Friday, August 29, 2014

Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon (September 8-20,2014)

Time to clear out that mountain of TBR books, and join in the fun hosted by Wishful Endings.  She has challenges and giveaways planned throughout the read-a-thon, and it should be a fun time for everyone who participates.

My Goals

I don't know what specific titles I'll be reading, as it will depend on what I finish between now and then. I do hope to finish at least 6 books from my stack during that time, however. I will be reading a variety of genres, from mystery to sci-fi to romance to fantasy.  I will be posting daily updates during the read-a-thon to let everyone know how I'm doing.  Updates will be rather short and sweet, and look something like this:
(Day of the week)
What I read today:
Today's finished books:
Total number of finished books:
Titles of finished books:

There will also be Twitter posts, using #TackleTBR  (Note to self--tag @TresSherm in all Twitter updates).

To join in the reading fun, simply click the link above and sign up.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August Kindle Giveaway

It's time for August's $229 Kindle Giveaway Hosted by I Am A Reader. Enter to win 1 of 2 great prizes both valued at $229. Winner’s choice of a Kindle Fire HDX or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 Paypal Cash! The first prize is available via the rafflecopter below. The 2nd is available only to those share this giveaway. You can find info on how to enter the 2nd giveaway in the rafflecopter.

  August Kindle 2014  

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
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Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? August 25, 2014

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What I read last week:
1)  #hashtagged, by Kimberly Hix Trant (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
2)  What Strange Creatures, by Emily Arsenault
3)  The Joshua Effect, by P.S. Meronek
4) Hotel Apocalypse III, by Bennett Gavrish (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
5) Marriage Takes Three, by G.E. Hamlin (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
6) Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions, by Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson

What I listened to last week:
1)  A Brew To A Kill (Coffeehouse Mystery #11), by Cleo Coyle
2) Lost And Found: The True Story of Jaycee Lee Dugard and the Abduction That Shocked the World, by John Glatt

What I'm currently reading:
1) The Tumble Inn, by William Loizeaux
2) Your Hidden Riches:Unleashing The Power Of Ritual To Create A Life Of Meaning And Purpose, by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood
3) The Lyre and the Lambs, by Sydney Avey

What I'm currently listening to:
1) Peril In Paperback (A Bibliophile Mystery), by Kate Carlisle

What I plan to read this week:
1)  The Outsorcerer's Apprentice, by Tom Holt
2)  Lending A Paw, by Laurie Cass
3) Angel of Losses, by Stephanie Feldman

What I plan to listen to this week:
1) Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat, by David Dosa
2) Cookbook Conspiracy (A Bibliophile Mystery), by Kate Carlisle

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Marriage Takes Three, G.E. Hamlin

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Synopsis: Darla Connor is struggling with whether to stay in her troubled marriage or walk away. Maintaining a long distance friendship with an old sweetheart isn't making the decision easier, especially when that sweetheart, now a famous country music star declares his love for her, even though she is married. Randall Connor is a recovering alcoholic and wants to heal his broken marriage, and as a new believer, he is counting on God to help him. When Darla rejects his ultimatum to sever ties with her old boyfriend, he's in for the battle of his life. Will Darla follow promises of a better life with her old boyfriend, or will she surrender to God in time to save her marriage?

Thoughts: **I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

This is a very realistic depiction of a marriage in trouble. I've been there, and I've come through it with a deeper, stronger relationship with my husband because we both chose to put it all in the hands of God. I finished this book in a matter of hours because I was so drawn in. I was rooting for Randy and Darla throughout the book, and toward the end I was very afraid that they weren't going to make it. 

The writing was very realistic,and the story was uplifting. I would highly recommend it to every married couple, whether you've hit that rough spot in your relationship or not....because I can almost guarantee that it WILL come, sooner or later.
My rating: Five stars

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hotel Apocalypse, Volume III,Bennett Gavrish

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Synopsis: Hotel Apocalypse is an action-packed dystopian adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world. One corporation controls the last shelter on Earth, and those inside are subject to its laws and lies. With each episode, you'll uncover more of the tower's mysteries and get to know the group of heroes fighting for a brighter tomorrow. At the end of the world, hope is hard to find. Welcome to Hotel Apocalypse.

