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Monday, January 29, 2018

MBS December 2017 Reading List Wrap Up

MBS 2017 Reading List - DECEMBER
Code for the list is:
A = Audible; ABJ = Audiobook Jukebox; ABB = Audiobook Boom
e = eBook; eA = eBook from Author; eT = eBook from Tour
NG = NetGalley
P = Print; PT = Print from Tour
LBC = Ladies Book Club
TBR = From the TBR shelves prior to 2017

  1. ATBR- Audible Book Review: Defining Diana by Hayden Trenholm; Cyberpunk, Mystery, Police Procedure, Sci Fi; my rating 4.0.
  2. ATBR- Audible Book Review: Letters form Atlantis by Robert Silverberg; Fantasy, Sci Fi, Time Travel; my rating 4.0.
  3. eNG- Book Review: Gift From The Stars by James Gunn; Hard Science Fiction; my rating 4.0.
  4. ATBR- Audible Book Review: A State of Treason by David Thomas Roberts; Action, Alternate History, Political Thriller; my rating 4.25.
  5. PTBR-LBC- Book Review and Giveaway: The Vision and Beyond by David Wilkerson; Prophesy, Religion & Spirituality; my rating 4.25.
  6. A2017- Audible Book Review: Western Christmas Weddings by Jenna Kernan; Historical Romance, Western Romance; my rating 4.5.
  7. eNG- Book Review: Sugar Pine Trail: A Small-Town Christmas Romance (Haven Point) by RaeAnne Thayne; Clean, Romance, Small Town; my rating 4.25.
  8. ATBR- Audible Book Review: Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper; Fantasy, Romance; my rating 4.25.
  9. eNG- Book Review: The Rancher's Christmas Song by RaeAnne Thayne; Clean, Holidays, Sweet Romance, Small Town; my rating 4.5.
  10. ATBR- Audible Book Review: Saving Grace by Lee Smith; Family Drama, Fiction; my rating 2.5.
  11. A-ABJ2017- Audio Book Review: About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay; Contemporary Romance, Small Town; my rating 3.5.
  12. PLBC- Book Review: The Christmas Code by O. S. Hawkin; Devotional, Inspirational, Religious my rating 4.5.
  13. Print- Goodreads Book Review: Elemenopee: The Day L, M, N, O, P Left the ABC's by Pamela Hall; Children, Learning; my rating 5.0.
  14. Print- Goodreads Book Review: Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins; Animals, Children, Learning; my rating 5.0.
  15. eNG- Book Review: Coiled by H. L. Burke; Adaptations, Fairy Tale, Retellings; my rating 4.75.
  16. PPublisher- Book Review: Into the Guns (America Rising) by William C. Dietz; Military, Post-Apocalyptic, Sci Fi; my rating 4.0.
  17. ATBR- Audible Book Review: Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara; Fantasy, Supernatural; my rating 3.75.
  18. eTBR- Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer; Adaptations, Alien, Sci Fi; my rating 4.25.
  19. ATBR- Audible Book Review: When a Child Is Born A Chronicles of St. Mary's Short Story by Jodi Taylor; Adventure, Fantasy, Time Travel; my rating 4.25.
  20. Tyndale One Year Bible

Total read = 18; TBR = 9; New Authors = 11
Audio/Audible = 9 (7 TBRs)
eBook = 1 (1 TBR)
NetGalley = 4
Print = 6 (1 TBR)

Audible Book Review: Island by Aldous Huxley

UGH - This one was not for me.
By: Aldous Huxley
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Island cover art
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
Release date: 09-13-16
Language: English
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: Classic, Vintage Sci Fi
My Rating: 2.0 of 5.0
Narrator Rating: 4.0

Publisher's Summary
In his final novel - which he considered his most important - Aldous Huxley transports us to the remote Pacific island of Pala, where an ideal society has flourished for 120 years.
Inevitably, this island of bliss attracts the envy and enmity of the surrounding world. A conspiracy is underway to take over Pala, and events are set in motion when an agent of the conspirators, a newspaperman named Faranby, is shipwrecked there. What Faranby doesn't expect is how his time with the people of Pala will revolutionize all his values and - to his amazement - give him hope.
©1962 Aldous Huxley (P)2016 Tantor

Will Faranby is a journalist who awakens on the shores of Pala, a remote Pacific island. He is found and cared for by native people. As he recovers he learns of the peaceful nature of the people from a young widow and the doctor who treats him.

