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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Book Review: Embattlement: The Undergrounders Series Book Two by Norma Hinkens

This is a strong sequel with action that moves the story forward.
(A Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopian Novel)
by Norma Hinkens
File Size: 3717 KB
Print Length: 295 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Dunecadia Publishing; 1 edition (February 21, 2016)
ASIN: B01C39SVT2
Genre: Dystopian, YA
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0


The Undergrounders prevail. The Craniopolis falls. But victory proves bittersweet.
Against all odds, Derry and a handful of survivors escape the malevolent Doctor Lyong’s clutches, but no one knows if Owen is dead or alive. The shaky plan to rescue him falls apart when the Council splits over rumors of Owen’s ties to the Craniopolis. Forced to find new recruits Derry makes the treacherous journey to Shoshane City, home of the mysterious riders. Mutiny and sabotage is afoot and Derry finds herself caught up in a desperate struggle to save the city from being destroyed by The Ghost, a man who swears allegiance to no one. Time is running out to save Owen, and tensions are rising between Jakob and Sven, who may turn out to be a deadly distraction.
Will Derry emerge victorious from the showdown at the Craniopolis, or will the price of freedom mean sacrificing the man she loves?
Embattlement is the second book in The Undergrounders Series, a sci-fi dystopian thriller trilogy. If you like captivating apocalyptic tales, gritty complex heroines, and twists you won’t see coming, then you’ll love this fast-paced, end-of-the-world adventure!


Review:
Derry and a handful of undergrounders have escaped from the evil Dr. Lyong and the city of Craniopolis. Derry saw her brother, Owen, struck down and fall even as he facilitated the escape of their Hovermede. She believed he sacrificed himself for the mission but she is told that as the craft flew away, Owen was seen alive and captured by the Security Cyborgs.

Derry is intent on rescuing Owen from Craniopolis, hopefully before Dr. Lyong uses his horrible synthesizer equipment to experiment on him like so many of the damaged humans abandoned within the city. Some of the Undergrounders are willing to support her but others vote not to be involved. Derry knows she will need huge reinforcements before attempting to reenter Craniopolis. She hopes to recruit the dangerous Rogues whose camp is beyond Shoshane City. She goes to the city first and discovers a community of survivors led by a strong leader, Jerome, who has his own secrets. These survivors live under the threat of the Sweepers from Craniopolis so Derry convinces them to join in the attack to wipe away the common enemy. One of Jerome’s conditions is that the deformed and damaged humans are rescued too.

Convincing the brutal Rogues to cooperate is more dangerous and trickier. Derry is using Rummy, Blade’s brother, as a hostage for negotiation. They manage to capture Blade and then use both to obtain a meeting with the mysterious, dark Rogue leader known as The Ghost. Finally, a combined group proceed with the mission. Each step of the attack has its own risk and it will take a lot of coordination and a bit of luck to overcome the security force.

This is book two and I enjoyed the intense action and the new characters added in this sequel. I also liked the plot dilemmas of trusting enemies in a combined effort and weighing attempts at negotiation rather than violence. Ms. Hinkens’ style of presentation in first person present is a bit differed but works fine once the reader adjusts. This story has an end point but includes a surprise that leaves more danger ahead. I do recommend this to readers who like dystopian with action.

I received this from the author for an honest review.

Monday, May 30, 2016

We Will Always Remember: Memorial Day 2016

Remembering on Memorial Day and praying for our troops wherever they may be, at home and around the world.

(This video came up while I was preparing Sunday Words yesterday and I saved it to share today.)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Post May 29, 2016/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday May 30, 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 continued to juggle work as staff spent time out with child graduations and doctor appointments.
At home our son, D-I-L and Granddaughter are staying for the long weekend so again I may have reduced computer time
Our weather has turned very sunny and 91 degrees the last two days and expected the rest of the week.


I enjoyed my reading but still did not get as many reviews done as I hoped. I did finish three of my books: two audios and one ebook. I posted three reviews and my usual memes.

Sadly, I did not get to visit many blogs last week. I hope to visit more this week since I am taking Monday off.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • Audio Book Review: Making Amends by Melinda Clayton; Suspense, Drama; my rating 4.25.
  • Book Review: First Fruits by Brad Duncan; Christian, Inspirational; my rating 4.5.

