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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Audible Book Review: Derelict by LJ Cohen

This is a YA sci fi with some interesting dynamics; engaging enough.
Written by: LJ Cohen
Narrated by: Bill Burrows

Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
Series: Halcyone Space, Book 1
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:06-02-15
Publisher: Interrobang Books
Genre: Sci Fi, YA
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
When Rosalen Maldonado tinkers with the derelict freighter, she's just hoping to prove she deserves a scholarship to University. She certainly doesn't count on waking the ship's damaged AI or having three stowaways, Micah Rotherwood and brothers Jem and Barre Durbin, along for the ride. They all have their private reasons for hiding aboard and lives they are seeking to escape, but if the accidental crew can't work together and learn to trust each other, they'll die together, victims of a computer that doesn't realize the war ended decades before any of them were even born.
©2014 Lisa Janice (LJ) Cohen (P)2015 Lisa Janice (LJ) Cohen

Rosalen is a young teen who is brilliant with computers. Her cold hearted and abusive father refuses to sign papers for a university scholarship. Ro begins to tinker with a derelict freighter moored outside of their space station. She runs into another troubled teen, Micah, the son of one of the higher ranking officers. Micah is doing secret botany experiments on the freighter. Ro suspects his work may be illegal but she is willing to keep his secrets in exchange for hers.

Ro discovers another hidden cargo on the freighter that she thinks is connected to her own father. She is intent on getting the derelict ship to operate to show her own skills even if that action plays into her father’s plans. Ro enlists help from a younger friend, Jem, who has great programming skills. Jem doesn’t realize Ro’s intent but when he begins to think she can activate the ship he drags his brother Barre onto the ship too. Barre is a gifted musician but their doctor parents don’t appreciate his music. They are ready to send him away which would separate the brothers.

Ro manages to activate the damaged AI on Halcyone. When the ship takes off like a scared rabbit, it takes the combined efforts of Rosalen and Jem, with surprising input from Barre, to get and keep control of the AI. The teens are all in trouble just for being on Halcyone but they face greater danger from two leaders back on the station who are intent on getting the ship’s hidden cargo. They will take drastic measures, without regard to the lives of the teens, to complete their covert plans.

The story has some usual YA elements including dysfunctional parents and teenage angst as they try to establish independence. Each of the four teens struggles in their family settings with different reactions. I liked the inclusion of the AI as a side character and really enjoyed the unique interplay of the characters’ skills that allowed the teens to succeed only by working together. I didn’t care for the handling of the friendship of Ro with another female working in communications. The story moves a bit slowly at first with the introduction and development of the characters. Further on there is good action and suspense.

There are some unrealistic events near the end, but the ending leaves the storyline open to allow more adventures for Halcyone and the teens. I would like to listen to the next book to see where the author takes the characters. I recommend this particularly to readers who like easy sci fi.

Audio Notes: Bill Burrows does a good job with the character voices and the portrayal of emotions. I am pretty sure I would not have enjoyed reading this in print/ebook as much as I enjoyed listening to it.

I received this audio from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox. This qualifies for my Audio Challenge and the March 2016 TBR Challenge.

Book Review: Chakana: Encounter In The Sacred Valley by W.E. Lawrence

This is a fast paced and exciting ‘Indiana Jones’ style adventure with romance.
Chakana: Encounter In The Sacred Valley
by W.E. Lawrence
File Size: 2617 KB
Print Length: 346 pages
Publication Date: January 4, 2016
Genre: Action Adventure
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

In 1940, James Fleming, the original British secret agent, races on a high-stakes mission to track down the lost Incan treasure of King Huascar. Along with Kate Rhodes, a policewoman on leave from Ohio, he decodes clues and faces the challenges of the Chakana designed to allow only the most devoted to escape alive.

Among the ancient ruins of Peru, disaster hides around each corner as they battle Incan death traps and an international artifact smuggler who will do anything to acquire the hidden wealth. If James and Kate fail, the Nazi’s Third Reich could win WWII and take over the world. Intrigue, danger, adventure, and even romance abound in this quest to save the free world.

James Fleming was a young British Officer in training in America when he was rescued from a marshy bog by the lovely, young Kate Rhodes. Years later he is surprised when Kate shows up in Peru looking for her brother, a missing archaeologist. Kate has accompanied a professor of antiquities who is helping unravel the puzzle of an Incan decoding machine marked by the Chakana, an Incan cross shape. Such hidden instructions usually lead to a treasure of gold!