Faranby also meets the 17-year-old prince and his worldly, controlling mother. The prince will be crowned ruler when he reaches 18. Faranby recognizes the boy who he met recently with a military official on a nearby island. It seems the boy and his mother are making plans with the dictatorial Colonel to bring social and economic modernism to Pala. Faranby spends a short time with the prince who explains his goals and reasonings.

Faranby then gets an explanation regarding the benefits of “yoga love” and Moksha meditation from the widow and the doctor takes Faranby on a tour of Pala. He is shown the schools, which include dance that helps stamp out anger, and art that helps to open creativity. He is also shown the research facilities which involve artificial insemination for genealogical selection.

These elements could have been interesting except they are presented by monologue lectures which advance a platform of Buddhist training, practices, beliefs and precepts often compared to Faranby’s wicked nature and inadequate Calvin principles. Huxley also presents a few brief ‘discussions’ of politics (communism versus capitalism) and there was a morality lecture including adaptations of Aesop’s Fables and principles of ecology and conservation. 80% of the book is lecture although some brief periods of dialogue included Faranby’s irreverent, ironic, quotes of scripture and even some recited poetry.

I found three items I liked: the beginning “attention” and “here and now boys” screeches of the mynah; the description of a landscape painting in the meditation room; and the description of “chewing grace” where, with first bite, they focus attention to the food, tastes and textures. The last hour consisted of a description of a drug induced experience – first with joy and beauty then with fear and ugliness.

I struggled through the first half hoping to get to some plot. Then, having committed six hours already, I forced myself to finish. If I wanted a lecture on Buddhism I could take a class. That is not what I want in a fiction book. The overall experience: UGH!

Audio Notes: Thank goodness for Simon Vance! I always like his voice so it was really the saving grace of pushing through this listen. He gives the characters suitable accents and manages not to drift off during the lectures.

Source: Audible Daily Deal 2018 Purchase for Vintage Sci Fi. This qualifies for 2018 Audiobook and Alphabet Challenges.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Sunday Post January 28, 2018/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday January 29, 2018

I am linking with Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading now at The Book Date.

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.

Work continues at the office. I have a special reporting project I have to finish by 1/31. Thankfully all staff are back in the office. Our weather has warmed up but today has been a day of rain.

I enjoyed my reading and some of my listening. I finished three Audibles and one print book. I posted five reviews on site and one at Audible. Plus I posted my usual memes.

I visited 29 blogs during the week :-)
Shout Out this week to Hope, Faith & Books.
Thank you to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • A2018- Audible Book Review: Year One by Nora Roberts;Fantasy, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Supernatural; my rating 4.25.
  • ATBR- Audible Book Review: One Year After by William R. Forstchen; Post-Apocalyptic, Thriller; my rating 4.25.
  • ATBR- Vintage Sci Fi - Audible Book Review: Time for the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein; Classic, Space Marine, Vintage Sci Fi; my rating 4.0.

Finished Reading:
1. Print TBR (Publisher)

Seek and Destroy (America Rising)
by William C. Dietz
The second half of this was non stop action. I liked it and am glad I have book three to read.
Click on book title for full description.

2. Audible/MP3 (ATBR)
Ubik cover art

By: Philip K. Dick
Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
I enjoyed this suitably ironic Vintage Sci Fi.
Click on book title for full description.

3. Audible/Smartphone (2018Purch)
Island cover art

By: Aldous Huxley
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
Release date: 09-13-16
Even with Simon Vance as the narrator, this was a struggle all the way to the end. It is more philosophy/Buddist lecture than Vintage Sci Fi.

Click on book title for full description.

4. Audible/Smartphone (TBR)

X Minus One: A Gun for Dinosaur (March 7, 1956)
By: L. Sprague de Camp, Ernest Kinoy - adaptation
Narrated by: Fred Collins
Length: 29 mins
This is a quick, fun Vintage Sci Fi.
Source: Audible TBR 2017 Purchase $.95.
Publisher's Summary
X Minus One premiered in April 1955 on NBC and ran until January 1958. Like its predecessor series, Dimension X, X Minus One featured stories by the greatest names in modern science fiction: Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Clifford Simak, Robert Bloch, and many more.
Public Domain (P)2012 BN Publishing

Currently Reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (NGTBR)

A Gem of a Problem (Emma Berry Murray River Mystery Book 1)
by Irene Sauman
85% in I am really enjoying this historical mystery with determined female amateur detective.
Source: NetGalley 2017.
Click on book title for full description.

