my eccentric upbringing. I don’t care very much for rules.”
   Caro knew she was babbling but she couldn’t seem to stop. “You may consign me to the Devil. But at least I shall dance a merry jig on my way to perdition.”
   Was that finally a hint of smile?
   She finally dared pause to take a breath. A long, shuddering breath. Now was the time to flee, before she made an even bigger fool of herself.
   But Alec suddenly shifted again, blocking her way.
   “I, too, shall probably regret this,” he said as he slowly circled his arms around her and pulled her close.
   She opened her mouth. To protest?
   Before she could make any sense of what she had set in motion, their lips met again, setting off a fierce jolt of fire.

GIVEAWAYS:
Rafflecopter:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/26635ce2207/?
a Rafflecopter giveaway



BONUS GIVEAWAY
ONE PRINT COPY (US/Canada only).
Graciously provided by the publisher:


(Don't forget to fill in the form for entry!
I have noticed a few commenters who forgot to enter through the Form.)
For 2 Extra Bonus entries (a) comment on the review,
OR
(b) visit THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE and tell me something you like/learned there
OR
(c) Tell us in the comment what bent your writing would take? Essays? Novels? Poetry? Other?

* This contest is open to US/CANADA only for Print Copy.
* This contest will close 5 PM (Central) June 6, 2015.
WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED after June 6, 2015.
Winners will have 72 hours to respond on the winners form linked in the announcement or by email.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Book Review: The Clockwork Crown (Clockwork Dagger Novels Book 2) by Beth Cato

I enjoyed this Steampunk with some unique, green, elements, a good pace and a sweet romance.
The Clockwork Crown (Clockwork Dagger Novels Book 2)
by Beth Cato
File Size: 1459 KB
Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (June 9, 2015)
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
ASIN: B00NLM6AJO
Genre: Steampunk
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


Book Description
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Rich in atmosphere, imagination, and fun, the action-packed, magic-filled sequel to The Clockwork Dagger is an enchanting steampunk fantasy, evocative of the works of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.

Narrowly surviving assassination and capture, Octavia Leander, a powerful magical healer, is on the run with handsome Alonzo Garrett, the Clockwork Dagger who forfeited his career with the Queen’s secret society of spies and killers—and possibly his life—to save her. Now, they are on a dangerous quest to find safety and answers: Why is Octavia so powerful? Why does she seem to be undergoing a transformation unlike any witnessed for hundreds of years?

The truth may rest with the source of her mysterious healing power—the Lady’s Tree. But the tree lies somewhere in a rough, inhospitable territory known as the Waste. Eons ago, this land was made barren and uninhabitable by an evil spell, until a few hardy souls dared to return over the last century. For years, the Waste has waged a bloody battle against the royal court to win its independence—and they need Octavia’s powers to succeed.

Joined by unlikely allies, including a menagerie of gremlin companions, she must evade killers and Clockwork Daggers on a dangerous journey through a world on the brink of deadly civil war.


Review:
Octavia and Alonzo are fleeing from several enemy groups. Apparently they, or more particularly, Octavia was betrayed by a friend and given over to enemies who would use her healing powers for their own rebellion goals. Octavia is a skilled Medician - a healer who uses magic, as well as herbs and natural potions. Her powers are tied to “The Lady”, an ancient tree which is hidden but whose powers are known to give life and death.

Alonzo was a Clockwork Dagger, an elite fighter, who was sent to assassinate Octavia but instead rescued her and helped her escape. Alonzo is handsome even with a metal leg and he is always a gentleman in his behavior with Octavia.

The pair are seeking ancient information about The Tree and how it might be impacting Octavia. Not only are her powers growing stronger but soon she is exhibiting other strange signs of growth. Alonzo agrees to participate in a dangerous arena event in order to gain more information. When Alonzo and Octavia become separated, Octavia finds unexpected but important help in the form of a new friend who will continue her quest with her. Alonzo has to try to catch up since it is his personal goal to be Octavia’s bodyguard.

