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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday Post July 31, 2016/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday August 1, 2016

I miss-scheduled this so it is posting late... but better late then not at all.

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.

It is hard to realize that July is over -- it went so fast! I brought my DH home on Thursday. He is in pain today after more activity in the last several days than he probably had in the last three weeks at rehab. You don't realize how normal motions of bathing, dressing and walking up and down stairs tax the body. He managed to got to church this morning and wore plastic wrap under his shirt because the shirts itch and hurt the hair as it is growing back. Turns out it was lucky he did that because the lower tube wounds bled under the wrap. The main sternum cut is scabbed over and healing but these larger (straw size) holes are apparently still open and oozing. He will see the surgeon on Tuesday so we will see what he says.

I enjoyed my reading although I only finished two books; I am midway in two others. I finished one ebooks and one audio. I had hoped to do four reviews but only got three up as I had work that took presidence. I did post my usual memes. 

I got to visit more bloggers early in the week which I am glad of. I spent the later part getting reviews posted.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • Book Review: Machinations by Hayley Stone; Sci Fi, Suspense Thriller; my rating 4.25.

Finished Reading:
1. Audible/MP3 (TBR)

This Present Darkness
Written by: Frank Peretti
Narrated by: Jack Sondericker
I enjoyed this re-read. We will be discussing on Saturday.
Click on book title for full description.

2. eBook/Kindle (Author)

Engaged in Danger (Jamie Quinn Cozy Mystery Book 4)
by Barbara Venkataraman
This is an easy reading lawyer mystery series!
I received this from the author for an honest review.
Click on book title for full description.

Currently reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (NG)

by Mitchell Hogan
I am very engaged in this intriguing sci fi. I am 60% in.
I have had this from NetGalley since early in the year.

Click on book title for full description.

2. Audible/MP3 (TBR)

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Written by: Laura Hillenbrand
Narrated by: Edward Herrmann
I am half way through this remarkable story of WWII.
This is from my Audible TBR shelf.

Click on book title for full description.

3. eBook/Kindle (Promo/review reach out from Lori at Great Escapes Book Tours)

The Cat, The Collector and the Killer
A Cats In Trouble Mystery
by Leann Sweeney 
This looks like a fun cozy that releases 8/2/16.
In the latest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret, a cat collector is suspected of murder.
Jillian Hart and police chief Tom Stewart are enjoying peaceful, newly wedded bliss in Mercy, South Carolina, until a woman is found wandering the streets one night. She's in her night clothes, disoriented, and carrying a kitten in a tote bag. A search of the woman’s house reveals many more cats, a maze of cardboard boxes—and a dead man.
Although the evidence suggests the frail woman is the killer, Jillian doesn’t believe she’s capable of such a crime. The dead man had many enemies in town, which means finding the real murderer may prove to be its own cat and mouse game...

4. Audible/MP3 (Narrator)

Deceitful Moon: Manny Williams Series, Book 2
Written by: Rick Murcer
Narrated by: DJ Holte
I received this forensic mystery title from the Narrator.
Publisher's Summary
Detective Manny Williams and his partner, Sophie Lee, are called to the scene of a disturbing and gruesome murder at Lansing's local adult playhouse, the White Kitty. The circumstances surrounding the murder rocket deeper into the bizarre as the forensic evidence reveals more questions than answers. As he begins his investigation, Manny is interrupted by a phone call that shakes his world. His nemesis, serial killer Dr. Fredrick Argyle, has killed again and sent the evidence to prove it. Argyle's heinous actions force Manny and Sophie back to the Caribbean. All the while the body count rises in his home city. Two serial killers. Each threatening to change his life forever. One succeeds.
©2011 Rick Murgittroyd (P)2015 Murcer Press, LLC

July 30, 2016 - I am still one day behind but expect to catch up this week with 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 this past week. With two new I still have seven total pending. I hope again to post four this week.  I have to work harder to get up to date.