2. Audible/MP3 (TBR)

Brothers in Valor Man of War, Book 3
By: H. Paul Honsinger
Narrated by: Ray Chase
Series: Man of War, Book 3
Length: 10 hrs and 6 mins
I am thoroughly enjoying the action in this Space Marine Sci Fi. 
Source: Audible TBR 2016 Sale
Publisher's Summary
Sometimes Captain Max Robichaux fights by the book - and sometimes he throws the book away. This makes him one of the Union Space Navy's rising stars. It's also what has kept him and his green crew alive...thus far.
When Max and his ship - the twenty-fourth-century space destroyer USS Cumberland - are boxed in by eight enemy battleships, the odds are against them at a million to one. It takes all their skill and guts just to escape...and surviving won't get easier. Sent on a covert mission behind enemy lines, Max and his crew are poised to strike a blow so hard that, if successful, it could turn the tide of the war. But if they fail, it will cost them their lives...and the lives of every human in the galaxy.
©2015 H. Paul Honsinger (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved

3. eBook/Kindle (NGTBR)

Battle Hymn (America Rising)
by William C. Dietz
I am interested to read book three 
and find out where the ugly civil conflict goes.
Source: Publisher through NetGalley
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Legion of the Damned® novels comes the final volume in the postapocalyptic military science fiction trilogy about America warring with itself and the people trying to keep it together...
The Second Civil War continues to rage as Union president Samuel T. Sloan battles to keep America whole and, more than that, to restore the country to its former greatness.
"Wanted Dead or Alive." Following a fateful battle between Union Army major Robin "Mac" Macintyre and her sister, the New Confederacy places a price on Mac's head, and bounty hunters are on her trail.
But there's work to be done, and Mac is determined to help Sloan reunify the country by freeing hundreds of Union POWs from appalling conditions in Mexico and capturing a strategic oil reserve that lies deep inside Confederate territory.
However, to truly have peace it will be necessary to capture or kill the New Confederacy's leadership, and that includes Mac's father, General Bo Macintyre.

4. Audible/MP3 (ABB 2018)

River Rising
Carson Chronicles, Book 1
By: John A. Heldt
Narrated by: Chaz Allen
Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
I have enjoyed prior stories by this author. I like the element of time travel.
Source: From the author through AudioBook Boom.
Publisher's Summary
Weeks after his parents disappear on a hike, engineer Adam Carson, 27, searches for answers. Then he discovers a secret website and learns his mom and dad are time travelers stuck in the past. Armed with the information he needs to find them, Adam convinces his younger siblings to join him on a rescue mission to the 1880s.
While Greg, the adventurous middle brother, follows leads in the Wild West, Adam, journalist Natalie, and high school seniors Cody and Caitlin do the same in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Like the residents of the bustling steel community, all are unaware of a flood that will destroy the city on May 31, 1889.
In River Rising, the first novel in the Carson Chronicles series, five young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they experience America in the age of bustle dresses, gunslingers, and robber barons.
©2017 John A. Heldt (P)2017 John A. Heldt

January 28, 2018 - I am enjoying reading and listening to the One Year Bible plan on my new smartphone. However we realized that it does not match the book plan so we aren't not reading the same scriptures. You can check out the audio on the companion commentary online.

I completed 4 books and posted 6 reviews - yay, a good dent. I still have 5 current reviews.  I have started linking again at Goodreads, Amazon and Audible.
My NetGalley shelf is now at 21.  I still have one committed author title in queue and many through InstaFreebie. I have more new author requests but haven't had time to reply.

We're working on two more fiction books to add to eTreasure's NetGalley page.

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 (yours truly). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.
I selected/received one audiobook for review this week.
I picked up one Audible daily deals and seven 2017 Daily Deal titles on sale.THE SALE CONTINUES TO 11pm PT tonight.
I didn't purchase any Kindle titles this week.
As usual, I picked up more free kindle titles as usual. (Note these are in my Amazon library, NOT on my Kindle until I download and transfer them.)
Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles
I received this audio title from the author through AudioBook Boom.
I have enjoyed this author before and he had emailed me to offer the book - then I saw the audiobook available.

River Rising
By: John A. Heldt
Narrator: Chaz Allen
Duration: 13 hrs and 8 mins


Audible Daily Deal this week:
1/27/2018 DD for $2.95
Stillhouse LakeStillhouse Lake
By: Rachel Caine
Narrated by: Emily Sutton-Smith
Series: Stillhouse Lake, Book 1
Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
I've seen favorable review s for this and had my eye on it.

