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Friday, September 30, 2016

Audio Book Review: Haraken: A Silver Ships Novel by S. H. Jucha

This is great entertainment with good characters, conflict and creativity.
Haraken: A Silver Ships Novel
By: S. H. Jucha
Read by: Grover Gardner

Series: The Silver Ships Series, book 4
Runtime: 10.9 Hours
Recording: Unabridged
Release date: 7.12.2016
Publisher: Scott H. Jucha
ISBN-13: 978-1-5047-2567-5
Genre: Fiction/Science Fiction
My Rating: 4.75 of 5.0

Nine years of tranquility came to an abrupt end when a Méridien starship entered the Hellébore system, sounding a dire warning for Alex Racine, the Haraken president. Unwanted visitors had arrived again. But this time, they’re not alien; they’re human. Claiming to have followed the course of a colony ship launched a millennium ago when Earth wrestled with resource wars and climate change, the mission commander, Antonio García, requests a meeting with the planet’s leaders. The Earthers profess a kinship with all humans, and their great desire is to have Méridien join their United Earth (UE). Alex Racine journeys to Méridien to investigate and uncover the Earthers’ intentions. In the Haraken world, SADEs (self-aware digital entities) have been freed from their boxes aboard the Méridien-built starships. The mobile SADEs are powerful players in Alex’s strategies, inventing ingenious methods to investigate the Earthers and their ship. Complicating matters, the Méridien leadership is in turmoil. The Council Leader insists her people ignore the Earthers, but this path has costs. As tensions escalate, García sends a request for support to his superiors back on Earth, lest his discovery of the rich, Méridien worlds, boasting unbelievable advanced technology, slip through his grasp. A UE battleshiop heeds the call, escalating the pressure for action. Join the journey as the Harakens and Méridiens work together to protect their planets and their way of life from the newest invaders.
© 2016 by S. H. Jucha

Alex Racine is the president of Haraken, a planet of humans in a far system that includes two other planets, Méridien and the New Terrans. These peoples are distant decedents of two Earth colonies that went different ways over 700 years before. One group is much more technically advanced than the others which sets up conflicts and challenges, as well as alien attacks, which are presented in books 1 – 3.

Alex is clearly the “golden boy” to most of the population. Only the Counsel of the Méridien appears to be threatened by Alex’s control and popularity. She wants to control her government and people and keep them away from Alex and his AI friends, the SADEs, self-directed digital entities (AIs now mobile!).

An Earth explorer ship arrives in the system and is interested, then amazed by the advanced technology. The Méridien leader refuses to acknowledge or talk with the Earth ship. This puts the Earth leaders in the position of planning to overtake the planets by force is they can’t negotiate subjugation. Alex arranges to meet with the Earth leader in a social setting hiding his true authority. The Earth ship appears to have superior fighting power and Alex is aware of the threat of these forces. He must figure a way to convince them to leave his worlds alone. If not peacefully, or by trickery, then by force.

Alex’s character is a bit of a ‘super hero’ but he is likeable. I especially liked his interaction with the SADEs who are delightful characters, especially Alex’s best friend, Julien. The Earther personalities are forceful and several are unpleasant bullies with conquest mentality. I enjoyed the conflicts within the system and from the threat of the Earther ships.

The author slips in subtle (or not so subtle) portrayals of various political factors. It isn’t hard to think of our own world and leaders of differing styles, temperaments, personal goals and motives.

I was a little concerned that I had not read books 1 through 3. I think there could have been a bit more backstory as there was only a little hint of the prior stories. This adventure is fairly well self-contained with a full plot that can stand alone. I will be going back to get the prior books which have been on my Audible Wish List. I definitely want the next book, Sol when released on audio. I recommend this to sci fi fans who enjoy space opera.

Audio Notes: Grover Gardner is a well known, marvelous narrator. (I enjoy his narrations of the Andy Carpenter Series by David Rosenfelt.) Grover managers to portray the various voices and emotions so I become immersed in a story that comes alive. The narration made this an extra pleasure of reading entertainment.

I received this audio from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox. This qualifies for Audio Challenge and H in Alphabet Soup.

Martha's Bookshelf***Friday Pick Giveaway September 30, 2016

Happy Friday!
Friday Pick Giveaway passed 1000 books given away this week! Yay for sharing books!

I am still sort of scrambling at work, trying to get caught up.
They haven't resolved Hubby's blood pressure drops yet but he is getting stronger and doing more each day. :-)

I haven't even thought about getting a pic of the books this week. Maybe I'll get to it on Saturday.