I've reduced my author ebook reviews committed with no specific dates queue to three books so I might start accepting new ones for the end of the year.
My NetGalley shelves are down to three when I finish the one I plan to read this week.
I'm sort of hoping to set aside September for TBR books only so I am still trying to resist new arcs/author requests and NetGalley.

We have two coming up releases at eTreasure's NetGalley page this week.
Rachel J. Mannino
Sci Fi Romance

The Handy Dandy Quick Reference Guide For Teachers
Working with Children with Academic & Behavior Problems
Dr. Jackie Paxton
Nonfiction, Reference

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 one ebook through NetGalley and two audiobooks from the narrators.
Again - I didn't purchase any kindle titles since I picked up more than enough free kindle titles.

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
Received from the narrator:
Deceitful Moon: Manny Williams Series, Book 2
Written by: Rick Murcer
Narrated by: DJ Holte
Forensic Evidence Mystery.
See full description above under Currently Reading.

Received through NetGalley:
The Cat, The Collector and the Killer
A Cats In Trouble Mystery
by Leann Sweeney 
A cozy mystery - see full description under Currently Reading above.

Unseemly Pursuits: The Concordia Wells Mysteries Book 2Received from the narrator:
Unseemly Pursuits: The Concordia Wells Mysteries Book 2
Written by: K.B. Owen
Narrated by: Becket Royce

Cozy mystery - I enjoyed book one and was glad to be offered book two.




Over the past week I added 67!! 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 July 31, 2016

I do love Sunday mornings! Our Sunday School Teacher is doing a wrap-up on the study of Romans. I am saving those notes to share another day.

This was our retiring Pastor’s last Sunday preaching. He didn’t get a lot of time because his wife spoke first and there were extra songs by men’s quintet, including Pastor. Mrs. Pastor shared her thanks for the 28 wonderful years at our church. She noted that in time of change, such as this, we can have peace, as she does. She let’s peace rule and counts her blessings. She gives thanks for: God’s divine plan, friends, weddings & funerals, shared celebrations, shared struggles, unity, love of worship, shared bounty, welcomed family, dedicated staff, continual prayers, and encouragement.

In Pastor’s last five or so minutes he shared from chapters 13 through 17 in the Gospel of John. Repeated through these chapters is that Jesus loved his own who were in the world. He reminded them to have peace by focusing on Jesus (John 14:25-27). He extorted all of his disciples to love one another; pray for perfect peace and love with an overwhelming love. (John 17:24-26).

I looked at many videos but didn’t find one that fits with today’s message much better than this one. My Peace…
Verses for Today:
John 14: 25-27 NIV
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I give thanks for the wonderful ministry of our Pastor and his wife. I pray for peace and rest as they transition into retirement.  I am looking forward to the move of God as our new Pastor comes. I pray for God's safety and anointing for his whole family.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sharing Beyond Books #263 Comment Giveaway July 30, 2016

Hello again and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!
The post is a little late tonight because hubby and I were watching the movie Jack Frost Rise of the Guardians. I enjoyed the animation and the story although I have to think the dark parts might not be so good for younger children.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.

Most of us will read a book even if we don't like the cover. HOWEVER - many of us acknowledge that we are drawn to look at the blurb because of a good cover so it is possible we wouldn't look at a good book that has an unimpressive cover. I have to agree with Fredaman's comment: "I learned that having a great book cover doesn't always make the book great, and vice versa."

Several of us noted that a too sexy cover is a turn off and we wouldn't buy a book with such a cover. (That is how I feel about the old 'bodice ripper' covers too although some of the older books are tamer than the new ones.)


The Winner from SBB #262 comments is:#10 Fredamans 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 #263
(One Question.)
My question this week: Are you a cheerful riser or do you wake up/get up grumpy more often than not??
I am a cheerful rise. Not that I always jump right out of bed. But even when I have to roll myself out I start with a "good morning". That gets even better when I get my coffee!
I found two images I really liked. Which would you pick?
Image Found at A Medium Corporation

dog memes stages of getting up in the morning
2nd image found at

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.

The questions in July were shared by Jenna, Becky, CarolL and bn100. picked #1 of 4 so Jenna gets a book choice or GC credit.