Audible 2017 Daily Deals on Sale (sale runs to 11pm Sunday night):
Aesop's Fables
By: Aesop
Narrator: Jonathan Kent
Duration: 2 hrs and 22 mins
By: Jonathan Maberry
Narrator: Ray Porter
Duration: 4 hrs and 55 mins
The Lilac Bouquet
By: Carolyn Brown
Narrator: Brittany Pressley
Duration: 8 hrs and 31 mins

Four titles at $3.95 each:
The Old Man
By: Thomas Perry
Narrator: Peter Berkrot
Duration: 11 hrs and 13 mins
By: Neal Shusterman
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Duration: 10 hrs and 32 mins
Dungeon Born
By: Dakota Krout
Narrator: Vikas Adam
Duration: 12 hrs and 32 mins
By: Charlie Donlea
Narrator: Nina Alvamar
Duration: 10 hrs and 48 mins

I added 60 free titles to my Kindle library this week! 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 January 28, 2018

We went off to church this morning in the rain. The Sunday School lesson turned from death into a concern to pressing in.

Pastor continued his Sermon series titled Vision.
He summarized the prior messages: be Connected; Minister to one another; Recapture the dream. Church is not a social club. We are to give our lives for God's mission. This is an outward focus.
There was a strong prayer meeting on Wednesday night. There is excitement, but that might be short lived. Pastor prefers the word “enthusiasm” which means ‘from God’.
We need to be pursuing God. We need to team together with enthusiasm.
We are meant to be victors and overcomers.

Matthew 20:20-31 tells how certain apostles were seeking to sit in the ‘special’ seat next to Jesus. But Jesus tells them those who want to be a leader must be a servant.
We are to serve the needs of community.
Pastor’s Vision for our church: We become known for our compassion for the people of this community, in turn making Jesus known.
We practice evangelism through service. Mark 9:41 (offer a cup of water). Someday the service of a Christ follower may change a life.

Point: Serving with compassion is not a task.
There are five things the church should be about:
1. Worship
2. Community Inside (relationship)
3. Spiritual Growth
4. Serve Outside
5. Invest in the World

This is a song that I think fits the message.
A Verses for today:
Mark 9:39-41 (NIV)
39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

Lord, help me be a servant for You. Fill my heart with compassion for the people.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Audible Book Review: Time for the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein

This is entertaining, ironic and introspective sci fi.
Time for the Stars
By: Robert A. Heinlein
Narrated by: Barrett Whitener
Length: 6 hrs and 36 mins
Release date: 01-25-11
Language: English
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Classic, Space Marine, Vintage Sci Fi
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
Travel to other planets is now a reality, and with overpopulation stretching the resources of Earth, the necessity of finding habitable worlds is growing ever more urgent. There’s a problem though—because the spaceships are slower than light, any communication between the exploring ships and Earth would take years.
Tom and Pat are identical twin teenagers. As twins they’ve always been close, so close that it seemed like they could read each other’s minds. When they are recruited by the Long Range Foundation, the twins find out that they can, indeed, peer into each other’s thoughts. Along with other telepathic duos, they are enlisted to be the human transmitters and receivers that will keep the ships in contact with Earth. But there’s a catch: one of the twins has to stay behind—and that one will grow old—while the other explores the depths of space and returns as a young man still.
©1956 ; 1983 by Robert A. Heinlein; 2003 by the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Space travel is a reality but there is a problem with getting communication back and forth in a timely fashion. The Long Range Foundation has discovered that twins, or more rarely other family members, can share thoughts even at a distance… through space.

Tom and Pat are identical twins who have always been close but didn’t realize the skill they have until they were tested. They are able to communicate by telepathy. This is good news for the young men and their family as their talents are sought after and will bring good pay. The only problem is that one will travel in space, barely aging, while the other will remain on Earth growing old.

Pat has always been the bit more aggressive of the twins so he steps forward to go. But Tom isn’t ready to take second place this time. All of this distresses their mother and causes some resentment in Tom. But space can be dangerous and things rarely remain the same.

The story is told in first person by Tom. Although there is some space adventure and danger, much of the story is centered on the inner thought struggles that Tom experiences through the situations. This makes it more than just a fun space tale. Although there is retrospection and self-searching the pacing is good so the text moves forward well.

I enjoyed the story. It has the science fiction irony I have come to expect and admire in the classic sci fi stories. I recommend this as a fun vintage sci fi.

