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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sharing Beyond Books #292 Comment Giveaway February 25, 2017

Hello again and Welcome to Sharing Beyond Books, SBB!

Thanks to everyone who commented last week.

I suppose it is not too surprising that many of us do not have time for crafts. Several do like crocheting, if they had time. CarolL does crossword puzzles; Natalija does large cross stitch projects; Mary P loves craft work: knit, sew, crochet and embroider; rubynreba likes to sew, quilt and embroider if time; and Marjorie likes to sew if she has time.  Becky and Natalija look at craft magazines.

~~~~~

The Winner from SBB #291 comments is: #2 LINDA who can make a GC choice if international or book choice from the Updated ARC/Review titles or (not yet updated) Love titles - all linked near the end of the post. [I'm hoping to update the book choices - maybe the beginning of next year, lol.] Please let me know your choice by completing the WINNER FORM.

WEEK #292
(One Question.)
Natalija asks: Do you keep some kind of a reading journal or notebook??
My blog is my journal now; as well as my entries at Goodreads. :-) I do keep several lists: one is for my review queue and my upcoming reading schedule. I also have a list of Kindle titles and a separate list of Audio books that I can pick to read from. Prior to the blog I kept a list of books read and I had a data base for several years of books I had on my shelves. I have not continued to update the database - just a matter of not enough time.
Image found at Bookriot.

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.
February Questions were provided by: bn100, Nikki, Miki and Natalija. Random.org chose #4 so Natalija gets a GC win.

Your turn to share: Natalija asks: Do you keep some kind of a reading journal or notebook??

SBB Comment Winners can choose a selection from the Valentine and "Love" books or the February 2015 Newly Updated ARC/Review List. 2-4-17: I FINALLY have some new "Love" and Christmas titles! I hope to get the picture posted later this week.

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 March 4, 2017 at 5 PM central.

Audio Book Review: The Soldier's Secret by Heather Osborne

This is an interesting Civil War story with a sweet romance.
The Soldier's Secret
Written by: Heather Osborne
Narrated by: Kristyl Dawn Tift
Length: 5 hrs and 49 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:10-06-15
Publisher: Heather Osborne
Genre: Historic Romance, Civil War
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0


Publisher's Summary
A picture of pure shock and curiosity, Emma placed her empty glass down, "Surely, you are not suggesting I dress as a man and enlist in the Union Army!"
"That is precisely what I am suggesting."
In an era when women are adornments, northerner Emma Mansfield finds it challenging to fit the mold. It becomes an impossible task when her country is torn apart by civil war. Knowing she must take action, Emma finds herself in the midst of danger and intrigue when she takes up the guise of a young artillery soldier for the Union Army. Desperately trying to find out if her two brothers are alive, Emma must maintain her anonymity as she fights for survival.
Please note: this is historical romance. I have represented the historical facts to the best of my ability and done countless hours of research. However, I have taken some liberties and creatively interpreted some items to make the story more entertaining. I hope you enjoy this work of fiction.
©2015 Heather Osborne (P)2015 Heather Osborne


Review:
Emma is a blossoming, proper young woman living with her family in Rochester, New York. Her father operates a local general store and her two brothers are expected to help in the store as they grow older. Emma meets the local doctor, Colin, and they quickly become enchanted with each other. But war disturbs the plans of everyone.

Will, the elder brother has determined to enlist and fight for the Union. The younger brother, Harrison, is not yet sixteen but he wants to enlist also. All the family tells Harrison that he must stay home to grow and help their father in the business. But Harrison sneaks off in anger to join the Confederates.

Emma becomes engaged to Colin but he feels the call to serve where he is badly needed. When Will’s letters to home Emma becomes more and more upset and concerned about the safety of her brothers. A local friend helps her to disguise herself so she can enlist in the Union army.

“Em” makes it through basic training successfully and sets off with her regiment hoping to find her brothers. She does find Colin and Will and is helping her own unit when she sees Harrison too. Troubles arise with a commander who becomes unreasonably obsessed with this young soldier who seems to do things right and have a charmed life. He continually harasses “Em” and they fear that her secret will be exposed. Colin and Emma make a desperate escape but the obsessed commander is not far behind.

Ms. Osborne does a good job with the vivid portrayal of the bleak hardships of war, camp life and field hospitals. The family drama seems real. There are heartbreaks and joys along the journey as Emma and Colin continue through the Appalachian Mountains trying to make their way back home without being caught by their pursuer.

The story is engaging and I liked the primary characters. I found the sexual scenes a bit more than expected for the nature of the story but it fit the passions of the couple and the basic need to cling in hard times. I recommend this to readers who like Civil War detail with a strong romance element.