Your turn to share:
My question this week: Are you a cheerful riser or do you wake up/get up grumpy more often than not??

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 August 6, 2016 at 5 PM central.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway July 29, 2016

Happy Friday!
Hubby is home now - Yay. Already his first day he did a bit too much moving around and was in a lot of pain as he went to bed. He will have to take things more slowly.
It is hard to believe that July just vanished - it went by so fast!
I finally got the picture of the June 25 box of books up. All the won books for the past two-three months have been pulled and my clerk will be preparing them for mailing today (Friday).

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 July 22 Pick. There was one automatic win this week. Automatic wins are those who requested the book four times without other people asking for that book during those weeks. There were no titles blocked.
AUTO: Becky gets Witch's Hammer

to picked Winners from July 22 Pick:
Llehn gets a GC
Elizabeth gets The Commander

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.}

Today it is July - but not much longer! 
Image found at ebook.ITMedia.

New Book Group #66 June 25, 2016
(I will post a picture later. *Four of these books are very old; pulled from a box of gothic novels I have had for many years. They may not be wanted by anyone and if so, I will donate elsewhere in time.)
Sandra Brown: Above and Beyond and Honor Bound (my copy is 1986 edition with a different cover
Joan Johnston: Faron & Garth: The Cowboy and the Princess / The Wrangler and the Rich Girl and Sweetwater Seduction
Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews (new- hardcover)
*Maggie – Her Marriage by Taylor Caldwell (1953 very old, yellowed pages, some stain damage doesn't effect reading)
*Witch’s Hammer by Caroline Farr (a 1967 yellowed pages - different cover)
*Mistress of Mount Fair by Jane Gordon
Once an Angel by Tammy Hilz
Bound By Temptation by Lavinia Kent
Fire Dancer by Ann Maxwell
On Fire by Carla Neggers (1999 version with different cover)
Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Waiting for Nick & Considering Kate by Nora Roberts
*She Came Back by Patricia Wentworth (1981 yellowed pages)
Freedom's Stand by J. M. Windle

New Book Group #65 April 29, 2016
Jayne Ann Krentz: Gift of Gold and Man with a Past (spine creased) 
Linda Howard: Cover of Night and Strangers Night
A Dangerous Fancy by Tracy Cozzens
The Bodyguard and the Snitch by Christy Tillery French (autographed)
When Dashing Met Danger by Shana Galen
The Champion by Heather Grothaus
Never Marry a Cowboy by Lorraine Heath
Just The Way You Are by Donna Jordan
The Second Chair by John Lescroart (hardcover)
What a Rogue Desires by Caroline Linden (spine creased)
Violets are Blue by James Patterson
The Bequest by Candice Proctor
A Perilous Attraction by Patricia Francis Rowell (spine creased)
So Wild A Kiss by Nancy Richards-Akers

New Book Group #64 March 4, 2016

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
Regretsy: Where DIY Meets WTF by April Winchell

New Book Group #63 January 22, 2016

Wayward Winds by Michael Phillips - Audio Tapes

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.)

Bride of Lochbarr by Margaret Moore (*)
The Ideal Bride by Stephanie Laurens (*)
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) 
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!

Cruise to a Wedding by Betty Neels

New Book Group #58 June 26, 2015 -- All Gone

New Book Group #57 May 1, 2015 -- All Gone

New Book Group #56 March 20, 2015
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 Hidden Truth of Cytech's Randall Forty byVickie Kennedy
First to Fight Anthology
Jezebel by Katherine Sutcliff
The Commander by Kate Bridges
A Garden of Friends by Penny Pierce Rose
Undateable by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle

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)
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)
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

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 980+ 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, July 28, 2016

Book Review: Indiana Belle (American Journey Book 3) by John A. Heldt

This is an engaging time-travel with romance and mystery.
Indiana Belle (American Journey Book 3)
by John A. Heldt
File Size: 743 KB
Print Length: 295 pages
Publisher: John A. Heldt (April 14, 2016)
Genre: Time Travel, Mystery, Romance
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the "time-travel professor," and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.