I am very sorry that I did not get to read the first book. As this started I felt a bit lost trying to figure out the history. The author drips bits and pieces but doesn’t do a good job of bringing enough back-story to make a new reader totally comfortable. I felt disappointed that I did not have a better understanding of Alonzo’s background. Fortunately the relationship, and good repartee, between Octavia and Alonzo pulled me in as the story moved along. The romance is tender with nice underlying sensuality. I loved the chimera characters, even though their creation was a tragedy. I also loved the gremlins who added a great bit of whimsy and feeling to the story. I found the story creative with good twists so that it read quickly.

I recommend this to readers who enjoy strong fantasy, including steampunk elements, and engaging characters. I would suggest reading book 1 first to help understand the political struggles and the extent of danger threatening Octavia and Alonzo.

I received this title through Edelweiss for an honest review as part of Pump Up Your Book Tour.


To Purchase The Clockwork Crown

MEET THE AUTHOR:

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

She’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER steampunk fantasy series from Harper Voyager. The newest book, THE CLOCKWORK CROWN, comes out on June 9th, 2015.

Follow her at www.BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato.
For More Information Visit Beth at her website
or Visit her at the following locations:
Facebook
Twitter 

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway May 29, 2015

I am so glad it is Friday again... even though the week has flown by.
We have spent much time this week compiling the final data for the State report that is due. I haven't been home before 9pm for the past three nights. 
We've had several days with rain and a storm knocked out our internet again one night.
I still hope everyone is keeping safe in these bad weather systems.

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 to 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 May 22 Pick. There were two automatic wins this week.  Automatic wins are those who requested the book four times without other people asking for that book during those weeks. There was one title blocked and it was won.
Sorry -- Correction to last week: BETTY (not Becky) got The Darkroom
Carol NW gets McNally's Puzzle
Di gets Heart of the Wofl

CONGRATULATIONS
to Random.org picked Winners from May 22 Pick:
Becky gets the Virginia Henly pair (won through a block)
Faith Hope Cherrytea 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.}
How about this for 'pouring' books?
Image found at EndPaper

New Book Group #57 May 1, 2015
(I'll finish the list with authors on Saturday 5/2/15)
PAIRS:
Virginia Henley: The Dragon and the Jewel and Tempted
Jude Deveraux: The Invitation and Remembrance
Nora Roberts: The Heart of Devin MacKade and the Pride of Jared MacKade
SINGLES:
A Little Better Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl
Veil of Night by Lydia Joyce
World's Greatest Dad by Marie Ferrarella
The Ruthless Greek's Virgin Princess
Skin Game by Ava Gray
Special Agent
Heart of the Wolf by Terry Spears
Dean in The Water by Stuart Woods - Cassette Tapes
Rally Fever
Jack with a Twist by Brenda Janowitz

New Book Group #56 March 20, 2015
(I'll try to get the rest linked another day.)
PAIRS:
Dick Francis: A Jockey's Life and Proof (spine creases)
Catherine Lanigan: Tender Malice and Elusive Love (spine creases)
SINGLES:
Parent Trap Anthology, Dallas Schulze, Lisa Jackson, Kasey Michaels
Madison Avenue Marriage (Silhouette Desire #129) by Cassandra Bishop
The Sweetheart Dance by Patti Ann Colt
Ain't Myth-Behaving by Kate MacAlister
Death at Play by Nancy Gotter Gates
Where is He Now? by Jennifer Greene
Raintree Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones (spine creases)
Aphrodite's Secret by Julie Kenner
Virtually His by Gennita Low
Dead Even by Brad Metzger
Mommy Midwife by Cassie Miles
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks


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
Dark Possession by Christine Feehan
The Man Who Ate the 747 by Ben Sherwood
Paradise Bay by James Michael Pratt
Exclusive Anthology by Fiona Hood-Stewart, Sharon Kendrick and Jackie Braun