Thoughts: *I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

With every volume,this story becomes more compelling. Leo is still working against NexGen, but now with a new set of comrades in arms, due to an incident at the end of the last book. Some incredible things are revealed, and some questions are still waiting to be answered in the final installment. I can hardly wait to see how it all plays out.

My rating: Four stars

Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions, Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson

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Synopsis: The Honest, Loving Answers Children Need to Hear 
It's not easy to know what to say when a child asks about a dying grandma, or the reality of the devil, or some act of violence featured on the news. But ignoring the questions won't help. Elyse Fitzpatrick and her daughter Jessica Thompson carefully walk parents through these difficult conversations, one topic at a time. These experienced moms will come alongside readers, offering helpful hints and age-appropriate guidelines on how much to share and when. And most importantly, they teach how to answer children in a way that points back to the truth of God's amazing love.

Thoughts: **I won a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads, in exchange for an honest review.**

I was anxious to read this book,based on the title, and then to pass it on to my daughter for conversations with my 4 yr. old grandson, now and as he gets older. Unfortunately, I was not thrilled with the way much of the material was presented. The beliefs of the author, although obviously Christian, are much more legalistic than the beliefs of this reader. To tell a child, for example, that snapping his fingers is a sin, because it doesn't serve God or love your neighbor, is a bit over the top.

In some areas, I feel the authors went too deep for the age group they were discussing, as in talking to preschoolers about death. Been there, done that, and all they want is to have their specific questions answered, not to hear a sermon about sin and salvation.

The section on homosexuality simply turned my stomach, as I suspected it would by the time I had read that much of the book. 

I still intend to pass this on to my daughter, BUT with the same caveat I give when passing on any parenting resource.....use what feels right for your situation, and pass by the rest.

My Rating: Two Stars

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hashtagged, Kimberly Hix Trant

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Synopsis: #hashtagged is a chilling new science fiction novel about a daughter's journey through her father's past and into a frightening future. This future is something that Oliver Smith has seen first hand and for which he has been preparing his daughter, Madeline. After Ollie's death, Maddy must follow a trail of secrets that leads her into the arms of her first love, Jagger, the only person that can truly help her fight against a future world governed by artificial intelligence. #hashtagged shows us in terrifying detail the dystopian world we create through every #hashtag, Twitter, and Facebook update.

Thoughts: **I received a copy of this book from story cartel, in exchange for an honest review.**

I have mixed emotions about this book. The first half was rather slow and draggy, to the point where I almost gave up on it. Nearly all the "action" throughout the book is relayed in conversation between the characters, at least until you get almost to the end.

The second half of the book was much more interested, which is why I sailed through it, wanting to find out how it would end. Thankfully, the ending did not disappoint. 

The overall story, of time travel and artificial intelligence, is a very compelling one, and it leaves the reader with a great deal of food for thought.

A Brew To A Kill (Coffeehouse Mystery #11), Cleo Coyle

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Synopsis: Coffee. It can get a girl killed.

A shocking hit-and-run in front of her Village Blend coffeehouse spurs Clare Cosi into action. A divorced, single mom in her forties, Clare is also a dedicated sleuth, and she's determined to track down this ruthless driver who ran down an innocent friend and customer. In the meantime, her ex-husband Matt, the shop's globetrotting coffee buyer, sources some amazing new beans from Brazil. But he soon discovers that he's importing more than coffee, and Clare may have been the real target of that deadly driver. Can ex-husband and wife work together to solve this mystery? Or will their newest brew lead to murder? Includes recipes.

Thoughts: My first read of a Coffeehouse Mystery....but most definitely not my last! I now want to go back to the beginning and read the entire series.

I'm a huge fan of cozy mysteries,and if this book is any indication, this series will not disappoint. The core group of characters have varied personalities, and yet they all seem to fit together into a "family" group. The writing is well done, the plot is easy to follow and realistic,and the mystery kept me guessing throughout the book.