Finished Reading:
1. Audible/MP3 (My Audible Library - 2016)


Enforcing Home: The Survivalist Series, Book 6
Written by: A. American
Narrated by: Duke Fontaine
This is a good continuation of this engaging series.
Click on book title for full description.



2. eBook/Kindle (Author)


The Girl in the Time Machine
by Debra Chapoton
This is a twisted time-travel with a touch of creepy. 
 I will post my review this week.
Click on book title for full description.



3. Audible/MP3 (ABB/Author)


The Arrival: The Evaran Chronicles Prequel
Written by: Adair Hart
Narrated by: Michael Pauley
I liked this introduction and 
want to listen to more in the series.
I will post a review soon.

Click on book title for full description.




I also read these books with our Sweet Pea (3 1/2 year old granddaughter):
Richard Scarry's A Day at the Airport
Richard Scarry's Busy Worker's Book
Best Dad In the Sea (Disney/Pixar Finding Nemo)
But No Elephants (Once Upon a Time) by Jerry Smath
Milk and Cookies, A Frank Asch Bear Story

What do you think? Do I get to count these for my Goodreads Challenge?



Currently reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (Publicist/Author)


Cast Adrift
by Mannah Pierce
I am a third of the way in and like several characters very much.
I received this through Publishing Push and will my posting a review with an interesting guest post.

Click on book title for full description.



2. eBook/Kindle (iRead)


Regina Shen: Resilience
by Lance Erlick
This sounds like it will be a good series.
I received four books for this tour 
through iReads Book Tours.
This first review will post on June 9, 2016.
Regina Shen is an outcast forced to fend for herself. A storm is coming and that could be the least of her problems.
The World Federation condemns Regina and her family to live on the seaward side of barrier walls built to hold back rising seas caused by abrupt climate change. A hurricane threatens to destroy Regina’s world, tearing her from sister, mom, and home. Now Federation agents claim she has unique DNA that could single-handedly stop human extinction. It's too bad she doesn't trust them enough to barter fairly, let alone with her life.
Three-hundred-plus-year-old Grand Old Dames rule the all-female Federation using a rigid caste system. Their notorious Department of Antiquities, under the command of Chief Inspector Joanne Demarco, polices barrier walls, destroys knowledge from the past to suppress dissent, and pursues Regina for her genome.
Regina survives by her wits on swampy islands and thrives on salvage from sunken cities, including illegal print books from before the Federation. With her photographic memory, she defies Antiquities by consuming salvaged books not available in the Federation, which makes her an outcast among her teenaged peers.
Separated from sister, mom, and home, with Antiquities and bounty hunters in pursuit, Regina fights to stay alive and avoid capture while hunting for family. Does she have the resilience to survive both the storm and Antiquities?
Regina Shen: Resilience is the first book in an action-packed, science fiction thriller with an ordinary yet strong female heroine facing extraordinary hurdles with resolve. With the young protagonist, it should appeal to young adult and adult audiences.



3. Audible/MP3 (Author)


Burning Bright: Ivy Granger Book 3
Written by: E.J. Stevens
Narrated by: Melanie A. Mason, David Wilson Brown
I received this from the author as I will be reviewing Book 4 in the series mid-June.
Publisher's Summary
Burning down the house....
Things are not going well at the offices of Private Eye. Jinx is having demon problems, the city is overrun with pyromaniacal imps, and Ivy's wisp powers are burning out of control, attracting the attention of both the Seelie and Unseelie courts.
Along came a faerie queen.... It's the worst possible time for the Green Lady to call in a favor, but Ivy's bound by her deal with the glaistig. Too bad there's no wiggle room in faerie bargains.
Ivy must rid the city of imps, keep Jinx from murdering her one solid link to Hell, and fulfill her bargain with the Green Lady - with sidhe assassins hot on her tail.
Just another day's work for Ivy Granger, psychic detective.
©2014 E.J. Stevens (P)2015 E.J. Stevens



May 8, 2016 - Current 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 only posted three reviews last week so I am still a bit behind. I still have five reviews due.