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 Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin
Maybe This Time by Victoria Barrett
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
Intrepid Encounter by Rebecca Ashley
A Stranger's Wife by Maggie Osborne
Richard Paul Evans PAIR: The Looking Glass and The Carousel
Duo Book: Yesterday's Memories by Tara Taylor Quinn and Amanda Stevens
At The Stroke of Madness by Alex Kava
Undateable by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle
Catherine Anderson PAIR: Seventh Heaven and Always in My Heart
Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
Sleeping with Ward Cleaver by Jenny Gardiner


BOX 3 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 39- 47)

Touched by Fire by Kathleen O'Reilly
Shetland Summer by Janet Lynnford
It All Began at Monte Carlo by Elizabeth Adler
Breakfast in Bed by Sandra Brown - Audio Cassette Tapes (link is for mass media version)
Mariah Stewart PAIR: Priceless and Brown-Eyed Girl
Cattle Rancher, Secret Son by Margaret Way
Whisper on the Wind by Joan Smith
Fulfillment by Barbara Delinsky
Trouble Becomes Her by Laura Van Wormer
Remember Me by Mary Higgins Clark
Diana Palmer PAIR: Diamond Spur, Long Tall Texan
A Lady of Consequence by Mary Nichols
Sweet Talking Man by Betina Krain
Illegal Possession by Kay Hooper


BOX 2 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 24- 38)

Final Justice by Jasmine Cresswell
Thinner by Stephen King
Foundation (Foundation Novels) by Isaac Asimov
Mary Higgins Clark PAIR: Let Me Call You Sweetheart and Moonlight Becomes You (SC)
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
The Millionaire's Daughter by Sophie Weston
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.
Bride by Command by Linda Winstead Jones
Awaken the Senses by Nalini Singh


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

Circle of Stars by Anna Lee Waldo
One Eye Closed by Karen Whiddon
The Darkroom by Minette Walters
Prey by Michael Crichton - Audio Tape
Alien Chronicles - The Crimson Claw by Deborah Chester
McNally's Puzzle by Lawrence Sanders
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 five+ years I have posted 54 groups of 16 (864) books to find new homes! (as of February 6, 2015).

I am happy to say that so far about 822+ 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!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Book Review: Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1) by Christi J. Whitney

This has unique elements and is an engaging story.
Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1)
by Christi J. Whitney
  • File Size: 1302 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (April 30, 2015)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • ASIN: B00MT9E66E
  • Genre: Paranormal, YA
  • My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0


Book Description
Publication Date: April 30, 2015
Sebastian Grey dreams of a girl. But when she turns up at school, Sebastian realizes that this isn’t your average teenage fantasy.
Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades, and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.
But when strangers arrive in town, Sebastian soon realizes that his world is nothing at all what it seemed. Secretive gypsies surround him, shadowy figures stalk him, and the girl he’s been dreaming about turns up at school.
Now Sebastian must protect this girl at all costs, even if it means he will never be normal again.


Review:
Sebastian has always been a quiet young man who has tried to lead a normal life. He enjoys his friends at school and looks forward to apprenticing at his foster brother’s tattoo shop. It doesn’t bother him that he doesn’t remember his life before he was adopted by a couple who left him with the elder ‘brother’, Hugo. But he is bothered by some strange dreams of a gypsy girl whom he struggles to protect.

Sebastian is startled when the girl of his dreams, Josephine, shows up at school and his compulsion to protect her intensifies. He is also troubled because his body is changing as though he is sick and his emotions have become strangely volatile. Hugo and his tattoo partners are keeping a close eye on him and finally explain to Sebastian that they are gypsies and that Sebastian has an important role in the family. They tell him to stay away from Josephine who is from a different clan, but they won’t give him more details.