The Joshua Effect, P.S. Meronek

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Synopsis: The rooftop reception on the skyscraper in lower Manhattan is an elegant affair right up until the moment the murders occur. With the lives of sixty-three of his friends and business associates snuffed out in one horrifying blink of an eye, the wealthy and enigmatic Jonathan Strickland boards a dangerous roller coaster ride of a lifetime in this clever, nail biting who-done-it.
Following the nebulous clues left behind at the scene of the crime, Strickland finds himself kidnapped and taken to a clandestine meeting in the middle of the Syrian dessert beneath the ancient ruins of one of the oldest civilizations known to man. The lines between good and evil blur as the suspect list narrows. Strickland races against time to find the invisible killers who have even more carnage in mind; they call their sinister plan the Joshua Effect.
Strickland also struggles with the essence of a life thrown into question by the gnawing epiphany that he is losing the one thing which actually gives his existence meaning. All of his fantastic achievements pale when compared with the desire to possess the love of the one woman who can understand him - but who can never be with the man he is.
As the clock ticks relentlessly forward to a catastrophe of truly Biblical proportions, the hunt for those responsible nears its climax. From a brazen gun battle among the rich and famous in the exotic streets of glamorous Miami Beach to the discovery of the secretive Catskills hideaway of a reclusive scientist in upstate New York, the thrilling ride never lets up.
All the while the personal war inside Strickland rages on. Who is he? More importantly, who will he end up becoming? For a man who thought he had everything, why does he suddenly find his life so empty?
For Jonathan, the revelation that a life with nothing in it worth dying for isn't much worth living shakes the very core of his being. Then why does it feel so right? The Joshua Effect is a taut, suspense filled page turner with a stunner around every corner.

Thoughts: I got three chapters into this one, and was still waiting to be drawn into the story, which just wasn't happening. The writing was too dry for my taste, the main character was more than just a bit of a jerk,  and  it was not at all what I was hoping for.

What Strange Creatures, Emily Arsenault

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Synopsis: Scandal, love, family, and murder combine in this gripping literary mystery by critically acclaimed author Emily Arsenault, in which a young academic’s life is turned upside down when her brother is arrested for murder and she must prove his innocence.

The Battle siblings are used to disappointment. Seven years, one marriage and divorce, three cats, and a dog later, Theresa still hasn’t finished her dissertation. Instead of a degree, she’s got a houseful of adoring pets and a dead-end copywriting job for a local candle company.

Jeff, her so-called genius older brother, doesn’t have it together, either. Creative, and loyal, he’s also aimless in work and love. But his new girlfriend, Kim, a pretty waitress in her twenties, appears smitten.

When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim’s puggle for a weekend, she has no idea that it is the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet world. Soon, Kim’s body will be found in the woods, and Jeff will become the prime suspect.

Though the evidence is overwhelming, Theresa knows that her brother is not a cold-blooded murderer. But to clear him she must find out more about Kim. Investigating the dead woman’s past, Theresa uncovers a treacherous secret involving politics, murder, and scandal—and becomes entangled in a potentially dangerous romance. But the deeper she falls into this troubling case, the more it becomes clear that, in trying to save her brother’s life, she may be sacrificing her own.

Thoughts: A great mystery read, as well as a brother-sister relationship story. The subject matter was heavy, but there was plenty of humor--and snark--in the dialogue to help keep it from getting TOO heavy. The conversations between the Battle siblings, Theresa and Jeff, were very realistic for two people who don't really know how to talk about their feelings, and therefore cover them up with shallow conversations.

The mystery component was a REAL mystery, in that I didn't have it figured out in the first three chapters. The ending was a total surprise that I never saw coming. 

My only real complaint is that there was a little too much discussion of Theresa's thesis subject..many times it didn't seem to fit in the plot, and honestly it was pretty boring to me.

I would definitely recommend this to any lover of mysteries, however, and will be looking at some of the author's earlier work, as well

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? August 18, 2014

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What I read last week:
1) Trailer Trash With A Girl's Name, by Stacey Roberts (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
2)  Copycat Killing, by Sofie Kelly
3)  Legacy, by Jesikah Sundin (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
4) Defending Jacob, by William Landay
5) Assaulted Pretzel (An Amish Mystery #2), by Laura Bradford 
6) Hotel Apocalypse, Volume II, by Bennett Gavrish (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)

What I listened to last week:
1) The Reluctant Queen (The Love Story Of Esther), by Joan Wolf
2) How To Raise Your Adult Children: Because Big Kids Have Even Bigger Problems, by Gail Parent