James isn’t in Peru for a treasure hunt exactly. He is undercover trying to catch a big time smuggler, Soros, who poses as a legitimate artifacts dealer. Solos is intent on finding gold to invest in the Nazi’s Third Reich so it is of utmost importance that James stop him from getting to the treasure. Soros is smart and ruthless. He will torture for information and kidnap parties of interest to get what he wants.

James and Kate make a good team hunting and collecting the clues needed to complete the decoding box. Many of the clues require two people and not just any two, but two lovers. James and Kate figure they can pretend or bluff their way through the challenge but the Incan traps have planned otherwise.

I greatly enjoyed the puzzle challenges and the dangerous escapes that James and Kate face and mostly conquer. I was a little surprised by the intensity of the sexual scenes in a story set in the 1940s, but what was I thinking? Twenty somethings are sensual beings whether in the 1880s, the 1940s or present day. Given Kate’s strong minded independence, standing up for herself as a police officer in a man’s world, I shouldn’t have found her liberated behavior that surprising.

The story moves at a good pace with Indiana Jones type of villains and dangers. The writing is crisp and flows well. The relationship between Kate and James is warm and I enjoyed how the ending left room for future development and adventures for the pair. There were several good history tidbits that I liked and found informative. This is worth the purchase for readers who enjoy action and adventure with romance.

(There was a glaring misuse of grammar that should have been caught in editing. Since I read a NetGalley version I will not note the specific phrase here but I will note it in my comments to the publisher.)

I received this from the publisher through NetGalley. It qualifies for NetGalley Challenge, TBR Triple Dog Dare, C on Alphabet Soup and March 2016 TBR Challenge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book Review: The Cracked Spine: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Paige Shelton

This is a delightful, engaging cozy mystery with grand characters and an interesting setting.
The Cracked Spine: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery
by Paige Shelton

Series: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery
File Size: 1422 KB
Print Length: 305 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 29, 2016)
ASIN: B0151U7X3A
Genre: Cozy Mystery
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Wanted: A bold adventurer who wants to travel the world from a comfortable and safe spot behind a desk that has seen the likes of kings and queens, paupers and princes. A humble book and rare manuscript shop seeks a keenly intelligent investigator to assist us in our search for things thought lost, and in our quest to return lost items to their rightful owners.

Never an adventurer, no one was more surprised than Delaney Nichols when she packed her bags and moved halfway across the world to Edinburgh, Scotland to start a job at The Cracked Spine, a bookshop located in the heart of the city. Her new boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the opportunity of a lifetime, albeit a cryptic one, and Delaney can’t wait to take her spot behind the desk.

The Cracked Spine is filled with everything a book lover could want, each item as eclectic as the people who work there; the spirited and lovable Rosie, who always has tiny dog Hector in tow; Hamlet, a nineteen-year-old thespian with a colored past and bright future; and Edwin, who is just as enigmatic and mysterious as Delaney expected. An extra bonus is Tom the bartender from across the street, with his cobalt eyes, and a gentle brogue—and it doesn’t hurt that he looks awfully good in a kilt.

But before she can settle into her new life, a precious artifact goes missing, and Edwin’s sister is brutally murdered. Never did Delaney think that searching for things lost could mean a killer, but if she’s to keep her job, and protect her new friends, she’ll need to learn the truth behind this Scottish tragedy.

Delaney, who loves books and old things, was laid off from her museum job in Kansas where she has lived her whole life. When she sees an ad for a ‘bold adventurer to search for lost things’ she decides to journey to take a job at ‘a humble book and rare manuscript shop’…in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Delaney arrives in Edinburgh excited to start her job at The Cracked Spine. She is helped by a friendly cabdriver, Elias, who practically adopts her. Delaney meets her boss, the wealthy and seemingly eccentric Edwin, and co-workers, the young acting student, Hamlet, and a mostly cheery bookkeeper, Rosie, with her shoulder ‘drape’ dog, Hector. Delaney spends one day with Edwin at a secretive auction where she meets three of his friends who express worries about Edwin and his sister, Jenny, who was supposed to join them but didn’t show. Before Delaney can even explore the overstuffed bookshop with its secret nooks, or learn her duties at work, tragedy strikes when Jenny is murdered.