I am finally getting to the five nine, now seven nine (again) back to five author ebook reviews committed with no specific dates.
My NetGalley shelves are down to four  with one of those next in line.



I hope to add another upcoming release this week to eTreasure's NetGalley titles.



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.

This week I received three audio review titles.
I resisted kindle titles other than the usual free ones.

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
I received these two titles from the author for review mid June.
Burning Bright
By E.J. Stevens
Narrated by: Melanie A. Mason, Anthony Bowling
Full description is above under current reading.


Birthright: Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective, Book 4
By E.J. Stevens
Narrated by: Melanie A. Mason, Anthony Bowling
This is the fourth book and new release in the series.


I received this audio from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox.
Beware the Little White Rabbit
By Shannon Delany, Judith Graves
Narrated by: Rhiannon Angell
"Thirteen powerful voices in young adult fiction invite you to journey into startling new wonderlands in this nod to the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's timeless character, Alice."


Won
NONE

Purchased

NONE
Free

Over the past week I added another 52 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 29, 2016

The associate pastor began by observing that some people have weak memories. But he reminded us that tomorrow, Memorial Day, is a day Americans need to remember and give thanks for all those who fought and won our freedoms.

This led into the sermon titled Bridging the Gap. Just as the soldiers stand in the gap to protect the rights of our nation, so too are Christians to stand in the gap for one another. Ezekiel shared the word of the Lord saying: “"I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” Ezekiel 22:33 NASB. (Reading the full chapter is rather chilling.) Israel fell short; her leaders fell short but the people fell short too. As individuals we each have a responsibility to stand in the gap. We may not be standing in the gap for our nation but we can stand in the gap for our family, our friends and even our community.

We need to be ready to share our faith and hope.  We must continue to seek to do the right thing even when others are doing wrong around us. 1 Peter 3:15-17. We need to stand in the gap for one another and share Jesus’ love with people around us.

This song fits this morning’s message. 
Standing in the Gap by Babbie Mason.
Verses for Today
1 Peter 3:15-17 (NIV)
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

I thank you Lord Jesus for bridging the gap between our righteous Father and sinful man. Help me to stand in the gap to encourage others to know You in a personal way.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Sharing Beyond Books #254 Comment Giveaway May 28, 2016

Hello again and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!
This was once again a busy week, finding me working today to get ready for next week. I hope to take Monday off to spend with family. My daughter and her family is on vacation next week and then my other staff member will be off the second week of June. So I expect to be juggling double duty for the next two weeks.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week and "Welcome" to another new visitor.