Audio Notes: Barrett Whitener does a good job with the narration. The performance is not vibrant or exciting but it suits the character of Tom, especially as a good part of it is set as journal entries. I enjoyed the audio version.

Source: Audible TBR 2016. Read for Vintage Sci Fi. Also qualifies for TBR, Audiobook and Alphabet Challenges.

Sharing Beyond Books #336 Comment Giveaway January 27, 2018

Hello again and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!

I am going to continue to post this event biweekly (every other week) for another month and then see if I am ready to go back to four a month. The question queue is down to 18 or so and some of those may have been asked before. I haven't gone through them all.

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.
Stated reading goals ranged from the low of 50 (three people) to a high of 300 -- Alina reads a lot! A couple like to read one book a week (52) and then there were a couple hoping to read 100 and one person at 75. At least 10 commenters have not set goals or challenges for this year.

The Winner from SBB #335 comments is: #16 Becky who can make a GC choice if international or book choice from the Updated (**Finally!) ARC/Review titles or (recently updated) Love and Christmas titles - all linked near the end of the post.

**NOTE: I did post an Updated ARC and Other books for Giveaways. I have to go back and list the titles -- someday.
Please let me know your choice by completing the WINNER FORM.

WEEK #336
(One Question.)

Marjorie asks: What was your favorite meal that Mom made when you were a child??
I had to think a bit - it's been a long time. I loved my mother's old fashioned meatloaf.
Image result for old fashioned meatloaf
Image found at Kitchme.

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.
Since I am only doing two posts a month I think I will split the comment prize if GC and count 1/2 book for US winners. I think this will work out okay as I only have two US commenters with open suggestions and about four or five international. Does that seem okay? That means for January Natalija and Marjorie each get $2.50 credit for questions.

Your turn to share. Marjorie asks: What was your favorite meal that Mom made when you were a child??

SBB Comment Winners can choose a selection from the Updated ARC and Other books, including the "Love" and Christmas titles all in one post.

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 February 10, 2018 at 5 PM central.

Audible Book Review: Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1 by Jim Butcher

This is good entertainment and I will read more in the series.
Storm Front: The Dresden Files, Book 1 
By Jim Butcher
Narrated By James Marsters
Series: The Dresden Files, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
Release date: 06-10-09
Language: English
Publisher: Buzzy Multimedia Publishing Corp.
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Private Investigator, Wizards
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. I'm a wizard. I work out of an office in midtown Chicago. As far as I know, I'm the only openly practicing professional wizard in the country. You can find me in the yellow pages, under Wizards. Believe it or not, I'm the only one there.
With rent past due and a decent meal becoming an issue of some importance, Harry needs work, and soon. A call from a distraught wife, and another from Lt Murphy of the Chicago PD Special Investigation Unit makes Harry believe things are looking up, but they are about to get worse, much worse. Someone is harnessing immense supernatural forces to commit a series of grisly murders. Someone has violated the first law of magic: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Tracking that someone takes Harry into the dangerous underbelly of Chicago, from mobsters.
©2000 Jim Butcher; (P)2002 Buzzy Multimedia

Dresden is a professional wizard who practices good magic. He learned under a master wizard who turned bad. Dresden was accused of killing his mentor, but it was determined it was self-defense. Still his past keeps the enforcer hot on his tail trying to catch him in a wrong.

Dresden is hired to find a missing husband for a distraught wife. While investigating the case, Dresden is called in by Lt Murphy who seeks his consultation in spite of major criticism and cynicism. The scene is gruesome with a couple killed in bed in a manner that can only be supernatural. This turns out to be the first of several similar killings.

Dresden has to skim close to the edge of the magical rules to try figure out how the murders are being done. As he works on the puzzle he gets to have a rare dinner date, only to have the date interrupted by a demon attack.

The murders and the presence of a demon violate the laws of magic leading the biased magical enforcer to believe that Dresden is the murderer. Lt. Murphy also begins to suspect Dresden when he isn’t fully forthcoming with his knowledge. Dresden is in a race to discover the true killer before Dresden has to face the magical counsel or before he becomes the next victim --- whichever comes first.

I enjoyed the magical elements set in a contemporary setting as well as the seemingly impossible dangers the hero faces. The pacing moves well and there is light humor even though parts of the story are full of dark magic. The characters, including “Bob”, have a bit of noir stereotype (think Sam Spade) but this added to the interest. I do hope that there may be a romance interest as the series proceeds.