What I'm currently reading:
1) #hashtagged, by Kimberly Hix Trant (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
2) What Strange Creatures, by Emily Arsenault
3) The Joshua Effect, by P.S. Meronek

What I'm currently listening to:
1) A Brew To A Kill (Coffeehouse Mystery #11), by Cleo Coyle

What I plan to read this week:
1)  The Outsorcerer's Apprentice, by Tom Holt
2)  Lending A Paw, by Laurie Cass
3) Hotel Apocalypse III, by Bennett Gavrish (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
4) Marriage Takes Three, by G.E. Hamlin (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)

What I plan to listen to this week:
1) Lost And Found: The True Story of Jaycee Lee Dugard and the Abduction That Shocked the World, by John Glatt
2) Peril In Paperback (A Bibliophile Mystery), by Kate Carlisle

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell

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Synopsis: Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Thoughts: Amazing writing. The way it wrapped up the "mystery" situation was totally unexpected, and what came after that was heartbreaking. But the last page....the last page was PERFECTION.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Redemption Of Caralynne Hayman, Carole Brown

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Synopsis: Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year-old daughter at the hands of a radical religious cult—The Children of Righteous Cain. So when her husband, a founding member of the cult, suffers a massive heart attack, Caralynne allows her husband to die. 

Caralynne’s secret seems safe until Dayne MacFarland returns, determined to learn the truth about the cult. His investigation and his rekindled love for Caralynne lead the pair toward a confrontation with the group’s elders. 

Can Dayne’s love for Caralynne bridge the gulf of anger and bitterness that divides the community? Or will Caralynne’s deadly secrets prove too high a price for her redemption?

Thoughts: **I was given a copy of this book by the author in return for an honest review.** 

This was a tough book to get through at times....not because of the way it is written, but because of the subject matter. The incidents of abuse, and the other incidents of violence, were very powerful, to the point of being sickening. It was like being there in person, watching from a distance, unable to do anything about what was happening. Thankfully, the true love of God is witnessed throughout the story, as opposed to the false teachings of the cult leader.

Trailer Trash With A Girl's Name, Stacey Roberts

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Synopsis: When the author was born, his mother did the unthinkable. She gave him a girl’s name—Stacey. But Stacey’s name was just the first hurdle he’d face in his uphill climb from birth to manhood. He also had to deal with an entitled older brother, the hodgepodge of different men his mother was involved with, and the nomadic lifestyle he was forced to endure for five years. And to top it all off, his mother couldn’t cook a decent meal to save her life. Trailer Trash, With a Girl’s Name is Stacey Roberts’ lighthearted, often hilarious account of growing up in an unstable household during the 1980s. Full of humor, history, and hope, it follows Stacey from the hospital room where he was born to the Winnebago that carried him across the country, filling in the gaps with a wit and humor that anyone with a dysfunctional family can appreciate. So go ahead and start reading. Once you hop aboard the Winnebago with Stacey and his quirky family, you’ll find that you’re in for the ride or your life, where what you learn along the way is not only entertaining, but also enormously enriching.

Thoughts: **I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.**

I'm still trying to figure out how a book can be so hilarious and so sad all at the same time. A lot of the stories included are heartbreaking, but thanks to the author's style and take on them, you can't help but laugh. I know for sure I'll never look at red onions the same ever again! 

A great story of overcoming your childhood, not dwelling on the bad things, and turning it into something positive.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hotel Apocalypse, Volume II, Bennett Gavrish

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Synopsis: Hotel Apocalypse is an action-packed dystopian adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world. One corporation controls the last shelter on Earth, and those inside are subject to its laws and lies. With each episode, you'll uncover more of the tower's mysteries and get to know the group of heroes fighting for a brighter tomorrow.

Thoughts: Oh my gosh! This was even better than Volume I....more action and suspense, and I couldn't stop reading it. My heart is still pounding from the ending, and I can't wait to find out what happens in Volume III.

Oliver,Leo and company are back again, continuing their adventures at "Hotel Apocalypse." Ruby and Leo are expecting a baby, and that fact colors every decision Leo makes this time around. There is humor, sadness, suspense, action, romance....a little something for everyone.

*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.*

Defending Jacob, William Landay

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Synopsis: Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life, his wife, Laurie, and teenage son, Jacob.

Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.

Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.

It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.

How far would you go?

Thoughts: I don't know what to say about this story. It nearly ripped my heart out several times, in several different ways. Not only that, but there were three times when the plot went somewhere I never expected it to go. The last chapter...oh my, the last chapter. I cried when I realized what happened. One of the most compelling stories of a family in crisis that I've read this year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Legacy (Biodome Chronicles #1), Jesikah Sundin

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Synopsis: A sensible young nobleman, Leaf Watson, and his sister, Willow Oak, live a rustic medieval life rich in traditions and chivalry. Sealed inside an experimental biodome since infancy, they have been groomed by The Code to build a sustainable community devoid of Outsider interference. 

They are unwitting pioneers on a path toward confined interplanetary homesteading. 

Life within their walled garden is predictable and peaceful until the unthinkable happens. With his dying breath, Leaf and Willow’s noble father bequeaths a family secret, placing an invisible crown of power on Leaf’s head. Grief-stricken and afraid for their lives, the siblings defy their upbringing by connecting with Fillion Nichols, a punk hacker who, unbeknownst to them, is linked to their lives in shocking ways. Their encounter launches Fillion into a battle with his turbulent past as he urgently decodes the many secrets that bind them together, a necessity for each to survive. 

Youth cultures clash when the high technology of the Anime Tech Movement collides with the Middle Ages in a quest for truth, unfolding a story rich in mystery, betrayal and love.

Thoughts: **I received a copy of this book from Story Cartel in return for an honest review.**

The book started out a little slow, and I didn't think I was going to enjoy it. Fortunately, I couldn't have been more wrong. Leaf and Willow keep talking about "the secret" their father shared with them just before he died, but it takes quite a while before the reader is let in on that secret. Once that happens, things from the beginning of the book make more sense.

The book is very well written, even as it goes back and forth between the Medieval speech of the New Eden group and the technologically heavy speech of those on the outside. 

The characters are well defined, and their relationships are complicated at times, yet realistic always. 

The plot is intriguing, and I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment

A Reluctant Queen (The Love Story Of Esther), Joan Wolf

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Synopsis: You've read it as a biblical tale of courage. Experience it anew as a heart-stirring love story. She was a simple girl faced with an impossible choice. He was a magnificent king with a lonely heart. Their love was the divine surprise that changed the course of history. The beloved story of Esther springs to fresh life in this inspired novel that vibrates with mystery, intrigue and romance.

Thoughts: I love the Biblical story of Esther...her courage is inspirational, and her love for her people is heart-rending. I was looking forward to listening to this audiobook, but I was genuinely disappointed in it.

The author was so focused on writing a love story between Esther and her king that she let the story drift away from what is written in the Bible. If it had been a purely fictional story about two other people, I would probably have enjoyed it a great deal.

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading! August 11, 2014

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What I read last week:
1)  The Boleyn Reckoning, by Laura Andersen (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
2)  Hotel Apocalypse, Volume I, by Bennett Gavrish (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
3)  Inevitable, by Jonathan Nace (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
4) Star Cursed, by Jessica Spotswood
5) In The Age Of Love And Chocolate, Gabrielle Zevin
6) Three Little Lies, by Melissa Wolff (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)

What I listened to last week:
1)  Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls #2), Maggie Stiefvater
2) Forever (Wolves of Mercy Falls #3), Maggie Stiefvater

What I'm currently reading:
1) Trailer Trash With A Girl's Name, by Stacey Roberts (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
2) Copycat Killing, by Sofie Kelly
3) Legacy, by Jesikah Sundin (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
4) Defending Jacob, by William Landay

What I'm currently listening to:
1) The Reluctant Queen (The Love Story Of Esther), by Joan Wolf

What I plan to read this week:
1)  Assaulted Pretzel (An Amish Mystery #2), by Laura Bradford 
2) Hotel Apocalypse, Volume II, by Bennett Gavrish (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
3) Blood Psychics, by Lindsay Edmunds (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)
4) Handcuffs and High Heels (Ruby Wisdom Mystery #1), by J.M. Edwards (for review on Goodreads/Amazon)

What I plan to listen to this week:
1) How To Raise Your Adult Children: Because Big Kids Have Even Bigger Problems, by Gail Parent
2) A Brew To A Kill (Coffeehouse Mystery #11), by Cleo Coyle

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Forever (The Wolves Of Mercy Falls #3), Maggie Stiefvater

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Synopsis: In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. In Linger, they fought to be together. Now, in Forever, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Thoughts: I have to say I was very pleased with the ending of this series. It wasn't quite what I expected, but it was just the right ending, I think. In spite of Sam and Grace being the main characters, the relationship between Isabelle and Cole was the one that really had my interest in this particular book. 