Cameron Coelho is researching to prepare a doctoral dissertation on the roaring twenties. He receives a package including a diary and a photograph of a beautiful and smart society editor, Candice Louise Bell, who was murdered in 1925. The clues in the diary and papers imply that Candice’s father and uncle found a means of time travel. Cameron quickly becomes obsessed with the picture of Candice and the idea of time travel.

Cameron contacts Geoffrey Bell who is a descendant of Candice’s uncle. Geoffrey is a bit standoffish but his charming wife, Jeanette, is encouraging. After discussions Cameron barters with Geoffrey for a chance to go back in time! Cameron has no family and no real friends or connections so it isn’t so difficult for him to move into a new setting. Still he wasn’t completely prepared for all circumstances or emotions.

Cameron befriends Candice and secretly begins to try to unravel the events that will result in her death. Candice is an eager reporter who has been sniffing out crime in her community. There are several powerful men in her sphere including her dedicated and sometimes progressive news boss, a rich lawyer who was her ex-fiance, and ‘hidden’ members of the local KKK. Cameron also meets the man who was found guilty of the murder. Now Cameron just has to figure out how to keep her save and not destroy the future.

Mr. Heldt has a wonderful ability to write an engaging time travel with lovely, sweet romance and a mystery added in. I enjoy the settings and the difficulties that Candice faces in an age that is just on the verge of women moving into more visible and important positions. There is also interesting history of prohibition and KKK. The expected murder and the mystery surrounding the event add a feeling of suspense as the romance grows. There are several little ironies and historical nuggets woven into the story that made me smile. And of course is there is always the question of time-travel paradox.

I did read an earlier time travel by Mr. Heldt although not in this series. This one can be read as a stand alone but it might be even more enjoyable if the series is read in order. The writing is smooth and moves at a good, easy pace. I recommend this for the engaging read, the lovely romance and the mystery.

I received this title from the author, having enjoyed another of his "time-travel" novels.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review: Machinations by Hayley Stone

This story jumps into motion and doesn’t slow down as it speeds along with intense action and emotion.
by Hayley Stone

File Size: 1858 KB
Print Length: 343 pages
Publisher: Hydra (July 26, 2016)
Genre: Sci Fi, Dystopian
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Perfect for fans of Robopocalypse, this action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.
The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.
A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.
Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

The computers were given a command to stop the fighting around the world. Their solution was to eliminate the humans. Now Rhona Long has become the symbol of the resistance, even if she hadn’t planned it. As this story opens, Rhona suffers a fatal injury on the front lines and is dying in the arms of the man she loves, Camus.

Rhona awakens with her best friend, Samuel, who was the scientist she trusted with her secret orders – to clone her in the event of death! Samuel and a warrior of a man, Ulrich, have to pull Rhona out of stasis and escape the lab before the machines capture them and kill her…again. Ulrich stays behind to give Samuel and Rhona the chance to escape. They are rescued and returned to the main base where the council questions who Rhona is and whether she can be trusted.

Rhona slowly begins to remember her past but quickly remembers her feelings for Camus. Although he is willing to maintain the charade of their affection, he resents the Rhona clone and resists any true feelings towards her. After all, it has taken six months to bury his grief over Rhona’s death. This emotional upheaval has to take place in the background anyway as at least one person on base is openly hostile towards Rhona. The can protect Rhona from the known threat but the secret saboteur is a different story.

Meanwhile, a neighboring base calls on Rhona’s base for help as the Machines have discovered their location and are attacking. Camus goes on the rescue mission which quickly becomes a trap. Now only Rhona’s fast thinking and decisive action can save the man she loves, … not to mention the remaining humans.

I really enjoyed the non-stop, intense action and emotion in this story. The premise is very interesting and makes you wonder: could you, would you, love a clone of your loved one? I liked the well-developed characters, including nerdy Samuel, brusque Ulrich and sweet Hanna who lost her hearing during an attack and speaks primarily in sign language. I recommend this to readers who like end of the world as we know it scenarios with lots of action. I would like to read more by this author and in this series if it continues.