This is the first story I have read by this well-known author and I look forward to more in the series. I recommend it to readers who like a good urban fantasy.

Audio Notes: James Marsters does an excellent job with the narration. Yes, you can hear him swallow and breathe but it seemed like Dresden was being a natural story teller. Marsters captures the self-deprecating nature of Dresden. The narration made this an extra enjoyable reading experience.

Source: Audible TBR 2012. This qualifies for 2018 TBR, Audiobook and Alphabet challenges.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway January 26, 2018

Happy Friday!

(Sorry to be late - this apparently didn't schedule when I prepared it.)
I didn't get the title list up yet but I took an updated picture of the books left in the box. I see that doesn't help so much but I can't get them listed until next week as I have a project to complete this weekend.  If need be, try downloading the picture and opening it for larger viewing.


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 January 19 Pick. There was one 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 no titles blocked.
CarolL gets Surrender My Love

to picked Winners from January 19 Pick:
Amanda gets a CG; and
bn100 gets Morning Song.

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.} 
Move on with more good reading! :-)
Image found at QuotesGram.

New Book Group #76 November 3, 2017 (37 titles)
24 in the top picture and 13 in the lower picture. Not sure that you can read the titles so I will try to list these soon.

These books remain:

Finger Licken' Fifteen
How to Tame a Highland Warrior
The Texan
Total Control
Atlantis Found
Stephanie Laurens Pair
Rebellious Desires 
Forget Me Not 
The Eighth Commandment
Ghost Riders
The Manning Brides by Debbie Macomber 
Shadow Music 
Corbin's Fancy

New Book Group #75 September 29, 2017

JoAnn Ross: Confessions
Aunt Erma's Cope Book
Morning Song
Named of the Dragon
Secret Blessing
The Painted House (audio)

New Book Group #74 August 25, 2017

Treasure Me by Robyn DeHart
Cold Blooded by Lisa Jackson
House of Dreams by Brenda Joyce (slight spine wear)
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Surrender My Love by Johanna Lindsey (slight spine wear)
204 Rosewood Lane by Debbie Macomber
The Big Bad Wolf by James Patterson – Audio Cassettes
The New Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman

New Book Group #73 June 16, 2017
I was looking for Summer titles but that didn’t really work.
The Cowboy by Joan Johnston
A Dragon Prince by Mary Gillgannon
A Kiss Before Dawn by Kimberly Logan

New Book Group #72 May 12, 2017
Rainbow Mars by Larry Niven
Bound by Destiny by Rayka Mennen
The Fireman’s Fair by Josephine Humphreys (Hardcover

New Book Group #71 March 10, 2017
Mysteries and Thrillers
There Was A Little Girl by Ed McBain (Audio Cassettes)

New Book Group #70 January 27, 2017
Thought I’d share some romances for February:
Love's Brazen Fire by Betina Krahn

New Book Group #69 November 18, 2016 -- All Gone

New Book Group #68 October 28, 2016
Plan of Attack by Dan Brown

New Book Group #67 September 9, 2016

(*Three more very old books from my Gothics box.)
*The Man in the Garden by Paule Mason (1969 - yellowed)

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.)
*Maggie – Her Marriage by Taylor Caldwell (1953 very old, yellowed pages, some stain damage doesn't effect reading)
Fire Dancer by Ann Maxwell

New Book Group #65 April 29, 2016-- All Gone

New Book Group #64 March 4, 2016
First Things First by Stephen R. Covey- Audio Cassette

New Book Group #63 January 22, 2016 -- All Gone

New Book Group #62 November 6, 2015 -- All Gone

New Book Group #61 October 30, 2015 -- All Gone

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

The Shadowing by Joan Overfield
Trilogy Of Mysteries Audio Book Shadow Prey, There Was A Little Girl, Smokescreen Audio Cassettes (NOT CDs)

New Book Group #59 July 31, 2015 -- All Gone

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 -- All Gone

BOX 4 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 47-53)
The Hidden Truth of Cytech's Randall Forty by Vickie Kennedy
Jezebel by Katherine Sutcliff
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)
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
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)

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 EIGHT years I have posted 75 groups of 16 (1,200) books to find new homes! (as of November 2, 2017).