Four commenters prefer unusual names and three like traditional or 'classic' ones. That left eight who liked a mix or weren't particular. However five of those made a point that they wanted to be able to pronounce any unusual names. Interesting that Nikki liked unusual names that fit a book but Elizabeth found that could be confusing. Isn't it lovely that we are so diverse?

~~~~~

The Winner from SBB #253 comments is: #2 Nikki 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 #254
(One Question.)
Natalija asks: Do you watch book-related videos (TBRs, reviews, wrap ups, hauls, etc.) on YouTube??
I have seen a few and enjoyed them. Sadly, just like visiting other blog sites, I do not get to visit and watch this type of video too often. Someday (another year or so??) I will retire and then I hope to have more time for visiting friends online.
Screenshot Image from Google search.

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.
May 2016 comment providers were: Miki, Nikki, MaryP and Natalija.
Random.org picked #1 so Miki gets a GC.

Your turn to share:
Natalija asks: Do you watch book-related videos (TBRs, reviews, wrap ups, hauls, etc.) on YouTube??

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 June 4, 2016 at 5 PM central.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Audible Book Review: The Jewel of Dantenos: The FREE Lee Starfinder Adventure by Brian D. Anderson

This short introduction to the series has good action and intrigue.
The Jewel of Dantenos: The FREE Lee Starfinder Adventure: from the World of the Godling Chronicles, Book 0.5
Written by: Brian D. Anderson
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Length: 1 hr and 52 mins
Series: The Godling Chronicles, Book 0.5
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:09-05-14
Publisher: Podium Publishing
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
My Rating: 4.25 and 5.0


Publisher's Summary
From the world of The Godling Chronicles.
Filled with confidence and no small measure of arrogance, young Lee Starfinder, along with Millet Gristall, set off on their very first adventure. Lee quickly discovers that life beyond Hazrah can be far deadlier than he could have ever imagined. And soon he must learn that muscle and steel cannot replace loyalty, bravery, and friendship.
©2014 Brian D. Anderson (P)2014 Podium Publishing


Review:
Lee Starfinder is an arrogant young man who knows his strength and fighting skills exceed others. He has a special background, as a Godling, that makes him view himself as superior. Lee suffers through the companionship of his servant/assistant, Mill Gristall. They are traveling on Lee’s first adventure when they are distracted on the path by a young woman who appears to be in distress. They move beyond their normal cautious routines to help her only to be led into a trap.

Lee and Mill are captured by a pirate gang who are set on uncovering the rumored Jewel of Dantenos. The leader is convinced he has a reliable map to the treasure. However, they have found a dark, deadly presence in the caves which is killing his men. Lee makes a deal that if he can kill the dark “demon” he and Mill will go free.

Lee has no idea what he is facing when the darkness first attacks. Then it begins to communicate with him. Still, Lee may have taken on more than he can handle. He may find that there are times even Godlings need help from others to succeed.

This was a fast and interesting story. I liked the mysterious tone, the action and the puzzle that leads to survival. Lee isn't the most likeable character at first but he grows on you. Mill on the other hand is a wonderfully warm and strong character. This gives just a little taste of the series, but enough to draw me in so I am interested in the first full book.

Audio Notes: Derek Perkins does a good job of narrating this. He gives each character a distinct voice and he conveys good intensity. I did have to get used to the fact that the voice made Lee seem older than he is. Still, the narration enhanced my enjoyment.

I slipped this free story from my own TBR Audible Library; downloaded in 2014. This qualifies for my Audio Challenge, Mount TBR Challenge and J for Alphabet Challenge.

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway May 27, 2016

Happy Friday!
I hope everyone had a lovely week. Mine has been quick... and fortunately productive. It is nearly June and my staff start vacationing next week so I will be doing double duty again.  Oh the joys of business ownership. Our son, D-I-L and the Sweetpea are coming in today for several days before they move. I will enjoy the time but might have less computer time again.

I hope everyone has takes time during a relaxing Memorial Monday to stop, remember and give thanks to those who gave their lives for our freedom.  It is more than just a day off work. 

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


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

Thank you to all who entered the May 20 Pick. There was only one automatic win again 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 blocked titles this week.
Di gets What a Rogue Desires


CONGRATULATIONS
to Random.org picked Winners from May 20 Pick:
Carol L gets the Jayne Krentz Pair
Alecia 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.}
I love flowers and books!
Image found at Gustavus.edu.

New Book Group #65 April 29, 2016
PAIRS:
Jayne Ann Krentz: Gift of Gold and Man with a Past (spine creased) 
Linda Howard: Cover of Night and Strangers Night
SINGLES:
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

SINGLES:
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


SINGLES:
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.)