I received this from the publisher through NetGalley. The title released July 26, 2016. This qualifies for my NetGalley Challenge.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book Review and Tour Giveaway: Ultimate Courage (True Heroes) by Piper J. Drake

This is wonderful romantic (military) suspense with guard dog.
Ultimate Courage (True Heroes)
by Piper J. Drake
File Size: 895 KB
Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Forever (July 26, 2016)
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Military Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0

Retired Navy SEAL Alex Rojas is putting his life back together, one piece at a time. Being a single dad to his young daughter and working at Hope's Crossing Kennels to help rehab a former guard dog, he struggles every day to control his PTSD. But when Elisa Hall shows up, on the run and way too cautious, she unleashes his every protective instinct.
Elisa's past never stays in her rearview mirror for long, and she refuses to put anyone else in danger. But with Alex guarding her so fiercely yet looking at her so tenderly, she's never felt safer . . . or more terrified that the secrets she keeps could put countless people in grave peril. The only way for both to fully escape their demons will take the ultimate act of courage: letting go and learning to trust each other.

Elisa is on the run from a possessive ex-fiance who views her as his possession. She was flattered by the attention from the wealthy man at first until she realized that she was no longer allowed a career or friends of her own. It took a while but she finally got up the courage to make a break for it. But it seemed that wherever she goes, it isn’t long before he locates her and makes it clear that he is expecting her return. Bad things could happen to anyone who might help her so Elisa remains on the run and tries to stay under his radar sources.

Elisa meets Alex and his spunky daughter at the emergency room. Elisa’s wrist is swollen while Serena, aka Boom, has a broken arm from an accident during martial arts training. Elisa appears at Hope's Crossing Kennels the next day to return a glove that Boom left behind. She shows up just in time to step in as a sorely needed secretary for the office. Alex recognizes that Elisa and is cautious and skittish; behaviors familiar from his own PTSD which he struggles to control. Although Alex doesn’t know Elisa, he is intrigued by the mixture of strength he sees beneath the docile postures. He is willing to step out to help her even as he gives her room to learn to trust him.

As Elisa and Alex grow closer they realize that each has secrets. Can they learn to trust each other and give their growing attraction a chance to deepen? Or will Elisa bolt again as soon as she knows her ex-boyfriend is on her tail?

I really liked these warm characters and was quickly pulled into the story. I also love the dog elements and found Souze, a German Shepherd Dog, to be a great addition. The continuing characters at the kennels provide good support and the addition of the owners of the martial arts academy, a gay couple, are a nice touch too for diversity.

The plot moves along at a good pace with sensual tension and the hint of danger that ultimately appears. This is the sort of romantic suspense/military romance that I really enjoy and I recommend the series and this author. This is the second book I have read in this series and I hope to read more.

I received this title from Hachette, Forever line, through NetGalley for an honest review. This adds to my NetGalley Challenge and "U" in Alphabet Challenge. 

Extreme Honor, #1 -- My Review Link
Ultimate Courage, #2
Absolute Trust, #3



Piper J. Drake (or "PJ") spent her childhood pretending to study for the SATs by reading every interesting novel she could find at the library. After being introduced to the wonderful world of romance by her best friend, she dove into the genre.

PJ began her writing career as PJ Schnyder, writing sci-fi & paranormal romance and steampunk, for which she won the FF&P PRISM award as well as the NJRW Golden Leaf award and Parsec award.

PJ's romantic suspense novels incorporate her interests in mixed martial arts and the military. The True Heroes series is inspired by her experience rescuing, owning and training a variety of retired working dogs, including Kaiser, a former guard dog, and Mozart, who was trained to detect explosives.