Delaney has a special knack for finding lost things, especially books. It seems that a special item has gone missing and it may be related to Jenny’s murder. Was she killed because of the object? Did the object lead Jenny to the wrong people? Were any of Edwin’s friends involved? Even Hamlet is carefully questioned by the detectives. Delaney enlists the help of her new friend, Elias, to run her around town to do her own questioning of suspects, while Elias’ wife helps put together pieces of a torn letter Delaney slipped out of Jenny’s apartment. As Delaney relentlessly pursues the murder mystery, she gets the chance to flirt with sparks of romance with a handsome barman who owns the smallest pub in Edinburgh.

I was pulled in by Delaney’s warm character, and the promise of a fun story, within the first chapter. I liked each new character as they were introduced and enjoyed the character development. The mystery was well plotted with a twist that kept the murderer a surprise till the end. Not only is Delaney's investigation engaging, I also enjoyed the vivid descriptions and the Gaelic accents that the author shares.

This is a wonderful cozy mystery and I do hope there will be more in this series with these friendly and quirky characters. I noted this book is offered in audio. I listened to the sample and I think it would be a really fun listen. I am inclined to check out more series by Paige Shelton in the meantime. I highly recommend this to readers who enjoy a good, cozy mystery with warm characters and lovely setting.

I received this through NetGalley for an honest review. It qualifies for my NetGalley Challenge and TBR Triple Dog Dare as I selected this back in December, 2015.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Post March 27, 2016/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday March 28, 2016

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 pretty good week just working away. 
Saturday my DH and I drove off and spent a nice day with family.
We did get a quick cold snap and the rest of the week has been rainy.

I hope everyone enjoyed a lovely Resurrection Sunday!

Reading was very good. I finished five books (three ebooks and two audios this week).  I posted three reviews, one with tour giveaway, one challenge update and my other usual memes and posts.

Again, I enjoyed visiting other blogs early in the week. I had hoped to do more later but that didn't happen.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • Book Review and Tour Giveaway: The Ethical Coach Leader by Dwight Johnson; Personal Growth; my rating 4.25.
    Win 1 of 5 print copies. (USA & Canada); Ends 4/7/16

Finished Reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (NG)

Chakana: Encounter In The Sacred Valley
by W.E. Lawrence
I am 60% into this adventure - scavenger hunt to a treasure.

Click on book title for full description.

2. Audio/MP3 (ABB)

Northern Lights: A Scorched Earth Novel
Written by: Boyd Craven III
Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
I have started this and it is a stand alone in the series.
I received this audio from the narrator through Audiobook Blast.
Click on book title for full description.

3. eBook/Kindle (Tour)

The Ethical Coach Leader
by Dwight Johnson
This sounds interesting and timely.
I received this title through iRead Book Tours for review on 3/24.

Click on book title for full description.

4. Audio/MP3

The Cracked Spine: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery
by Paige Shelton
This fun sounding mystery releases 3/29/16.

I received it through NetGalley.
Click on book title for full description.

5. Audio/MP3 (ABJ)

Written by: LJ Cohen
Narrated by: Bill Burrows
This is a YA sci fi with some interesting dynamics. Engaging enough.
I received this audio from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox.
Publisher's Summary
When Rosalen Maldonado tinkers with the derelict freighter, she's just hoping to prove she deserves a scholarship to University. She certainly doesn't count on waking the ship's damaged AI or having three stowaways, Micah Rotherwood and brothers Jem and Barre Durbin, along for the ride. They all have their private reasons for hiding aboard and lives they are seeking to escape, but if the accidental crew can't work together and learn to trust each other, they'll die together, victims of a computer that doesn't realize the war ended decades before any of them were even born.
©2014 Lisa Janice (LJ) Cohen (P)2015 Lisa Janice (LJ) Cohen

Currently reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (Tour-NG)

Nobody But You (Cedar Ridge
by Jill Shalvis
I haven't read this author in a bit.
I am only 10% in and enjoying the characters.
I received this as part of tour for review on April 2.
After an overseas mission goes wrong, Army Special Forces officer Jacob Kincaid knows where he must go to make things right: back home to the tiny town of Cedar Ridge, Colorado. All he needs to scrub away his painful past is fresh mountain air, a lakeside cabin, and quiet solitude. But what he discovers is a gorgeous woman living on a boat at his dock.