The story has a bit of Romeo and Juliet family animosity, plus some other Shakespearean similarities that are well used. At first I found the teenage angst a bit trying but fortunately there are surprising elements in the story that kept my attention. I was frustrated that no one would talk straight with Sebastian even as they all wanted to manipulate him for their own uses. This works to keep Sebastian at odds, not knowing who he can trust when he most needs friends. Ms. Whitney manages to pull the reader into an emotional commitment with Sebastian. The romance with Josephine is a bit one sided considering she has a pre-arranged mate/boyfriend who, or course, takes an immediate dislike to Sebastian. But Josephine does seem to sense a special connection with Sebastian.

The writing flows well and I really enjoyed the unique issues of Sebastian’s character and circumstances. The author has presented a creative story and I will be interested to follow how Sebastian copes with his future challenges. I recommend this to readers who like a creative paranormal and are comfortable with some YA issues.

I received this title through NetGalley from the author for an honest review as part of Pump Up Your Book Tour. This is part of my NetGalley Challenge.


For More Information

AUTHOR:
Christi J. Whitney is a former high school theatre director with a love for the arts. She lives just outside Atlanta with her husband and two sons. When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she can be found directing plays, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, obsessing over Doctor Who, watching superhero movies, or pretending she’s just a tad bit British.
Her latest book is the young adult urban fantasy novel, Grey(The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1).
For More Information

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Audible Review: Gabriel's Redemption: Evan Gabriel Trilogy, Book 1 by Steve Umstead

This is an action packed story including betrayal and conspiracy.
Written by: Steve Umstead
Narrated by: Ray Chase
Length: 7 hrs and 59 mins 
Series: Evan Gabriel, Book 1
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:12-27-13
Publisher: Podium Publishing
Genre: Sci Fi Contemporary, Military
My Rating 4.0 of 5.0


Publisher's Summary
"A cast of interesting and believable characters and a plot that kept me listening…I enjoyed the author's take on technology and the political landscape of the future. Definitely recommended!" (Michael R. Hicks, bestselling author of the In Her Name science-fiction/adventure series and the bestselling thriller Season of the Harvest).
North American Federation Navy Commander Evan Gabriel was dishonorably discharged after a disastrous mission on a far off world called Eden. He's spent the last five years hiding from his past, from those responsible for the failed mission, from those responsible for running him out of the Navy, and from those originally responsible for making him into who he was - a highly-trained, physically and mentally augmented Special Forces soldier.
Two mysterious visitors appear unannounced at the door of a Gabriel's seedy hotel room in the slums of Jamaica. His past has finally caught up with him. From the decaying Caribbean to politically charged South America, from the back alleys of Mars to a tiny colony on a planet 600 light years from Earth, Gabriel's Redemption is a near-future military science-fiction story of a personal journey seen from the perspective of a soldier who has lost everything - one who desperately needs to redeem himself not only in his government's eyes, but also his own. Interstellar action and political intrigue mix with one-on-one battles on the surface of a frozen planet in Book One of the science fiction-adventure trilogy.
©2011 Steve Umstead (P)2013 Podium Publishing


Review:
Gabriel is out of the service having been discharged for a failed mission. He believes he is living under the radar until two men arrive at his door to tell him he is being called back into service by the very commander whom he believed betrayed his team. Gabriel is offered a chance to redeem his career standing if he will agree to lead a unique unit to a mostly forgotten colony planet. He is shown evidence that the colonists are taking chemicals from living indigenous creatures of the planet. The chemical is then being shipped out as a drug that is causing havoc among civilized worlds, including military troops.

Gabriel meets his team a only a few hours before they ship out. They may be an elite group but he isn’t sure he can truly trust them all. The intel they are given tells them there are not many colonists and they have minimal weaponry. Also they should have the advantage of surprise coming in with steal and sending the most up to date probes to line the entry path.

But things are not as they appear. Another, more ruthless, mercenary team of criminal hiding on Mars, has been equipped to go in behind Gabriel’s team as a “clean up” crew. These men have an inside connection that is going to mean major trouble for Gabriel’s team.