   You’ve got to be insane.”
   Elisa Hall took a prudent step—or two—back as she observed the standoff brewing in front of her. A tall man stood between her and the emergency room reception desk, glaring at the woman in scrubs behind it. He stood at an angle to Elisa, so he could see the reception desk to his right and the entirety of the waiting area in front of him.
   He clenched his fists.
   Elisa retreated farther back toward the entrance, releasing her throbbing rist and letting her hands fall to her sides. Harmless. Nothing to see here.
   “I’m sorry, sir, but ambulances take precedence over walk-ins,” the nurse repeated. She was braver than Elisa would’ve been in the face of rage on a level with the man’s at the counter.
   He was dressed in loose fitness shorts and a close-fitting black tee. His hands were wrapped in some cross between tape and fabric.
   “Fighter” might as well have been printed across his very broad, muscular shoulders.
   Actually, now that she was looking, his tee said Revolution Mixed Martial Arts Academy.
   Well, then. Maybe she should just take more ibuprofen and forget about seeing a doctor for her swollen wrist after all. Getting her injury examined wasn’t worth staying anywhere near this guy.
   The nurse glanced quickly at Elisa then returned her attention to the man, her expression softening with sympathy. “As soon as an examination room opens up, we’ll get you in to see the doctor. Please, wait right here and fill out these forms while I help this young lady.”
   Wait, what? The man’s face, and his focus, turned toward her. Oh, great.
   Usually she envied nurses their ability to sympathize with so many patients and make such a difference in their lives. Now was not one of those times.
   Elisa squashed the urge to bolt. Never ended well when she tried it. Better to hold very still, wait until the anger in front of her burned itself out, and pull herself together afterward.
   Instead, she fastened her gaze on the floor and tried to keep her body from tensing visibly. Silently, she sang herself an inane nursery rhyme to take her mind
off the weight of the man’s intense glare. Please, please, let him walk away. They were in public, and even though the emergency room waiting area wasn’t packed, it still had a dozen people scattered around the seats.
   But the expected explosion, shouting, other things . . .never happened. Instead, the man had quieted. All of the frustrated aggression seemed to have been stuffed away, somewhere.
   She swallowed hard. Relief eased her constricted throat, and she breathed slowly for the time being. Leaving remained the best idea she had at the moment.
   But he stepped away from the counter and farther to her right, motioning with a wrapped hand for her to step forward. As she forced her feet to take herself closer to the reception desk—and past him—he gave her room.
   Belatedly, she realized his movement also happened to block her escape route toward the doors. He couldn’t have done it on purpose, could he? But Elisa took a step up to the reception counter and away from him anyway.
   “Yes, dear?” The nurse’s gentle prompt made Elisa jump.
   Damn it. Elisa’s heart beat loud in her ears.
   The nurse gave her an encouraging smile. “Don’t mind him. He’s been here before. I’ve already asked another nurse to bring ice packs as fast as possible. I don’t
mind if he blows off some hot air in my direction in the meantime. I would be upset, too, considering today’s situation.”
   Elisa bit her lip. She could still feel the man standing behind her, his presence looming at her back. He couldn’t possibly appreciate the nurse sharing some of his private information. And he didn’t seem to need ice packs or any other medical attention. He appeared very able-bodied. “It’s none of my business.”
   The nurse placed a clipboard on the counter and wrinkled her nose. “Oh, trust me, the entire waiting room knows what his concern is. Tell me what brought you here.”
   This might be the most personable emergency room reception area Elisa had been to in years, not counting the extremely angry man standing behind her. They were either not very busy—not likely if all the examination rooms were full up—or extremely efficient.
   Efficiency meant she could get in and out and decide what her next steps would be.
   “My wrist.” Elisa held out her left arm, her wrist obviously swollen. “I thought it was just a bad sprain, but it’s been more than a few days and has only gotten worse. I can barely move it now.”
   And if she could have avoided it, she definitely wouldn’t have stopped in to get it treated. An emergency room visit, even with the help of her soon-to-be nonexistent insurance, was still an expense she didn’t need. It’d been six months or so since her last significant paycheck, and she could not afford to extend her insurance much longer. Plus, it might be better not to. One less way to track her.
