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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Audible Book Review: River Rising, Carson Chronicles, Book 1, by John A. Heldt

I enjoyed this time travel adventure. Mr. Hedlt creates engaging characters and situations.
River Rising
Carson Chronicles, Book 1
By: John A. Heldt
Narrated by: Chaz Allen

Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
Release date: 01-05-18
Language: English
Publisher: John A. Heldt
Genre: Adventure, Time Travel
My Rating: Story 4.0 of 5.0
Audio: 4.0 of 5.0

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

Adam Carson and his four siblings have lost their parents. Months after they are buried Adam gets a package from the family lawyer that reveals a remarkable secret. Their parents might not be dead because they have apparently traveled back in time. Adam presents the proposal to his brothers and sisters: stay without their parents or travel back in time to find them? The children agree to leave their world in 2017 to go to 1880 to find their parents.

The story follows the youths as they adjust to a past without cars, phones, computers or the many other modern conveniences they are accustomed to. Greg takes the train to the West, Arizona and California, running into a bit of frontier trouble. The rest of the family is in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a growing town where some find work, they all make friends and even a couple find romance. They become nicely involved in the community even as they watch the date for their return to 2017. However, they don’t realize they are in the path of a rising flood.

I thoroughly enjoyed the history as well as the story line. Heldt develops the characters of each of the siblings, who are good people, who have growing friendships. I enjoyed the gentle romances, the strength of Natalie’s character, and the excitement and danger that Greg faces. It was also fun to have Samuel Clemens as a brief character.

I have read early books that involved the parents’ time travels. Those explained the time mechanism where this book totally skimmed that which could be a hole for readers who weren’t familiar with the prior works. It was also unclear to me why the parents missed their timely return and the children arrived somewhere they didn’t expect to be. (Maybe it was there, and I missed it in the audio.)

I appreciate the warm characters and the imaginative and engaging story which are consistent with Mr. Heldt’s writings. I also liked how the story is told in different chapters from the view of the siblings. This story has an ending but it is not the end of the journey. I recommend the story to fans of time travel and also to those who like strong sibling adventure, historical details and clean romance.

Audio Notes: Chaz Allen takes a little bit of getting used to. He doesn’t really give a distinct voice to each character. However, his direct presentation with just a touch of a slow drawl, seems to fit the story, especially the historic settings. I was glad to listen to this in audio as it is a longer book than I normally pick up.

Source: From the author through AudioBook Boom for an honest review. This qualifies for my Audiobook and Alphabet Challenge, including 2018.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Post February 18, 2018/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday February 19, 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.

This was a good, full work week but I am still behind.
Our weather has turned into 80 degree days. Spring has sprung with our crocuses and other bulbs growing. I hope the weather is getting nicer for others.

I enjoyed my reading and listening last week. I finished one ebook and two Audibles. I posted four reviews and my usual memes.

I visited 32 blogs this past week :-)
Shout Out this week to Beth Fish Reads another strong book blogger from 2008.
Thank you to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:
  • NGTBR- #NetGalley Book Review: Battle Hymn (America Rising) by William C. Dietz; Alternate History, Military Sci Fi, Post-Apocalyptic; my rating 4.0.
  • NGTBR- #NetGalley Review: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai; Alternate History, Sci Fi, Time Travel; my rating 4.0.

Finished Reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (NGTBR)

The Billionaire's Sweet Valentine (Holiday Contest)
by Laura L. Walker
I enjoyed this lighter romance. The review is linked above.
Source: Author.
Click on book title for full description.

2. Audible/MP3 (Author)

The Earth Bleeds Red
By: Jackson Baer
Narrator: Dan Carroll
Duration: 8 hrs and 41 mins
Good story with nice, light faith elements.
Source: Author
Click on book title for full description.

3. Audible/Smartphone (TBR)

The Lunar Chronicles, Book 2
By: Marissa Meyer
Narrated by: Rebecca Soler
This kept my attention and I will be getting book three soon I think.
Source: December 2017 Audible Credit Purchase
Click on book title for full description.

Currently Reading:

When the Heart Cries, Sisters of the Quilt Series #1
by Cindy Woodsmall
Good story - I hurt for this young woman.
Source: 2016 for Ladies Book Club.
Click on book title for full description.