Sophie Marren has nowhere else to go. She's broke, intermittently seasick, and fighting a serious attraction to the brooding, dishy, I'm-too-sexy-for-myself guy who's now claiming her dock. Something about Jacob's dark intensity makes her want to tease-and tempt-him beyond measure. Neither one wants to give any ground . . . until they realize the only true home they have is with each other.

2. eBook/Kindle/Print (LBC-TBR)

by Karen Hancock
I have had this in print for over a year for my Ladies Book Club (LBC).
I bought the kindle version since this is for discussion 4/2/16.
A journey she did not choose will test her courage and change her life forever

When Callie Hayes agreed to participate in a routine psychology research experiment, she had no clue she'd find herself plunged into a terrifying world where a battle rages between good and evil. With limited resources and only a few cryptic words to guide her, she must unravel the mysteries shrouding her only route of escape or risk succumbing to the deadly deception of the Arena.

Multiple-award-winning author Karen Hancock leads readers on a mesmerizing journey as her compelling characters navigate the deadly terrain of a hostile world in this repackage of her acclaimed debut novel.

3. Audible/MP3

Fire Touched: Mercy Thompson Series, Book 9
Written by: Patricia Briggs
Narrated by: Lorelei King
I enjoy this series so I will listen to this next.
I just picked this up with February Audible credit.
Publisher's Summary
Mercy Thompson has been hailed as "a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself."* Now she's back, and she'll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it's the children who suffer....
Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.
Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?
*Library Journal
©2016 Hurog, Inc. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

4. eBook/Kindle (NG)

What We Find
by Robyn Carr
This releases on April 5 and I will post the review then. 
I received this through NetGalley and Little Bird Publicity.
Join Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Virgin River and Thunder Point series, as she explores the healing powers of rural Colorado in a brand-new story of fresh starts, budding relationships and one woman's journey to finding the happiness she's long been missing.

Between the urban bustle of Denver and the high-stress environment of a career in neurosurgery, Maggie Sullivan has hit a wall. When an emergency high-risk procedure results in the death of a teenager, Maggie finds herself in the middle of a lawsuit—and experiencing levels of anxiety she's never faced before. She knows she needs to slow down before she burns out completely, and the best place she can think to do that is Sullivan's Crossing.

Named for Maggie's great-grandfather, the land and charming general store at the crossroads of the Colorado and the Continental Divide Trails have been passed down through the generations and now belong to Maggie's eccentric father, Sully. When she shows up unannounced, he welcomes her with open arms, and she relishes the opportunity to indulge in his simple way of life.

But shortly after arriving, Maggie's world is rocked once again and she must take on more responsibility than she'd planned. Though she's relieved a quiet and serious-looking hiker, Cal Jones, is willing to lend a hand, Maggie is suspicious of this mysterious man's eagerness to help—until she finds out the true reason for his deliberate isolation.

Though Cal and Maggie each struggle with loss and loneliness, the time they spend together gives Maggie hope for something brighter just on the horizon…if only they can learn to find peace and healing—and perhaps love—with each other.

February 28, 2016- up to date -
Reading The One Year Bible again along with my husband and others from our church.
I will also be listening (sometimes) to the companion commentary online.

I posted three reviews last week which was one short of what I wanted to do. Now I have which leaves four for this week.

I just have one more of my March scheduled reads to post. 
I have these reviews scheduled for April:
April 2 Tour Review: Nobody but You by Jill Shalvis (NG)
April 2 Discussion Ladies Book Club: Arena by Karen Hancock
April 5 Release day Review: What We Find by Robyn Carr (NG)
April 23 Tour Review The Path by Peter Riva (iRead)

After the first week I can start the five author reviews committed with no specific dates. My NetGalley shelves are down to 6 books now.

I didn't get a title up last week but hope to get another this week at eTreasure's NetGalley.

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'm still holding off on more author ebooks and NetGalley books until I complete the ones on hand.
TBR Triple Dog Dare update: It has been 87 days and, other than picking audible credits and buying a kindle version of a print book I have, I only bought one $.99 Kindle book.
I added more free kindle titles to my library.

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles

by Karen Hancock
I have had this in print for over a year for my Ladies Book Club (LBC) and pulled it to read this week.
See more description above under current reading.




Over the past week I added 49 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 Encouragment March 27, 2016 - Celebrate Resurrection Day!