I hated saying goodbye to all these characters, and would enjoy another visit to their lives sometime in the future.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Three Little Lies, Melissa Wolff

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Synopsis: It is the summer of 2012. The sky is blue, the ocean is crisp, and six young women are missing, including Madison Porter. At the disappearance of her best friend, Amber Swanson falls into a spiral of destruction. She smokes, drinks and gets caught stealing. Her parents don't know what to do with her, so she is sent to live with her half-sister, Rebecca, in Virginia. Ethan Hunter lives by the saying 'blood is thicker than water'; even when his mother up and left him. At sixteen, he's torn between holding on to the only family he has left and forging his own path for the future. He secretly plans his escape from his small, southern town. The two lives collide and, as Amber puts the pieces of her best friend's disappearance together, she and Ethan are thrown into a whirlwind of secrets, deceit, and murder.

Thoughts:  I received a copy of this book from story cartel in exchange for an honest review. All opinions which follow are entirely my own.

This book starts off seeming like your typical "teens try to find missing friend" story, and with the exception of a few weird occurrences here and there, it stays that way through most of the book. When the final twist hits, though, it REALLY hits. I'm still in shock over it, and can't stop sitting here shaking my head. 

Very well written, and a total page turner.

Star Crossed (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2), Jessica Spotswood

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Synopsis: With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

Thoughts: Wow...just WOW! The first book was amazing, and this one was even better, which I didn't think would be possible. Now we know which Cahill sister is the prophecied oracle--and it wasn't who I was expecting! Things are really heated up by the end, with that one last twist thrown in to make it positively gut-wrenching. 

Cate continues to be strong and trying to protect everyone from everything. Maura is power hungry and starving for affection--and nothing short of a bitch. Tess is kind and compassionate and just plain adorable.

I can't wait to see how it all wraps up in book three!!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2), Maggie Stiefvater

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Synopsis: In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Thoughts: I have to say that I liked this book better than Shiver. There was just more to it...more action, more interpersonal stuff, more growth in the characters. While it does get off to a slow start, once it picks up it never slows back down. And even though it's fairly obvious where it's going to end, it's still more emotional than an obvious ending can sometimes be. I'm just glad that I can go right into Forever, instead of having to wait for it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Inevitable, Jonathan Nace

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Synopsis: Your world’s water supply is reaching its finite end. Aquifers are drying, and water is being divided between production of food, medicine, and agriculture. When America found itself on the brink of Malthusian catastrophe, population control was installed for the greatest good for the greatest possible number of people. 

Benjamin Zachary expects to receive his Fairness In Nature And Life Act (FINAL) letter from The Office of Population Management, but he grows suspicious and nervous when he fails to receive it within the customary days after turning twenty one. 

Ben soon learns that his hope is unwarranted and he is being accused of a crime he did not commit for a second time. He is wanted for immediate trial by Panel Hearing. Once he is caught, he struggles to face his own death, knowing that he has little chance of defeating The Office at its own game. He has no lawyer to represent him, no knowledge of the rules of the hearing process, and he finds that the Panel that is going to decide his fate is hand-picked by his adversary, Office Director Dante Ringer. His only hope is his friend, Patricia Mullins, whose cold acknowledgment of The Office's necessity juxtaposed with her feelings for her friend, twist her into conflicting directions. As Ben and Patricia fight to overcome The Office's powerful organization, they learn the only way out for Ben is at the expense of others. 

Up against a nearly unlimited government agency created to deal with a dramatic environmental crisis, Ben and Patricia fight against the Inevitable. 

Thoughts: I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions which follow are entirely my own.

This is a real page-turner. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. The main characters are all very likable, the story is believable, and it is very well written.