2. eBook/Kindle (NGTBR)

The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover
by Susan Wittig Albert
This story has wonderful history even if I haven't gotten to the mystery yet.
Source: NetGalley 2017.
It is 1934. FDR is in the White House, the New Deal is in full swing, and Prohibition has finally been repealed. Bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to Darling, Alabama, where the ladies of the local garden club aren’t afraid to dig a little dirt if that’s what it takes to cultivate a mystery . . .
When the Lucky Four Clovers run into a string of bad luck, it looks like the music may have ended for Darling’s favorite barbershop quartet—just when the Dixie Regional Barbershop Competition is about to take place. To complicate things, there’s a serious foul-up in Darling’s telephone system—and Myra May and Violet don’t have a penny for repairs. The town’s party lines may have to go out of business, which would be bad news for the gossips.
And it doesn’t help that newspaper editor/publisher Charlie Dickens is facing a crisis of confidence in his new wife, Fannie. Or that Liz Lacy (the Dahlias’ president) has to decide whether she’s ready for a do-over in her ill-fated romance with Grady Alexander. And what’s that secret her old friend Fremon is keeping? What does he know about what happened to the unlucky Clover on that dark night on the Jericho Road?
While liquor is legal again, moonshine isn’t, and as Sheriff Buddy Norris discovers when he goes into Briar Swamp to confront Cypress County’s most notorious bootlegger, it helps to have a little luck. But whatever the challenge, the Dahlias know that pie fixes everything. And you will, too, when you hear what they’re baking for Darling’s pie supper.
Once again, author Susan Wittig Albert has brought us a charming story of richly human characters who face the Great Depression with courage and grace. She reminds us that friends offer the best of themselves to each other, community is what holds us together, and luck is what you make of it.
Traditional Southern pie recipes (and a little cookery history) included!

3. Audible/MP3 (TBR)

For We Are Many
Bobiverse, Book 2
By: Dennis E. Taylor
Narrated by: Ray Porter
This is a really fun series.
Source: Audible 2017 sale purchase.
Publisher's Summary
The highly anticipated sequel to Audible's Best of 2016 - Science Fiction winner, We Are Legion (We Are Bob); a book listeners are calling "so much fun", "what science fiction was meant to be", and what would happen if "Andy Weir and Ernest Cline had a lovechild".
Bob Johansson didn't believe in an afterlife, so waking up after being killed in a car accident was a shock. To add to the surprise, he is now a sentient computer and the controlling intelligence for a Von Neumann probe.
Bob and his copies have been spreading out from Earth for 40 years now, looking for habitable planets. But that's the only part of the plan that's still in one piece. A system-wide war has killed off 99.9 percent of the human race; nuclear winter is slowly making the Earth uninhabitable; a radical group wants to finish the job on the remnants of humanity; the Brazilian space probes are still out there, still trying to blow up the competition; and the Bobs have discovered a spacefaring species that sees all other life as food.
Bob left Earth anticipating a life of exploration and blissful solitude. Instead he's become a sky god to a primitive native species, the only hope for getting humanity to a new home, and possibly the only thing that can prevent every living thing in the local sphere from ending up as dinner.
Listener favorite Ray Porter returns to narrate Bob - and his many incarnations - in all of their geeky glory.
©2017 Dennis E. Taylor (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

4. Audible/Smartphone

Golden Son
Book II of the Red Rising Trilogy
By: Pierce Brown
Narrated by: Tim Gerard Reynolds
Series: Red Rising, Book 2
This is a very intense series.
Source: Audible 2017 Credit Purchase.
Publisher's Summary
With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender's Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown's genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation. Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.
A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown's continuing satuts as one of fiction's most exciting new voices.
©2015 Pierce Brown (P)2015 Recorded Books

February 18, 2018 - I am up to date and 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 3 books and posted 4 reviews. That moves me to 3 current reviews - Yay.
I have started linking again at Goodreads, Amazon and Audible.

My NetGalley shelf is now at 19. 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.

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 two daily deal Audible titles this week and selected my January credits.
Plus I picked up two Kindle deals at $.99.
As usual, I picked up (many) 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 purchased two Kindle titles:
$.99 - This looks/sounds so cute; I saw this at Herding Cats through Mailbox Monday.
Saving the Sheriff: A Three River Ranch Novella
by Roxanne Snopek

$.99 I saw this post-apocalyptic.
The Way We Fall (The Fallen World Book 1)
by Megan Crewe