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 September 23 Pick. This week there were two automatic wins again. 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.
AUTO: CarolNW gets Ender's Shadow Tapes
Elizabeth gets Cruise to a Wedding

to picked Winners from September 23 Pick:
Rita gets In Search of Lucy
Marjorie gets a GC

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

fall books photo
Easy for me to do; how about you?
Image found at Smart Tutor..

New Book Group #67 September 9, 2016
(*Three more very old books from my Gothics box.)
Into the Night (book 5) and Gone too Far (book 6) by Suzanne Brockmann
The Wedding Night of an English Rogue: A Novel (A Boscastle Affairs Novel Book 3)
The Wicked Games of a Gentleman: A Novel (A Boscastle Affairs Novel Book 4) by Jillian Hunter
*Bloodstone by Lynn Benedict (1973 - yellowed)
*The Brittany Stones by Lynna Cooper (1974 - yellowed; corner of cover cut)
Her Scoundrel by Geralyn Dawson
In Search of Lucy: A Novel by Lia Fairchild
No Place for a Lady by Katherine Greyle
Wicked by Beth Henderson
To Die For: A Novel (Blair Mallory Book 1) by Linda Howard
The Inheritance by Joan Johnston
A Dark Champion by Kinley MacGregor
*The Man in the Garden by Paule Mason (1969 - yellowed)
Mysterious: The Right Path / This Magic Moment / The Search for Love by Nora Roberts (2008)
The Spitfire by Bertrice Small

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.)
Sandra Brown: Above and Beyond and Honor Bound (my copy is 1986 edition with a different cover
Joan Johnston: Faron & Garth: The Cowboy and the Princess / The Wrangler and the Rich Girl and Sweetwater Seduction
Swan for the Money by Donna Andrews (new- hardcover)
*Maggie – Her Marriage by Taylor Caldwell (1953 very old, yellowed pages, some stain damage doesn't effect reading)
*Witch’s Hammer by Caroline Farr (a 1967 yellowed pages - different cover)
*Mistress of Mount Fair by Jane Gordon
Once an Angel by Tammy Hilz
Bound By Temptation by Lavinia Kent
Fire Dancer by Ann Maxwell
On Fire by Carla Neggers (1999 version with different cover)
Breathing Room by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Waiting for Nick & Considering Kate by Nora Roberts
*She Came Back by Patricia Wentworth (1981 yellowed pages)
Freedom's Stand by J. M. Windle

New Book Group #65 April 29, 2016
A Dangerous Fancy by Tracy Cozzens
The Champion by Heather Grothaus
So Wild A Kiss by Nancy Richards-Akers

New Book Group #64 March 4, 2016


First Things First by Stephen R. Covey- Audio Cassette

New Book Group #63 January 22, 2016

Wayward Winds by Michael Phillips - Audio Tapes

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

New Book Group #61 October 30, 2015
After I noticed the trend I went on a hunt for “bride” titles. I even pulled a couple from some of my long time collections(*). (But they are not getting read on my shelves.)

Border Bride by Deborah Hale

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

Cruise to a Wedding by Betty Neels

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

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card - Tape Cassettes

BOX 4 2015 (reboxed from Boxes 47-53)

The Hidden Truth of Cytech's Randall Forty byVickie Kennedy
First to Fight Anthology
Jezebel by Katherine Sutcliff
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)

Circle of Stars by Anna Lee Waldo
Alien Chronicles - The Crimson Claw by Deborah Chester
Ghost Writer (Shivers #3) by M.D. Spenser

If you saw the pictures posted of my bookshelves and boxes you know I do have lots of books! And that doesn't include the other eight or so boxes at my office!! And more books as I find deals too good to pass up! I am sharing my book bounty by these Friday Pick Giveaways.

I started Friday Pick on November 27, 2009 and in almost six years I have posted 62 groups of 16 (992) books to find new homes! (as of November 6, 2015).