SINGLES:
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) 
SINGLES:
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!

SINGLES:
Cruise to a Wedding by Betty Neels

New Book Group #58 June 26, 2015 -- All Gone
SINGLES:
Servant, The Awakening by L.L. Foster

New Book Group #57 May 1, 2015 -- All Gone
SINGLES:
A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl
The Ruthless Greek's Virgin Princess by Trish Morey

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

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

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

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 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 964+ 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 25, 2016

Book Review: First Fruits by Brad Duncan

This is an engaging read with a wonderful, faith-based message and challenge.
First Fruits
by Brad Duncan
File Size: 413 KB
Print Length: 248 pages
Publisher: Bradleyjeep Publishing (February 8, 2014)
ASIN: B00IC467YY
Genre: Christian, Inspirational
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


Pastor Patrick Spakes is a huge success in the eyes of the world. He's the husband of a beautiful wife, and dad of two healthy kids, and leads a large growing church. It appears he's living a happy and blessed life, but appearances can be decieving. Serving the church has drained him to the point his family feels abandoned.
Christy Spakes loves her husband, but feels tired and lonely as her husband makes the church his priority.
Deacon Joe Smith loves the power and prestige he has acquired in his church being best friends with the church's pastor.
What happens when the popular Pastor of a growing church is faced with a crisis of belief? When life spirals out of control where will he place his faith? How will his well-to-do congregation respond to the challenge of sacrificing for God? First Fruits is the inspiring story of what happens when everyday people are challenged to give their very best to God.


Review:
Pastor Patrick Spakes was focused on gaining a record attendance each year at his beautiful Big Oak Christian Church. He is close friends with the board of deacons and especially the head deacon, Joe Smith, a wealthy business man in the community. The wealthy and influential board members spend time together playing golf and discussing programs to increase the attendance and income of the church. Pastor Spakes spends more time running the church like a business than he does caring for his own family. He does not see that his beautiful wife and two teen-aged children are feeling abandoned.

Although stressful, the morning of High Attendance, when the numbers from the membership drive are announced, provides Pastor cause to celebrate. But one of the church’s oldest parishioners, Sister Snyder, stops Pastor after service to give him an admonishing message of two Bible verses. Pastor jots them down but is too busy to even read them until much later. Any warning goes unheeded until a catastrophe brings the church down and pulls the rug out from under Pastor. As he takes a serious look at his goals compared to God’s goals he finally realizes he has been off track. He commits himself and then presents the 3T Challenge to the congregation. This begins to transform lives, while alienating a section of the church who do not like the new direction Pastor has chosen.

One of Pastor’s supporters, Hector and his family, live across town in a poorer neighborhood consisting of Spanish and other minority families. That community and the local church there are plagued with gangs and threats. Hector asks Pastor to meet with the local church leader to give him encouragement. Their meeting opens doors for both of them to grow and support each other. God works out circumstances to bless the Westside church which expands blessings to Pastor Spakes’ church too.

I really enjoyed the concept of the 3T Challenge, which I had not heard as expressed in this book. The story seemed real although it is a fictional creation. It moved in a natural way and, from my own fundamental faith, I found all of the non-coincidences quite believable. I enjoyed watching the new relationships develop between the two church congregations who found common ground in their faith and service in spite of their different social and financial circumstances.

This is an easy read that kept my attention and therefore moved quickly. There is heartbreak but there is the comfort only having hope in eternity can give. I was inspired by the story and most particularly by the 3T Challenge. I also enjoyed the Discussion Questions and think this would make a good group read. I recommend this to all readers. Those who walk in faith will find it uplifting and inspiring. Hopefully readers who may be searching will find the same and more beyond the entertainment value of the book.

I am grateful to have received this from the author for an honest review. This will be an "F" title for my Alphabet Soup Challenge.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Audio Book Review: Making Amends by Melinda Clayton

This is an engaging suspense drama with excellent narration.
Making Amends
Written by: Melinda Clayton
Narrated by: Michelle Babb
Length: 5 hrs and 49 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:03-16-16
Publisher: Thomas-Jacob Publishing, LLC
Genre: Suspense
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0


Publisher's Summary