   “Is that your dominant arm, dear?” The nurse held up a pen.
   Elisa shook her head.
   “Oh, good. Leave your ID and insurance card with me so I can make copies. Take a seat over there to fill out this form and bring it back to me.”
   Okay, then. Elisa took the items and made her way toward the seating area, thankful the nurse hadn’t asked her to give her name and pertinent information verbally. It was always a risk to share those things out loud.
   She’d learned over and over again. There was a chance a slip of information in the unlikeliest of places would find its way to exactly the person she didn’t want
to have it. No matter how careful she’d been over the last several months, it hadn’t been enough yet.
   But it would be. This time. She was learning, and she was free. Every day was a new chance.
   Nodding to herself, Elisa looked for a seat. It might not be crowded, but just about everyone in the room had decided to sit with at least a chair or two buffer between them and the next person. The buffer seats were all that were left, and most of the other people waiting to be seen were either men, or women sitting with men.
   Then she caught sight of a young girl sitting with her legs crossed in the seat next to the big planter in the corner. Slender, but long limbed, the girl had a sweet face and the gangly look of a growing kid. Elisa guessed the girl was maybe eight or nine, could even be ten. Hard to pin down age when the kid had such an innocent look to her. The seat next to her was open, and she was waiting quietly, hugging a big, blue, plush . . . round thing. Whatever it was.
   Elisa walked quickly over, and when the girl looked up at her with big, blue eyes, Elisa gave her the friendliest smile she could dig up. “Mind if I sit next
to you?”
   The girl looked around, her gaze lingering on the reception area behind Elisa for a moment before saying, “Sure.”
   Elisa took a seat.
   After a few silent moments, the little girl stirred next to her. “Are you sick?”
   Well, paperwork didn’t take much of her attention, and it’d been a while since Elisa had been outside of her own head in a lot of ways. Conversation would be a welcome change and a good distraction from the constant worry running in the back of her mind. “Not sick so much as hurt. I won’t give you the plague.”
   A soft, strained laugh. “Same here.”
   Elisa took a harder look at the big, plush toy. It wasn’t for comfort as Elisa’d first assumed. It was supporting the girl’s slender left arm, which was bent at an impossible angle.
   “Oh my god.” Why was she sitting here alone?
   “Don’t worry.” The girl gave her a quick thumbs-up with her right hand. “The doctors are really good here, and I’m in all the time.”
   Such a brave face. She had to be in an insane amount of pain. And here she was encouraging Elisa.
   “Is there someone you should talk to about how often you get hurt?” Elisa struggled for the right tone. It was one she’d heard more than once when people had been concerned for her. Some places had safeguards in place for . . .
   Blue eyes widened. “Oh, it’s not what you’re thinking. Trust me, people ask my dad. And it’s not like that at all. I study mixed martial arts. I get bruised and
bumped all the time, and usually it’s nothing, but Dad always makes me come in to get checked.”
   It was hard not to believe in the earnest tone. But monsters were everywhere.
   The girl gave her a rueful smile, still amazing considering how much pain she had to be in. “This time it wasn’t just a bump.”
   “Which is why they’re going to see you as soon as they can, Boom.”
   Elisa hadn’t heard the man approach. He was just there. He kneeled down in front of the girl then gently tucked an ice pack around her arm while moving it as little as possible. For her part, the girl hissed in pain but otherwise held up with amazing fortitude.
   Elisa would’ve been in tears. The forearm had to be broken. Both bones. It didn’t take a doctor to figure that out. No wonder the man had been mad earlier. She’d want this girl to be seen as soon as possible, too. She dropped her gaze, unable to watch.
   “Here.” An ice pack appeared in her view. “Your wrist should be iced, too. Take down the swelling while you wait.”
   Speechless, Elisa looked up.
   The man’s words were gruff, awkward. His expression was blank. But his eyes—a softness around his eyes—and a . . . quiet in the way he watched her made her swallow and relax a fraction. Her heartbeat stuttered in a fluttery kind of way. A completely different reaction from what she should be experiencing if she were wise. She didn’t know this man and he was probably married. The girl had a mother somewhere. Where? Maybe on her way. This man was just being nice. Maybe.
   Learn from your mistakes. You never know who a person really is.



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