I am happy to say that so far about 1001+ 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, 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, September 28, 2016

Book Review: The Forever Gate Book One by Isaac Hooke

This is an engaging introduction to the series.
The Forever Gate Book One 
by Isaac Hooke
File Size: 1717 KB
Print Length: 100 pages
Publication Date: January 2, 2013
Genre: Sci Fi, Cyperpunk
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

The world as we know it is about to end.
Hoodwink Cooper has been sentenced to death. His crime? Attempting to blast a hole in the Forever Gate, the colossal wall that surrounds the city and protects the denizens from the uninhabitable Outside. There's only one problem - he isn't the one who planted the bomb.
His daughter did, at the behest of a secretive society known as the Users.
As the gols, the humanlike automata who have enslaved the humans, prepare to carry out Hoodwink's sentence, the Users plot even greater turmoil. If Hoodwink gives up the ghost without first extricating his daughter from their clutches, she will most likely join him in the afterlife.
What Hoodwink and the Users don't realize is that they are all pawns in a greater game whose stakes are the very survival of humanity itself.
Will Hoodwink escape in time to save his daughter? More importantly, will he break free of the invisible forces that guide him?
Or will he succumb to the domination of his unseen masters and cause the breaking of the world, losing not just his daughter, but everything?
---THE FOREVER GATE combines elements of science fiction & fantasy to evoke a unique setting entirely unlike anything you've ever read before.

Hoodwink has been sentenced to death for threatening the Forever Gate. His accusers do not know that he accepted the crime and punishment to protect his daughter. He does not know why she wanted to bomb the forbidden gate but he will do anything, even die, to save her.

Yolinda, now Ari, is working with a secret group of people who are no longer shackled by the collars that prevent most citizens from using super powers of fire and electricity. Since they can still use the powers they are called the Users. A team rescue Hoodwink from the executioner’s blade and steer him to the outskirts of town. There he is given a choice: return for his punishment or climb the forbidden wall.

Hoodwink accepts the task and promises to come back to his daughter. That is a promise he may not be able to keep. Once he passes over the wall he meets a dwarf who is mysterious and dangerous. Hoodwink appears to be captured, maybe killed. But he awakens to find himself in a layered world under the control of others whose motives are unknown.

The story is set in a future world that has a feel of the middle ages. There are gols who are not human but rather government-controlled workers. Hoodwink lost his daughter to the Mayor and has had to learn to live with his guilt. The layered worlds had me thinking of the body pods in the Matrix. I enjoyed the creative world and I enjoyed the action. Hoodwink is a likeable, strong character – maybe not completely good but with a renewed integrity that seeks to protect those he loves. The ending has an "argh" moment and left me curious to discover where the story goes from here. I am glad that I have the next books.

I received this book and some of the sequels from the author for an honest review. 
I actually had this in my Kindle Library from 2014 so I am counting it towards TBR Challenge also. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Post September 25, 2016/It's Monday! What are You Reading? Plus Mailbox Monday September 26, 2016

I am linking with Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading now at The Book Date.
Thank you to Sheila for the years that she handled this meme.
Thank you to Kathryn for taking up the baton.
What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I continue to play catch up at work. I sorted all my files and updated my to-do list as I cleared my desk Saturday before the cleaning crew comes in.
Hubby is still frustrated by see-sawing blood pressure, but he is doing his exercises. I did them with him on Saturday. :-)

I enjoyed my reads/listening this week. Don't know why I have only been getting two books finished instead of three but that's okay. I finished one print and one audio book; I am half way through another audio book and an ebook. I posted three reviews and the usual memes.

I did get to visit mid week but still not as much as I wanted.
Thanks as always to all the nice people who visit me.

These were last week's posts:

Finished Reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (Author)

The Forever Gate Book One 
by Isaac Hooke
I liked this intro and am glad I have the next to read soon. I received this title and others from the author for an honest review.
Click on book title for full description.

2. Audible/MP3 (ABJ)

Haraken: A Silver Ships Novel
By: S. H. Jucha
Read by: Grover Gardner
Series: The Silver Ships Series, book 4
This is very engaging - I really liked the characters!
I received this audio from the publisher through Audiobook Jukebox.
Click on book title for full description.

Currently reading:
1. eBook/Kindle (Author)

The Captive Heart
by Michelle Griep
I am really enjoying this. I am at 50%.
I received this through NetGalley; it releases 10/1/16 so I plan to post the review later this week.
Click on book title for full description.