On a beautiful fall evening, in the middle of a game of hide-and-seek, five-year-old Bobby Clark is kidnapped by his estranged father, a shiftless man with a history of domestic violence and drug abuse. Bobby's twin brother Ricky watches, terrified, from his hiding place behind the bougainvillea, while mother Tabby, who also struggles with addiction, lies inebriated on the living room floor.
Bobby isn't seen by his loved ones again until a fateful morning 25 years later, when video of his arrest dominates the morning news. He has been charged with the murder of his father, but before the trial can begin, he manages to escape.
As Tabby and Ricky absorb the news of Bobby's return and subsequent escape, Tabby is convinced he'll come home to the quiet Florida street from which he was taken so long ago. But when events begin to spiral out of control, she's left to wonder: is a child born to be evil, or shaped to be evil? And in the end, when it's time to make amends, does it really matter?
©2015 Melinda Clayton (P)2016 Melinda Clayton


Review:
Tabby was raised in the foster care system until she was booted to the streets when she reached 18. She was ripe to be caught in a downhill web of alcohol and drugs with the help of her dissolute, abusive husband, Vernon Clark. When Tabby learned she was pregnant…with twins no less…she managed to get clean for the pregnancy and delivery of two beautiful boys, Bobby and Ricky. Sadly, after they were born she fell back into bad habits. Tabby loved her boys but lived on the edge of consciousness.

Then, one morning when the boys were five years old their father swooped in and kidnapped Bobby. Tabby’s best friend, Von, shocked Tabby into sobriety for the sake of Ricky. But Tabby remained obsessed over the loss of her son. She got little help from the authorities to find him. Twenty-five years later the authorities finally found Bobby. He has made the news for being arrested for the murder of Vernon, his father.

Ricky works for a scandal sheet newspaper which specializes on getting the dirt on the periphery of the big news stories. Ricky knows his boss will be merciless in digging out the old family history on his mother and his brother’s kidnapping. Ricky would love to shield his mother but his co-workers tend to be relentless.

Tabby is anxious to get to Bobby and help him. She is sure that the killing was self-defense after years of abuse. Ricky will do what he can to help his mother and protect her although his own feelings about Bobby are mixed. Before Tabby and Ricky can arrive at the police station, Bobby has escaped. Now Ricky is even more conflicted not sure how his mother will cope with the pressure of the press and the renewed loss of her ‘first son’. Although she clearly loved Ricky somehow he was always “second place”.

I enjoyed the easy, natural flow of the writing style which is very straightforward. The story unfolds from alternating character perspectives by Tabby, Ricky and Von. Von is Tabby’s longtime friend and boss. As much as she wants to be there for Tabby, she has her hands full coping with and caring for her husband who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

This is a fascinating and gripping portrayal of several issues including, addiction, loss of a child, and caring for an Alzheimer's patient. The book description hints at what may occur so parts are not completely surprising. However, the final resolution is a bit of a heart wrenching twist as Tabby decides she must make amends to her sons.

Drama’s are not my favorite genre and I wasn’t quite sure how I would react to the family drama aspect of this story. I was very glad to find that the combination of writing perspectives, psychological suspense and insightful narration made this an engrossing listen. I recommend this to readers who do like family drama with the added kick of suspense.

Audio Notes: Michelle Babb does a wonderful job with the narration of this story. She manages to
convey the personalities of the characters that adds to the interest and suspense. The narration enhanced my enjoyment of this gripping story.

I received this audio from the narrator through Audiobook Blast (now Audiobook Boom) for an honest review. It qualifies for my Audio Challenge and M in Alphabet Challenge.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday Post May 22, 2016/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday May 23, 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.

This week I had to juggle work while my staff were out with sick children and then attending school year end events.
We have our D-I-L and Granddaughter visiting so I'm not sure how much computer time I will get at the beginning of the week.  (In addition to my reading I am getting to read to our Sweet Pea Granddaughter.)
The week ended with a lot of rain but we are still having nice spring, mostly sunny weather.


Once again I got a lot of reading in but not as many reviews as I hoped. I finished three books: two ebooks and one audios. I posted three reviews and my usual memes.

I enjoyed visiting other blogs early in the week but then didn't get back to do more.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • Book Review: Violets in February by Clare Revell; Christian Romance, Suspense; my rating 4.25.

Finished Reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (Author)


First Fruits
by Brad Duncan
This is an easy read with a strong faith message.
I will post my review this week.
Click on book title for full description.




2. eBook/Kindle (Author)


Embattlement: The Undergrounders Series Book Two 
(A Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopian Novel)
by Norma Hinkens
I enjoyed this sequel.
My review to post this week.
Click on book title for full description.



3. Audible/MP3 (TBR)


Old Man's War
Written by: John Scalzi
Narrated by: William Dufris