Audio Notes: I had to get used to the voice of Kristyl Dawn Tift as it is a bit breathy for a war drama. It does fit the romance though and, as I got used to it, I thought that, overall, she did a good job with the voices and the emotion. I enjoyed the story in audio.

I received this audiobook from AudaVoxx for review. It qualifies for my 2017 Audio Challenge.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Book Review: The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler

This is a delightful, visual view of nature.
The Blue Hour
by Isabelle Simler
Age Range: 4 - 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool - 3
Hardcover: 42 pages
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
(February 20, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0802854889
Genre: Children, Nature
My Rating: 4.75 of 5.0


A lovely and tranquil celebration of nature
The sun has set, the day has ended, but the night hasn't quite arrived yet. This magical twilight is known as the blue hour. Everything in nature—sky, water, flowers, birds, foxes—comes together in a symphony of blue to celebrate the merging of night and day.
With its soothing text and radiant artwork, this elegant picture book displays the majesty of nature and reminds readers that beauty is fleeting but also worth savoring.


Review:
The ‘blue hour’ is that twilight time when sun has gone down but the dark of night has not yet arrived. The sky, the water, the fauna, animals and birds shine out softly, in all sorts of glorious blues. The images are beautiful and I really loved how the creatures are located on the final pages in their native countries. The only problem I had was that the text was very small to read, even on my computer. I was glad that my granddaughters were reading with me as the eight-year-old was able to read the story for us.

This is very lovely. I do recommend this as a wonderful, delightful book to share with young… and old.

I received this book through NetGalley. It qualifies for my 2017 NetGalley and Mount TBR Challenges.


Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway February 24, 2017

Happy Friday!
I had a rough beginning to this week with two nights of migranes; maybe a bug as I started feeling better after getting sick midday on Tuesday. I am feeling better now.
Our weather has continued to be nice all week.


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


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

Thank you to all who entered the February 17 Pick. There were THREE 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.
RITA gets Someone to Love
SUE gets The Christmas Cowboy
DI gets The Devilish Pleasures of a Duke

CONGRATULATIONS
to Random.org picked Winners from February 17 Pick:
LINDA gets a GC
and
MYSTICA gets the GC

All winners please fill in the Winner's Acceptance Form or email me to confirm your win, send your snail mail address information and let me know if you would like bookmarks - sensual, sexy or sweet bookmarks. {The form is new because Google changed their forms and the old one wasn't letting me print out the responses.}



I think this fits me and books.
Image was found at Colt's Chat Zone.

New Book Group #70 January 27, 2017
Thought I’d share some romances for February:
PAIRS:
Betty Neels: The Girl With Green Eyes and the Damsel in Green
Linda Howard: The Touch of Fire and Loving Forever
SINGLES:
The Devilish Pleasures of a Duke by Jillian Hunter
Kissed by Shadows (Get Connected Romances) by Jane Feather
Love's Brazen Fire by Betina Krahn
Love Letters From a Duke (The Bachelor Chronicles Book 3) by Elizabeth Boyle
Love Wild and Fair by Bertrice Small
Only With Your Love (Vallerands Book 2) by Lisa Kleypas
Scandalous Love by Brenda Joyce
Someone to Love by Jude Deveraux
Valentine by Jane Feather
A Visit From Sir Nicholas (Effington Family Book 9) by Victoria Alexander
Winter Fire by Jo Beverly


New Book Group #69 November 18, 2016
(I'll post a picture and links later)
Some books for Christmas
Mistletoe Marriage by Jessica Hart

Jingle Bell Blessings by Bonnie K. Winn
Snowbound with Mr. Right by Judy Christenberry
The Christmas Cowboy by Michele Dunaway
All I Want for Christmas by Gina Wilkins

All She Wants for Christmas by Stacy Connelly


New Book Group #68 October 28, 2016
(I'll post a picture and links later)
SINGLE:
The Seventh Tower, Book One by Garth Nix
Plan of Attack by Dan Brown
Critical by Robin Cook


New Book Group #67 September 9, 2016

(*Three more very old books from my Gothics box.)
SINGLES:
*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.)
SINGLES:
*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
SINGLES:
The Champion by Heather Grothaus


New Book Group #64 March 4, 2016
SINGLES:
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

SINGLES:
Border Bride by Deborah Hale

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

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

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

New Book Group #54 December 26, 2014 -- 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 seven years I have posted 68 groups of 16 (1,088) books to find new homes! (as of November 4, 2016).