We had another good Sunday School message this morning acknowledging the joy of Resurrection Sunday! The message was entitled: When Jesus Failed to Meet Expectations. All of Jesus’ followers expected him to lead a rebellion; to be the King of the earthly realm. He performed miracles and taught with wisdom. He was welcomed into Jerusalem as a King. But instead of challenging the government, he went to the temple and challenged the religious leaders. He preached humility, love and peace. His followers became disillusioned. Doubts were stirred and spread.

Some might say Jesus was an innocent victim. He may have been innocent but he was no victim. Rather he was the conductor. Christ orchestrated events; he pushed against the religious leaders, purposefully challenging them and publicly shaming them so that the events that were prophesied could be accomplished. Christ did not do as his followers expected. Instead, he completed the mission for which he was born. He completed the plan of salvation as directed by God the Father.

Pastor’s message was titled: “It is Finished.” He noted that Christ had to complete the work that was planned before the world was created. On earth we often do a job but it needs maintenance or has to be redone a few years later. The Israelites spent much of their time offering sacrifices to atone for their sins. They struggled to fulfill the commandments and all of the rules and regulations given by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Many became frustrated especially when they saw the ‘freedom’ of the neighboring peoples. Over the years it became more and more difficult to remain a pure people, set apart for God. Finally, the Israelites lost their land and were sent into exile as punishment for their disobedience.

The redeeming salvation of God is prophesied throughout the old testament. Christ came as the fulfillment of God’s plan. He became the holy lamb to sacrifice his blood to save all men… anyone who believes. The work that Christ preformed was done once and for all time. He faced the demons of hell and conquered death so that those who accept God could have eternal life. When he went to the cross he announced “It is finished.” The work stands…for all time…forever.

A wonderful song that would fit is Forever, He’s Alive by Kari Jobe. 
However, I used that last year. 
I choose this song, which fits with the Sunday school message 
and as another beautiful celebration of the resurrection morning!
Then Came the Morning.

Verses for Today:
1 Peter 1:18-21 NIV
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Thank you Lord Jesus for being my Savior!

Sharing Beyond Books #245 Comment Giveaway March 26, 2016

Hello again and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!
This post is late as my husband decided pretty much last minute to drive several hours to visit with our son and d-i-l and granddaughter. D-i-l and Sweet Pea will be traveling to China next week to visit family so we wanted to see them before they were gone for several weeks. DH & I went for lunch and ended up staying through dinner. We had a lovely visit but  didn't get home until after 10:15pm.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.

Except for two of us, we agreed that we had been disappointed by books that were hyped and/or popular. As Natalija said: these are 'it's me, not you' situations. Fredamans noted it as 'to each his own' and Nikki said sometimes it was due to a mood and she would try again too.  Llehn and Alyn read the negative reviews to get a balanced report and Miki relies on bloggers who have similar tastes to her own.


The Winner from SBB #244 comments is: #1 Llehn 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 #245
(One Question.)
Becky asks: 1)Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets???
I definitely see more sunsets than sunrises so maybe that is why I think I prefer sunrises - though I like both!
This is a picture of sunrise my DH took; From Scandinavian Cruise
This is a picture of sunset that I took the night before; From Scandinavian Cruise

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.
Thank you to March Contributors: Natalija, Rubynreba, Marjorie and Becky. picked 1 so Natalija gets a GC.

Your turn to share:
Becky asks: 1)Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets??

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 April 2, 2016 at 5 PM central.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Audible Book Review: Good Fences: A Scorched Earth Novel by Boyd Craven III

I really enjoyed this engaging post EMP strike story.
Good Fences: A Scorched Earth Novel
Written by: Boyd Craven III
Narrated by: Kevin Pierce
Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:12-11-15
Publisher: Boyd Craven III
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Sci Fi
My Rating: 4.5 0f 5.0

Publisher's Summary
Brian Cartwright just wants to work and run his farm in peace. The police keep showing up as the HOA from the new neighborhood keeps filing nuisance complaints against him and his farm. What makes matters worse, his former boss George and his son built a big house overlooking the farm. His prepping lifestyle and following the news online is his only other hobby other than church activities.
George's son is the teenager responsible for causing the accident that killed Brian's wife. Every interaction with the power hungry father drives him insane. To make matters worse, George's son has been trespassing and gets injured on Brian's property causing him to build bigger and taller fences.
The neighbors that once shunned Brian Cartwright now need him like never before. America has been attacked with an EMP and they find themselves requiring the help of the widowed farmer the same time he realizes he needs them as well.
When things get dicey, can they mend the wall, or do good fences make good neighbors?
©2015 Boyd Craven III (P)2015 Boyd Craven III