I purchased one Audible Daily Deal 2/16 at $.99
The Dispatcher cover artThe Dispatcher
By: John Scalzi
Narrated by: Zachary Quinto
Length: 2 hrs and 19 mins
Release date: 10-04-16
2/18 Daily Deal $3.95.
Call the Midwife
By: Jennifer Worth
Narrator: Nicola Barber
Duration: 12 hrs and 2 mins0
2/18 I have been eying this series; Sale $5.95
To Whisper Her Name
By: Tamera Alexander
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Duration: 17 hrs and 8 mins
Two Audible Credits
(One for me.)
Cry Wolf
By: Patricia Briggs
Narrator: Holter Graham
Duration: 10 hrs and 6 mins
(One for Hubby and me.)
White Fire
By: Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child
Narrator: Rene Auberjonois
Duration: 12 hrs and 52 mins

I added 65 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 February 18, 2018

We had a strong message in Sunday School continuing the study of death. I loved the testimony shared: You can’t do anything more, nor anything less, to change how God loves us. He already loves us beyond our imagining. Our music worship was beautiful and I broke into tears. (**See below the Sermon notes for comment on this.)

Pastor continued his sermon series on Inhabited. We need to seek the real deal – not momentary experiences or flash in the pain.

The last several weeks have noted how the Holy Spirit lives in us. The Holy Spirit is for anyone who believes In Christ. The Holy Spirit gives us power to defeat sin.

Anyone who has ever been near a lightning strike, or has made a mistake with electricity knows how you can feel the heat and power. Surges can hurt and do damage, so what you want is a steady flow.

The Holy Spirit brings power. Acts 1:8. The Greek word means ‘dunamis’ can be translated to mean dynamite. Don’t let the Holy Spirit be limited to an event. We need changed lives with a steady flow of power, not a surge of dynamite.

The power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is very practical, and for every day. This is shown in the story of Elijah and the challenge with the Prophets of Baal described in 1 Kings 18:16-39. The Prophets spent from morning to evening petitioning their God and Elijah mocked them “maybe your God is sleeping”. (I love God’s humor!) Then, at the usual time for the evening sacrifice, after having the people prepare an altar and offering soaked with water, Elijah prayed a straight forward prayer. And the TRUE GOD (the only God) showed His power and the people cried out “The Lord, he is God”. (v39.)

Point: The power of the Holy Spirit displayed in your life will point people to Jesus.

James 5:17 says that Elijah is just another human man, but he prayed earnestly and fervently.
Elijah lived before the Messiah, before the Holy Spirit so think how strong his faith was.
Why don't we see the power working in our lives?
We can be functional, even effective, but not powerful.
The Holy Spirit wants us to be powerful. Do not let the troubles, stresses and burdens of life steal the power within you. Give the burdens and hindrances back to God and be filled with power instead of worldly troubles.

I had another song in this post but the Spirit took me to this song instead!
(It fits my postscript below too.)
What if His People Prayed?
Verses for Today:
1 Kings 18:36-39 NIV
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

**I mentioned in the first of this post that I was moved to tears during our worship. We were singing Holy is The Lord and my mind went to the sad comments of Joy Behar of ABC's "The View" who basically said United States Vice President Mike Pence is ‘mentally ill’ for talking to Jesus and listening for God's voice. I have been praying for her since I saw some tidbit about that. I was struck during worship how she rejects, even mocks, the very presence and power of God to be real in our lives. Tears started running down my face as I felt the heartbreak of her being so lost and then the heartbreak for loved ones who do not walk with God and then for heartbreak for all the lost. Then we sang Spirit of the Living God which begins with a phrase "we want to hear your voice" and later says  "You move us to tears".
I thought how the heart of God and Jesus must break when people refuse to accept all that has been created and the sacrifice that has been given for man. I am determined to continue to pray that Ms. Behar and others who are lost will hear the voice of God.

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

#NetGalley Review: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Time travel paradox: What would you do if your actions changed your own time line?
All Our Wrong Todays: A Novel
by Elan Mastai
File Size: 1884 KB
Print Length: 380 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1101986506
Publisher: Dutton (February 7, 2017)
Genre: Alternate History, Sci Fi, Time Travel
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Elan Mastai's acclaimed debut novel is a story of friendship and family, of unexpected journeys and alternate paths, and of love in its multitude of forms.
It's 2016, and in Tom Barren's world, technology has solved all of humanity's problems—there's no war, no poverty, no under-ripe avocadoes. Unfortunately, Tom isn't happy. He's lost the girl of his dreams. And what do you do when you're heartbroken and have a time machine? Something stupid.
Finding himself stranded in a terrible alternate reality—which we immediately recognize as our 2016—Tom is desperate to fix his mistake and go home. Right up until the moment he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and the woman who may just be the love of his life.
Now Tom faces an impossible choice. Go back to his perfect but loveless life. Or stay in our messy reality with a soulmate by his side. His search for the answer takes him across continents and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.
Filled with humor and heart and packed with insight, intelligence, and mind-bending invention, All Our Wrong Todays is a powerful and moving story of life, loss, and love.