I am happy to say that so far about 1,040+ books have found new homes! YAY. I have to update my print out to check the exact number sent out - a few were never claimed. I periodically update the lists - deleting those won. You can still go to the Friday Pick list link to see older posts and the older lists book pictures if you want!

Note rules here regarding international entries.
Because postage to overseas can be prohibitive I am willing to give a $5.00 book certificate to international winners - Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, ARe, TWRP, ClassAct Books, eTreasures, Desert Breeze, etc....you tell me where and I'll set it up. So for my overseas visitors your comment may indicate a smaller book and I'll check postage or note your choice of gift card.

I learned that The Book Depository does not ship to everywhere. The postage for some of the books to far away places runs between $7.00 and $10.00 and up. Since I would award $5.00 for The Book Depository to an international winner, as an alternative you may choose a smaller book and we will hope the postage will not exceed $6.00. If the postage is more, or if you want to pick a larger book and you are willing to pay any extra postage beyond the $6.00 I will work with you on that. This may not make a difference to many but if it helps one or two of you to give one of my books a home that will make me happy too. :o)

Repeating this helpful blog tip: You can right click on a link and you will be given the choice to open the link in a new window or tab so you do not navigate away from the screen you are on!! I use this all the time!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Review: Someone to Hold (A Westcott Novel) by Mary Balogh

Ms Balogh succeeds once again with strong, natural characters in a different situation.
Someone to Hold (A Westcott Novel)
by Mary Balogh
File Size: 1774 KB
Print Length: 396 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0451477804
Publisher: Berkley (February 7, 2017)
ASIN: B01H17U9E6
Genre: Historical Romance
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0


A reversal of fortune befalls a young woman in the latest Westcott novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Only a Kiss and Someone to Love.
Humphrey Wescott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune and a scandalous secret that will forever alter the lives of his family—sending one daughter on a journey of self-discovery...
With her parents’ marriage declared bigamous, Camille Westcott is now illegitimate and without a title. Looking to eschew the trappings of her old life, she leaves London to teach at the Bath orphanage where her newly discovered half-sister lived. But even as she settles in, she must sit for a portrait commissioned by her grandmother and endure an artist who riles her every nerve.
An art teacher at the orphanage that was once his home, Joel Cunningham has been hired to paint the portrait of the haughty new teacher. But as Camille poses for Joel, their mutual contempt soon turns to desire. And it is only the bond between them that will allow them to weather the rough storm that lies ahead...


Review:
Lady Camille is a young woman who was raised as an earl’s daughter; a young lady preparing to do her duty in life. She was not concerned about controlling her life nor seeking happiness. She was only concerned with being a perfect lady, to always do what was expected of her position; to marry a man suitable to her station and to fulfill her duties as the lady of the house. Her life is turned upside down when her father dies leaving his wealth to a daughter born before he married Camille’s mother. It would be one thing if that woman was illegitimate but instead it is discovered that the earl was previously married and the marriage to her mother was bigamous, making Camille, her brother, Harry, and sister, Abigail, the illegitimate children.

Their elder half-sister, Anna, offers to share the fortune she has inherited but Camille and her full siblings refuse. The money will not change their fallen place in society, nor the fact that Camille’s fiancĂ© spurns her with utter disdain and disgust. Their mother retreats to her brother’s home while Camille and her sister move to Bath to live as mere Misses with their Grandmother.

Camille, feeling compelled to redefine herself, takes a job as a teacher at the very orphanage where Anna grew up. Camille has no real idea what she is doing but she also has no idea who she is anymore.

Joel is an artist who was raised at the orphanage and now comes twice a week to teach art to some of the students. Camille isn’t familiar with the ‘common’ man but she is drawn to this rustic man who presents a rough version of a gentleman.

Joel resents Camille’s attitude toward his childhood crush, Anna. Yet his respect for Camille grows as he watches her creative handling of the children while struggling to sort her own self-identity. Slowly Joel and Camille develop a friendship seeking comfort in the form of ‘someone to hold’.

This story started out a bit slowly with Camille as a character who was not so easy to like. Fortunately, her character grows as the story progresses. I loved her experiences learning to feel emotions – pain and love – and the possibility of finding happiness. I also enjoyed the twists that occur in Joel’s circumstances that add a good element of irony.

Ms. Balogh succeeds in making this a delightful read with her strong, natural characters in a new, different, situation. I enjoyed this second book in the series even though I had not read the first book, Someone to Love, which is Anna’s turnabout of fortunes. I am always comfortable recommending Mary Balogh books especially to those who enjoy historical romance with strong characters without graphic sex.

I received this title through NetGalley. It qualifies for my 2017 NetGalley Challenge.

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