Brian Cartwright was happy with his life until his car was hit by a drunk driver, killing Brian’s wife. The teen driver was the son of Brian’s boss who arranged to get all charges dropped while he also cut Brian’s insurance and terminated his position. Brian moved to his family’s closed up farm where he could try to heal. Brian is a prepper and he is glad to rebuild the farm and store up supplies for days of trouble.

But all is not quiet on the farm. His old boss, George, built an upscale subdivision on the adjacent land. George is repeatedly sending the cops to the farm to complain of animal smells, gun shots or any other excuse he can make. Brian decides to raise his fences and set up a large gate trying to keep his neighbors out.

Then an EMP strike changes everything. Brian and a handful of his closest friends set up on the farm. This group includes a young widow, Lucy, and her toddler son, Spencer, who met Brian while he was building the bigger fence. The neighbors aren’t prepared for loss of power, water and food. They resent the fact that Brian and his friends have survival supplies and they begin to grumble and threaten the farmsteaders. Brian has to make hard decisions and tensions quickly build. News comes of a more brutal outside threat that is headed towards their community. Can the neighbors find a common ground and plans to help each other to move forward and to stand against the outside threat?

I was drawn in by Brian’s character and the story became even more engaging with the inclusion of Lucy and Spencer. Brian’s other friends are reasonably developed characters too. The story portrays real-to-life issues and mostly realistic difficulties and conflicts that would arise from an EMP strike. There are prepper sites and resources shared through the dialogue in addition to aspects of prepper survival. The story moves at a steady pace, is a nice length and I found it completely engaging.

I like this post-apocalyptic genre and I am interested in reading/listening to more of Mr. Craven’s Scorched Earth series. I suggest this is a must to add to reading lists for readers who enjoy the genre. I also recommend it to those who enjoy strong social and family drama. Caution – there is some foul language, which I found a shame but I still enjoyed the overall package.

Audio Notes: Kevin Pierce does a wonderful job of narration. He captures the different character voices and moves the story along. I was wrapped up in the listen and had a hard time turning it off.

I picked this up with an Audible credit recently as I received the second book for review through Audiobook Blast.

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway March 25, 2016

Happy Friday!
Spring has sprung: azaleas, dogwoods, blueberries and more blooming! Hope the frosty morning this week didn't hurt all the plants we moved back outside. 
My week has been pretty productive. I slowly complete one project after another. 
I hope everyone else is enjoying the budding of spring... or for some the cooling to autumn.
[I finally got the picture of the current book list.]

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 March 18 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 were two blocked titles this week.
Natasha gets Warrior Ascended
Betty gets Presidential Antidotes

to picked Winners from March 18 Pick:
Llehn gets a GC
Rita gets Guilty Pleasures

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.}
It is time for planting and isn't this an awesome illustration!

New Book Group #64 March 4, 2016

Elizabeth Boyle: His Mistress by Morning and This Rake of Mine (The Bachelor Chronicles Book 2)
Kay Hooper: If There Be Dragons and The Matchmaker
Lisa Jackson: Left to Die and Twice Kissed
Guilty Pleasures by Stella Cameron
The Theft by Andra Kane
Bed of Roses by Katherine Stone
Hope by Len Deighton (1995 paperback)
Short Straw (Ed Eagle Novel) by Stuart Woods Hardcover
First Things First by Stephen R. Covey- Audio Cassette
N is for noose by Sue Grafton -Cassettes
The Fallen by Thomas Sniegoski
Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF by April Winchell

New Book Group #63 January 22, 2016
(I have the picture and will try to get the list up before I crash. Sorry no links right now.)
Victoria Alexander: The Pursuit of Marriage (slight creasing) and When We Meet Again
Shannon Drake: Reckless and When we Touch
James Patterson: Black Friday and Hide and Seek (both have spine creasing)
Presidential Antidotes by Paul F. Boller, Jr.
Undercurrents by Stella Cameron
Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl
Warrior Ascended by Addison Fox
Parallel Attraction by Deidre Knight
Moving Target by Cheyenne McCray
Wayward Winds by Michael Phillips - Audio Tapes
Walking After Moonlight by Karen Robards
Forgotten Promises by Denise Skelton
A Walk to Remember by Nicolas Sparks - hardback

New Book Group #62 November 6, 2015
All Gone

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.)