I am happy to say that so far about 1,138+books have found new homes through this feature! YAY. [A month or so ago I posted I had reached 2000 books given away. As I calculated the numbers 11/2/17 I realized that had to be an error. I realized I went from 1098 to 2001 instead of 1101. Guess I was tired; sorry for the error.] 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, January 25, 2018

#NetGalley Book Review: Precisely at Midnight (Kinsman Book 2) by Joyce and Alexandra Swann

This story shares fascinating information and wonderful Christian messages.
Precisely at Midnight (Kinsman Book 2)
by Joyce and Alexandra Swann
File Size: 1120 KB
Print Length: 175 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 197406042X
Publication Date: October 6, 2017
Genre: Christian, Inspirational, Holiday
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

When Carol Pensworth accepts her invitation to begin a new life, her first assignment is to redeem victims of human trafficking. But Carol quickly learns that with Kinsman, one invitation always leads to another, and then another, and then another....
You are experience the hope of redemption and the power of second chances in a holiday story that celebrates the value of every life.

Carol accepts an invitation from Kinsman, a Christian foundation that helps people who are willing to help themselves and change their lives. Carol lost her parents when she was only a teen and has worked hard to raise her younger brother. Now Kinsman has offered a chance for her to fulfill a few dreams of her own.

Carol is beginning a charming friendship with a widower connected with the Kinsman project. But even that friendship won’t stand in the way when Carol’s heart is touched by a special message shared at church. A young woman shares the trauma of girls trapped into prostitution, sold by family or kidnapped and caged to be used as sex slaves with no hope of release. Carol hasn’t told anyone about the cry for help she has been hearing. Now she knows that she is being called to help the women in this situation.

Kinsman helps Carol travel to a foreign country to meet with leaders of an organization that rescues young women. There Carol meets a young woman and is determined to change her live provided they escape the dangers around them.

I found this story lovely as well as informative. I really liked the personal way the authors shared the heart wrenching situation. The authors also share Biblical messages in very natural settings and dialogue. I was fully engaged, and this read very quickly.

Although this has a beautiful holiday cover and is listed under "Holiday", it can be read and enjoyed anytime of the year. I recommend this story to readers who might want to know about female trafficking and who enjoy Biblically based stories.

Source: NetGalley. This qualifies for 2018 TBR, NetGalley and Alphabet challenges.

Audible Book Review: One Year After by William R. Forstchen

This was just so realistic. Great entertainment!
By: William R. Forstchen
Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
Series: After (Forstchen), Book 2
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
Release date: 09-15-15
Language: English
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Thriller
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Publisher's Summary
The thrilling follow-up to the New York Times best-selling novel One Second After.
Months before publication, One Second After was cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should have, a book discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at the dangers of EMPs. An EMP is a weapon with the power to destroy the entire United States in a single act of terrorism in a single second; Indeed, it is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. One Second After was a dire warning of what might be our future... and our end.
One Year After returns to the small town of Black Mountain and the man who struggled to rebuild it in the wake of devastation: John Matherson. It is a thrilling follow-up and should delight fans in every way.
©2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2015 Blackstone Audiobooks.

In the first book, One Second After, an EMP attack destroys the US infrastructure. Forstchen describes the devastation and struggles that result in 4 out of 5 Americans dying in the months after the detonation of just several small nuclear weapons.

This book picks up one year later, focusing on the town of Black Mountain. This community has pulled together to survive and rebuild without waiting for a government in chaos to rescue them. The town administrator, John Matherson, is a former military man whose decisive action has helped stabilize the town. He led the training of a group of college students into a local self-defense force when the town had to stop a brutal gang of border raiders. The town people have worked together to set up successful crop arrangements, medical facilities, schools and are on the verge of putting power back online, even if limited.

Unfortunately, the news of the successful defeat of the raiders and the regrowth of the town has reached the ears of political leaders. A pompous military man, Dale Fredericks, arrives as the Federal Administrator in Ashville. This ‘leader’ is a political hack, not a commander. He apparently is intent on getting control of Matherson and his resources. Fredericks begins by using flattery and bribery to try to gain Matherson’s cooperation. If that doesn’t work he is prepared to use force to manipulate Matherson, even if it means hurting innocent civilians and wreaking destruction on the community.

The ‘reestablished’ federal government has instituted a mandatory draft of able-bodied into the Army of National Recovery, ANR. The ANR is sending teenagers for minimal training before pushing them into dangerous, combative situations. Matherson has already lost his younger child and isn’t happy about the thought of his 18-year-old daughter, a mother of a 14-month-old, going off to fight for a tenuous, self-proclaimed government that has been cobbled together by old politicians.