Dufris is a great narrator; makes this a super listen.
Click on book title for full description.





Currently reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (Author)


The Girl in the Time Machin
by Debra Chapoton
I have started this and it is very engaging.
I received this from the author for an honest review.
A NEW TWIST TO TIME TRAVEL
A desperate girl
A faulty time machine
A paradox waiting to happen ...
Seventeen year old Laken may want to get revenge on the girls who have bullied her, but she also wants to help them. Honest. Secretly using the time machine in her father's science lab, she sends them one by one into the last century. Poof, problems solved.
Except they're not.
Now the disappearances are being linked to unmarked graves. Parents are lying about their missing kids' whereabouts. The police want to search the lab. And Laken is running out of time to retrieve the last girl she sent to 1994.



2. Audible/MP3 (My Audible Library - 2016)


Enforcing Home: The Survivalist Series, Book 6
Written by: A. American
Narrated by: Duke Fontaine
I started this and it is hard to put down. 
I am half-way through already.
Publisher's Summary
Morgan has managed to get through a lot. Having made it back to his family and dealt with the issues of unscrupulous neighbors, he then had to deal with the presence of the federal government and their nefarious activities. But with the help of his close-knit group he prevailed. Life is settling into a familiar routine. And with the help of the US Army, they are starting to rebuild their community. But just when Morgan thinks things are assuming some kind of normal, another surprise lands in his lap. He's made sheriff.
Harkening back to a time when law enforcement was a local face in the community, Morgan is forced to step up and be that face, much to his chagrin. With the help of Thad, Danny, and the rest of the crew, he accepts the challenge and tries to make a positive impact. But he's in for yet another surprise. New foes will arise, and old ones will return to conspire to destroy his efforts.
Morgan's group will suffer loss, injury, and constant assault. His new position has made him a target as well as those he loves. The peace and tranquility that the group has fought so hard for will continue to elude them. The fight, as Morgan soon learns, is just beginning.
©2015 A. American (P)2016 Podium Publishing



3. eBook/Kindle (Publicist/Author)


Cast Adrift
by Mannah Pierce
I am looking forward to this sci fi which I received through Publishing Push and the author. The author also provided an interesting guest post.
Cast Adrift is the first part of a science fiction saga set in an interstellar world of the far future where Earth is merely a myth. Ean is queen of the Willow, a small ship with a Traditional crew who live in space and trade between the stars. Suddenly Tre, the laid back crew enforcer, is demanding that they dash to one system to pick up cabin boys and then divert to another to recruit an adolescent who is utterly unsuited to spacer life. Who is Jax? What is Rae? Why is the most powerful individual in Known Space interested in Kip? Most importantly, what is Tre up to?



4. Audible/MP3 (ABB/Author)


The Arrival: The Evaran Chronicles Prequel
Written by: Adair Hart
Narrated by: Michael Pauley
I liked the looks of this Sci Fi story.
I received this title from the author through AudioBook Boom.
Publisher's Summary
Jake Melkins is a few months away from turning 21. By the Seceltor Empire's laws, he will have to go to a breeding camp, or directly into slavery. Neither choice appeals to him. All this changes with the arrival of a space-and-time-traveling being known as Evaran at the space-station-turned-rest-stop that Jake lives on.
To make things complicated, Greecho, the slaver who abducted Jake as a kid, has arrived at the station. He and his crew, along with his 22-year-old human pet, Kathy, are about to go on a slave run to Earth.
Evaran has decided to interfere and free Jake and Kathy. That decision will lead him to Earth, where he will need to deal with the consequences.
©2016 Adair Hart (P)2016 Adair Hart



May 8, 2016 - Current 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 only posted three reviews last week so I am a bit behind. I will try to post five reviews this week to catch up.

I am finally getting to the five nine, now seven nine (again) back to five author ebook reviews committed with no specific dates.
My NetGalley shelves are down to four  with one of those next in line.



I hope to add another upcoming release this week to eTreasure's NetGalley titles.



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.

This week I received one review titles and I am still expecting some audio titles to come in.
I selected my two Audible selections for April credits.
I resisted kindle titles other than the usual free ones.

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
I received this title from the author through AudioBook Boom.
The Arrival: The Evaran Chronicles Prequel
Written by: Adair Hart
Narrated by: Michael Pauley
I liked the looks of this Sci Fi story.
Full description is above under current reading.

Won
NONE

Purchased

I picked up two titles with my April Audible credits:

Of Treasons Born: A Novel of the Treasons Cycle Of Treasons Born: A Novel of the Treasons Cycle
Written by: J. L. Doty
Narrated by: Noah Michael Levine
A gripping military science fiction adventure...

Written by: Trent Reedy
Narrated by: Andrew Eiden
I decided I wanted to continue with book two of this series.

Free

Over the past week I added another 51 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.

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