2. Audible/MP3 (TBR)

Kiss an Angel

Written by: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Narrated by: Anna Fields
This is charming.
I added this to my Audible library in 2012.
I am reading it for TBR and Audio "K" in Alphabet Challenge.
Publisher's Summary
Arranged marriages seldom happen in modern America, so Daisy Devreaux hates her father's ultimatum: marry the humorless man he has picked for her, or go to jail. It's not much of a deal for Alex Markov, the prospective groom, either. He's got no time to indulge an uptown girl.
So Alex puts Daisy to work in his traveling circus, expecting the harsh realities will break her. Instead, he finds she's got heart enough for both of them.
©1996 Susan Elizabeth Phillips; (P)1996 Books on Tape

3. Print/ebook (Ladies Book Club)

Simple Deceit: A Mennonite Community's Way of Life Is Threatened by Outsiders (The Harmony Series Book 2)
by Nancy Mehl
I had fun buying new books for my Ladies Book Club.
This is the first one we are reading for October 1.
In the sequel to Simple Secrets, watch how a raging current of deceit runs through the once peaceful Mennonite community of Harmony, Kansas. As soon as Gracie decides to stay in town and take freelance work involving a local land developer, the townspeople blame her for bringing on this change that could ruin life as they know it. Gracie’s motives in romance with Sam, in helping an oppressed teenager, and in trying to make a living are all suddenly drawing suspicion. Should she leave or stay and fight for what she has come to love?

I will no doubt start another audio before the week is out but I haven't decided what yet.

September 4, 2016 - I am back up to date with Reading The One Year Bible again along with my husband and others from our church. I will also be listening (sometimes) to the companion commentary online.

I posted three reviews which brings me right up to date; two for this week so far. 

I am still accepting new audio titles as I can always squeeze listening in!
I continue reading author titles. I will pull another from the list of six next week.
My NetGalley shelf is down to three.
I got to listen to a couple of my TBRs even though I didn't get to pull any from ebooks.
I am planning/hoping to get to TBRs for November when I will participate in Sci Fi Month.

We continue to add upcoming releases at eTreasure's NetGalley page.
This title is now available at NetGalley:
 As A God
T. G. Shepherd

Welcome to Mailbox Monday.
Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. This Meme started with Marcia at A Girl and Her Books (fka The Printed Page) and after a tour of hosts has returned to its permanent home at Mailbox Monday. Thanks to the ladies sharing hosting duties: Leslie of Under My Apple Tree, Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit and Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.
I have more review requests to look at.
I shopped for Ladies Book Club and received boxes all week long which was great fun.
I will add the titles as I pull them for our monthly reading. The first is listed this week.
Again, I didn't purchase any kindle titles but picked up the usual healthy number of free kindle titles.

Are your mailbox and TBR piles blooming?

Review Titles



Simple Deceit: A Mennonite Community's Way of Life Is Threatened by Outsiders (The Harmony Series Book 2)
by Nancy Mehl
For more info see above under Current Reading.

I currently have 5 books in my Audible cart that I am thinking to purchase on sale.
The total will be under $20.00 and I am very tempted.


I again added 50 free Kindle titles to my library. Titles found linked through Bookbub, Bookfun, Ereader News Today, Free Par-tay, Ignite Your Book, Inspired Reads, Pixel of Ink or Kindle ebooks.

Sunday Words of Encouragement September 25, 2016

We had a good Sunday morning. Out substitute Sunday school teacher discussed some end time matters. I have some good notes to share on this another day.

Our Pastor concluded his BE series with: BE the Church!
Games sometimes lose the original “intention”, just like life. The cares of this world can be overwhelming. We have all these issues: health, finances, home and contents, vehicles, work, relationships with family, co-workers and friends are just the beginning. The church can get distracted from its mission too.

Do we understand ‘Who is the church’? Every Christ follower is the church. The church is not a place (building) where we go. It is who we are.

The Point: I am the church. My life’s mission and the church’s mission are not different; they are the same.

We should not have the attitude that we ‘deserve it your way, right away’. Paul explained in Philippians 2:1-11 that Christ gave up His divinity and humbled Himself to suffer the lowest death of a criminal. Jesus didn’t live to rule the world; He lived and died to save the world. He told His followers to go out and build the church. Matthew 28:19.

'Winning' in church sometimes becomes distorted. It is not an issue of “how large is your church”. The goal is to change the population between heaven and hell. We are to bring freedom to the lost; to bring them to the level ground at the foot of the cross.

Pastor exhorted us to remember and pursue the Assemblies of God mission statement:
1. Evangelize the world
2. Worship God
3. Disciple believers (train and build the body)
4. Show compassion (God’s love)

This is a praise song we sang this morning and it fits.
A Verse for Today:
Matthew 28:19 (NIV)
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Lord, I pray, please help me to stay on track with the right mission; Your mission.


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