Meanwhile a corrupt leader is conspiring with South American political rebels in a plot to overthrow current leaders. These pieces tie together if only Gabriel can survive and return to earth to reveal the proof of the conspiracy.

Events unfold at five different locations and with five different sets of characters which makes for a bit of confusion. However, if you persevere through the angles, there is great action and intrigue. I enjoyed getting to meet several team mates and hope that they might appear again. At least one important contact does remain on board for the next book. I recommend this series to readers who enjoy strong intrigue and military action.

Audio Notes: I soon re-acclimated to the voice of Ray Chase and became absorbed in the action. I am enjoying this series in audio format.

I owned the Kindle version so I was able to get the Audible at a reduced price in May with part of a $10.00 credit. :-). It adds to my Audio Challenge.

Audible Review: Gabriel: Zero Point: The FREE Prequel Novella: Evan Gabriel Trilogy by Steve Umstead

This is fast paced military action with a creative story.
Gabriel: Zero Point: The FREE Prequel Novella: Evan Gabriel Trilogy
Written by: Steve Umstead
Narrated by: Ray Chase
Length: 2 hrs and 43 mins
Series: Evan Gabriel, Book 0.5
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:12-27-13
Publisher: Podium Publishing
Genre: Sci Fi Contemporary, Military
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0


Publisher's Summary
Evan Gabriel wasn't always a feared and respected North American Federation Navy Commander. Before dangerous missions to the ice-bound planet of Poliahu, the deadly jungle world of Eden, and politically corrupt Mars, he was a simple recruit, fighting to make his mark in the elite Naval Special Forces…and was part of a top-secret military experiment that would change his life forever.
Zero Point tells the tale of a young man faced with difficult choices and dangerous trials. Fans of the series will see part of the mysterious past Evan Gabriel carries with him, while listeners new to the series get a preview of what is to come in a military man's haunted life. Zero Point is the true beginning of Evan Gabriel, and his story is just getting started.
©2012 Steve Umstead (P)2013 Podium Publishing


Review:
Gabriel was a young soldier in training whose high level skills caught the eyes of superiors, including a special recruiter. Gabriel has the right profile - no family and no real friends because his loyalty takes precedence over personal relationships. A tough Naval commander offers Gabriel the chance to become part of an elite division of the Naval Special Forces. Gabriel accepts even though he doesn’t have the full details.

Gabriel is delivered to a secret laboratory for special work to prepare for his new career. There he learns that he is about to become a ‘super soldier’ with physical and mental augmentation. He doesn’t get much time to consider the program before a sad technician/scientist thrusts him into a tank for the changes. When Gabriel awakens he finds himself at a zero point - reborn with powers he will have to get used to on the run. The technician is missing and there is a blood trail across the floor.

Gabriel sets out to find the girl and quickly faces multiple attackers, booby trapped hallways and wicked, multi-weaponed assassins. Gabriel suffers wounds that his new body works on healing internally. He successfully faces down all obstacles only to come face to face with a master enemy when he finally reaches the room and finds the technician.

I enjoyed the fast pace action and detailed military maneuvers that were described in this novella. I appreciated Gabriel’s background as the author develops his character. The reader also gets to meet certain military officials whom suspect I will be appearing in further books in the series. The story is direct and believable. I was pleased to have this as a free audio which did result in my purchase of the first full novel in the trilogy: Gabriel’s Redemption.

Audio Notes: It took just a little time to get used to the deep soft voice of the narrator. Ray Chase does a good job presenting the story with intensity that portrays the personalities of the characters. It was nice that this was a quick listen, under three hours, to garner interest in the series. It also included the beginning of book 1 which I enjoyed until I downloaded that book. I recommend this on audio as a quick, exciting listen.

I downloaded this free prequel at Audible. This is part of my Audio Challenge. It is also G on Alphabet Soup Challenge.

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