While tensions and hostilities mount between the people of Black Mountain and the federal representatives, Matherson has to deal with community squabbles and border raids, including murder. His troubles include getting kidnapped by a group of independent raiders although he finds a way to escape. Then he has to help defend his town from an invasion by an ANR troop under the command of Fredericks.

This story is well told with non-stop action. I was totally invested in Matherson and his community who are faced with the choice of passively submitting to fascist rule or facing death as they fight other Americans. There are a lot of emotional pulls with anger, fear, love, pride, disgust and more. The characters and scenarios, including the politics, are strikingly realistic.

I listened to the first book a number of years ago and probably should have listened to this sooner. I will be getting the next book, The Final Day, to see what happens next. I think this series is a must read/listen for fans of the post-apocalyptic genre. However, I also recommend it to readers who have any interest in the impact that could result from an EMP strike.

Audio Notes: I was fine with the narration by Bronson Pinchot. He provided different accents for the characters. There were a few whose southern accent was over the edge hillbilly – but that also fit a few of the characters. I became immersed in the story which moved quickly. I appreciated the audio performance that contributed to the entertainment for me.

Source: Audible TBR/sale purchase from 2016. This qualifies for TBR, Audiobook and Alphabet Challenges.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Audible Book Review: Year One by Nora Roberts

This is engaging entertainment – post-apocalyptic world with magical gifts loosed within some survivors.
Year One
By: Nora Roberts
Narrator: Julia Whelan

Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
Release date: 12-05-17
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Supernatural
Overall Rating: 4.25 of 5.0
Audio Performance: 5.0

Publisher's Summary
A stunning new novel from the number-one New York Times best-selling author - an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives...
It began on New Year's Eve.
The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed - and more than half of the world's population was decimated.
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river - or in the ones you know and love the most.
As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.
In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.
The end has come. The beginning comes next.
©2017 Nora Roberts (P)2017 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

A virus spreads even before it is recognized, and it is 90%+ lethal within days. There is little time to seek medical assistance even and the virus spreads like wild fire at the health facilities in the cities. Soon there are scattered and stunned survivors. Some find they have magical features (elves, pixies) and powers (witches and wizards). There are those who use their gits to good and those who revel in evil power. There are also the groups of ‘normals’ who survived and are often fearful of all the newly gifted after having seen the horrible, brutal acts of the evil with powers.

At first the survivors think they might get help from the government. Then the immune and the gifted realize they are likely to be hunted for study and control. Now survivors are on the run from authorities and evil, never knowing what they will face with each stranger they meet.

Ms. Roberts reveals the changing community and carries the story forward through three primary character groups. Lana and Max are white (good) witches who escape from New York and begin to gather strays who see Max as a reluctant but strong leader and Lana as his equally strong, compassionate helpmate. Arlys, a news journalist, continues to report on observations of life changing around her, and finally reveals the initially suppressed threats of government action. She escapes the city with a co-employee who is a cheerful pixie. They meet up with Chuck, who is a computer tech genius hacking into the internet and communication systems while staying under the radar of others online. Rachel is a dedicated doctor trying to work through the heartbreak of death in the hospital, while Jonah, a compassionate paramedic is tempted to escape the death which he unwillingly foresees. These two team together to save the life of a mother who gives birth to twins and agrees to mother an orphaned infant. All three groups must move away from the cities of chaos and journey through the pockets of danger to seek an unknown safe place.

This is a different take on a post-apocalyptic crisis. Clearly Nora Roberts is a talented, skilled author. This genre is different from her main writings of romance and mysteries although some of her romances have included magical elements and the In Death series (penned as J.D. Robb) includes futuristic elements. I enjoyed the entertainment value of this story. The characters are engaging if not necessarily remarkable. Other than the magical gifts they are relatable beings. I like how the conflict, struggle and emotional trauma have scenes of joy sprinkled in the terror of the changing and disintegrating society. There are twists that kept things interesting and set up an underlying thread to be explored in subsequent books.

Although I won’t laud this as “the best post-apocalyptic” story I have read, I did find it thoroughly engaging and entertaining. I am invested enough with the characters to want to read/listen when book two is released.

Audio Notes: Julia Whelan does a beautiful job with the narration. Not only does she give each character a fitting accent and their intended personality but her overall narration flows seamlessly. I definitely appreciated the skillful narration that enhanced this story for me.

This seemed a good Audible choice to start a new year since "it began on New Year's Eve." I purchased this on 1/1/2018 so it qualifies for a 2018 entry in my Audible Challenge and Alphabet Challenge.


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