Leigh Greenwood –  The Reluctant Bride and The Independent Bride
Jane Feather(*) – The Hostage Bride and The Accidental Bride
The de Burgh Bride by Deborah Simmons
The Forever Bride by Evelyn Rogers (Seam creasing)
Short Straw Bride by Dallas Schultz
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) 
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!

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
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...

Servant, The Awakening by L.L. Foster

New Book Group #57 May 1, 2015

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.)

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

New Book Group #55 February 5, 2015 -- All Gone

New Book Group #54 December 26, 2014

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 943+ 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, 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, March 24, 2016

Book Review and Tour Giveaway: The Ethical Coach Leader by Dwight Johnson

This book presents important life lessons in an engaging story and provides a useful tool to apply in making ethical decisions.
The Ethical Coach Leader
by Dwight Johnson

Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Next Century Publishing (April 5, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1681020709
Genre: Philosophy, Personal Growth
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Ethics are a growing concern in all sectors of American culture. From businesses to all levels of schooling, as well as nonprofit companies, the values that guide business and teaching criteria are under scrutiny. But, does it take a scholarly textbook to understand how to create an ethical culture? No, Dwight Johnson has delved into the problems and presents practical solutions in his easy to read book, The Ethical Coach Leader: Developing Honor and Integrity.

A fiction book that has universal application, Johnson creates an intriguing story about a college coach who finds out that his star athlete failed a steroid test, putting the coach in the cross hairs of an ethical dilemma. During a couple of restless nights of sleep, Coach is visited by five ghosts: the Ghost of Example, the Ghost of Education, the Ghost of Experience, the Ghost of E-information, and the Ghost of Environment. Each has different advice for Coach on how to resolve his ethical dilemma. With the dreams haunting his every waking moment, Coach also seeks advice from two of his former mentors. The lessons Coach learns can be applied to any industry, business, school or individual life.

The Ethical Coach Leader challenges cultural mindsets and introduces new ideas on how to apply desperately needed teachings in ethics, integrity, honor and good character. This is a must read book for anyone who has influence on others or is in a leadership role. (Dwight Johnson)

Mr. Johnson’s goal in this book is to encourage ethics as a lifestyle that extends to everyday encounters, including but not limited to all aspects of school, sports, business and politics. Mr. Johnson provides an engaging fictional tale with a variation of the Ghosts from A Christmas Carol. Instead of three ghosts, there are five direct ghosts who visit Coach and a sixth who stays in the wings and observes. The story presents a real-to-life situation as Coach has to deal with a popular, star athlete who is testing positive for use of steroids. The "E" Ghosts (Example, Education, Experience, E-information and Environment) argue for their individual strengths but Coach discovers a model that incorporates all of these aspects in the process of making an ethical decision.

I greatly appreciate the analysis and the model for decision making. I believe in ethics and integrity but never had such a clear cut tool to use.  Sadly, we have too many leaders in sports, politics, and business who put worldly success above ethics and integrity. The larger problem is that society has accepted lower standards so, really, how do we retrain society to expect better?  Mr. Johnson has a wonderful goal to train Ethical Coach Leaders and to hopefully spread the principles of ethics from one generation to the next.

This is a very quick read and the lessons are wonderful. The tools presented in this book can help anyone sort through the different priorities that have to be considered when facing an ethical dilemma. I recommend this to anyone who cares about ethics or may be in a difficult situation where they need help making an ethical decision. That should cover just about everyone!

I received this title through iRead Book Tours for an honest review.

​Buy the book:  Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Click here for full Tour Participation Link.

Author's Bio:

Dwight Johnson resides in Colorado Springs where he works at the United States Air Force Academy. He is a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel who was a Squadron Commander three times and a Division Chief twice. He also served as the Department Head of Services at the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he taught Customer Service and Total Quality Service.

​In 2012, Dwight was awarded the General Billy J Boles Mentorship Award for the Air Force Academy for mentoring cadets.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook

Prizes: ​
Win 1 of 5 print copies of The Ethical Coach Leader
(USA & Canada); Ends 4/7/16

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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