Tom Barren’s world of 2016 is a future that looks like the Jettson’s TV show with sleek buildings, robotic maids and hovercrafts. It is full of technology, (most) everyone is happy and (most) people finds their work in a field of entertainment or exploration. Tom’s parents are a strange, aloof couple and, sadly, Tom doesn’t have the focus or drive to keep a job, much less a career. He is pretty much a second rate loser who fantasizes about women and currently about one particular woman, Penelope, a brilliant young woman who is now the lead chrononaut on his father’s time travel team. Tom has been given the position of her understudy due to a freak accident four months earlier and a moment of pity from his father.

Tom’s father is a famous scientist who is about to run the first time travel experiment. His calculations are keyed to a specific time and energy signature in 1965 when another scientist unveiled the experiment that created endless free, clean energy which allowed the world to become Tom’s remarkable world in 2016.

The night before the trip in time Tom manages to mess up life again – for himself, Penelope and his father. In an extreme moment, Tom plunges himself into the time machine without being fully prepared – as usual. His arrival is partially successful but results in a glitch that changes time.

Tom awakens in a new 2016 as John Barren who has had a fall at a construction site. John is everything that Tom wasn’t. He is a driven, successful, wealthy architect with loving parents and a bright, sassy sister. No one believes Tom/John’s story of another timeline even as he is determined to set things right. But then he meets a wonderful bookstore owner, Penny who could be the love of his life. This would be a beautiful life, but it isn’t Tom’s life.

Tom/John must search out a way to proof his craziness, especially to Penny. That sets him across continents and times where he discovers that messing with time isn’t always a good thing.

Tom is somewhat of a shallow, miserable character making the beginning of the story slow and hard to get into. But once he travels back in time things become complex and interesting…and Tom even matures along the way. The story is more about the consequences of time travel than the travel itself, although there is some of that too in an interesting span.

I enjoy the paradox of time travel and this story is fun once it gets going. I recommend this to sci fi fans who enjoy the issues raised by time travel.

Source: NetGalley. This qualifies for 2018TBR, 2018NetGalley, 2018Alphabet Challenges and a book set in Canada for I Spy Reading Challenge.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Audible Book Review: Brothers in Valor, Man of War, Book 3 by H. Paul Honsinger

This Space Marine Sci Fi provides great entertainment.
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
Release date: 06-30-15
Language: English
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Genre: Sci Fi, Military, Space Opera
My Rating: Entertainment/Story 4.5 of 5.0;
Performance 5.0 of 5.0

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

Max Robichaux is a young space Captain on the space destroyer USS Cumberland, a ship that was previously mocked for its losses. The crew knew more about polishing the rivets than fighting the enemy of the Union until Max became their Captain. Since then they have faced danger and come out alive through Max’s quick, sometimes out of the box thinking.

The action starts as Max has to help the ship and crew escape from overwhelming odds. He will have to pull a rabbit out his hat – or try a trick that has never been done- to succeed.

Next the Cumberland is sent on a covert mission that takes them into the heart of the enemy. There is initial conflict as the other Captain he is paired with is a seasoned man who doesn’t want to take orders from Max. Once that conflict is resolved, they proceed with a daring plan. Although it means they may end up stranded with the enemy they have to take the risk to capture a key leader to have a chance of stopping the war.

I loved the non-stop action and danger in this story. Max is a great character who comes up with ingenious tactical solutions and is willing to trust his crew to know their jobs and make effective suggestions. Dr. Sahin, chief medical officer and special ambassador, adds good humor with his side comments and views from a nonmilitary aspect. I like the other crew ‘family’ and shared in their emotions.

I am only sorry that Mr. Honsinger has no other books for me to get. I do recommend this series to readers who enjoy action packed military space battles.

Audio Notes: As with Book 2, Ray Chase does a great job with the narration. He captures the intensity, the dry wit and the quirks of the characters. The listening experience enhanced the entertainment of the story.

Source: Audible TBR, 2016 Sale. This qualifies for my 2018TBR, Audiobook and Alphabet Challenges.

NetGalley Review of Book 1: To Honor You Call Us (Man of War Book 1) by H. Paul Honsinger 5.0
Audible Review of Book 2: For Honor We Stand: Man of War, Book 2 by H. Paul Honsinger 4.5


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