Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: The Lost Concerto

Book Cover: The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario
Published July 2015 by Oceanview Publishing
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

A woman and her young son flee to a convent on a remote island off the Breton coast of France. Generations of seafarers have named the place Ile de la Brume, or Fog Island. In a chapel high on a cliff, a tragic death occurs and a terrified child vanishes into the mist.

The child’s godmother, Maggie O’Shea, haunted by the violent deaths of her husband and best friend, has withdrawn from her life as a classical pianist. But then a recording of unforgettable music and a grainy photograph surface, connecting her missing godson to a long-lost first love.

The photograph will draw Maggie inexorably into a collision course with criminal forces, decades-long secrets, stolen art and musical artifacts, and deadly terrorists. Her search will take her to the Festival de Musique, Aix-en-Provence, France, where she discovers answers to the mystery surrounding her husband’s death, an unexpected love—and a musical masterpiece lost for centuries.

A compelling blend of suspense, mystery, political intrigue, and romance, The Lost Concerto explores universal themes of loss, vengeance, courage, and love.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Summary, 28 June 2015

Road Trip! By the time you read this, I'll be on the highway. Early Sunday morning, we left our home in Texas, headed for Nevada. It's partially a short vacation. We're also delivering our granddaughter back to her mother after a lovely six-week visit with her family here in Texas. I'm looking forward to some quality—and uninterrupted—reading time.

Where I've been reading

This past week I was in Minneapolis. My flight out of DFW was delayed by an hour and a half, so I spent that time reading. I had intended to read all the way to Minnesota, but instead I fell asleep and dozed all the way northward. My hotel was near the airport and my work location was right downtown, so I listened to Confessions of a Murder Suspect on my daily commute. Each evening after returning to my hotel, I curled up in the bed with my Kindle instead of turning on the TV. Though I tended to fall asleep with the Kindle in my hands, I did get in at least a half-hour of reading each evening.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (38)

I Love free books. I'm highlighting the free audio books provided by SYNC throughout the summer. And now, I'm participating in the Summer 2015 COYER challenge and scavenger hunt. COYER (Clear Out Your E-Readers) is all about actually reading those free books that we all tend to accumulate. And, all the new books at my house this week are freebies.

Friday, June 26, 2015

COYER: Red, White & Blue Read-a-Thon

Icon for Red, White, Blue Read-a-thon Coming up soon is the Red, White, and Blue read-a-thon. It's running from 4 July through 10 July, adding a little bit more socializing to the COYER Challenge.

Celebrate The 4th of July by reading a book with red, white, or blue on the cover or the words red, white or blue in the title. Read-a-thon is from July 4th – 10th. See more at: Red, White, and Blue read-a-thon sign-ups.

I'm planning on participating. I'll be ending my short vacation and road trip, so I'll set aside a couple of books which meet the read-a-thon criteria and make sure to read them during this particular week.

Will you join us?

Monday, June 22, 2015

COYER Summer 2015, Goals

The Summer COYER (Clear Out Your E-Readers) challenge began on Saturday. There are actually two simultaneous challenges. The first is just to read as many of the books currently in your possession—free or nearly free books. The second is a scavenger hunt. COYER participants can choose one or both of the challenges, so I've been thinking about goals.

I intend to complete at least one freebie every week. (Did I mention that the challenge includes writing a review?) If a book meets the criterion for one of the scavenger hunt categories, then I'll record that as well. And, there are five read-a-thons scheduled for COYER, and I plan to participate in at least three of them—all of them if I can manage it.

I still have some library books on hand that I need to read before their return date; I have a couple of significant year-long challenges that I can't ignore all summer long. So, while I'm going to be participating in COYER throughout the summer, I am not going to be reading exclusively for it.

To summarize:

  • Read one freebie each week
  • Record qualifying books in scavenger hunt
  • Participate in at least three COYER read-a-thons
  • Join the discussion in the COYER Facebook group

Monday Motivation

I started reading Mark Schweizer's The Christmas Cantata on Saturday afternoon. I received the Kindle edition as a gift (that counts as free, right?). Next up is The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario. The eBook came from NetGalley; publication date is July 1, so I need to read it fairly soon. And I'm starting to listen to Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. This was a freebie in the 2015 SYNC audiobook give-aways. Those should give me plenty to read along with the library books I've borrowed—which don't count as part of the COYER challenge

Book Cover: The Christmas Cantata by Mark Schweizer Book Cover: The Lost Concerto by Helaine Mario Book Cover: Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

If COYER sounds interesting to you, hop on over and sign up so you don't miss out on any of the fun. It's all hosted by Because Reading, Fantasy is More Fun and Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My!

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which the BookObsessed online community will receive a few cents if you make purchases.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Summary, 21 June 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Our kids have planned something for Sunday, but I'm not sure what—other than gathering at our house at mid-morning. Guess we'll take pictures since four generations are expected to be present with Hubby's parents, our kids, and the grandkids. And, given the time of day, we'll probably have lunch all together. I don't know if they are bringing it with them or we will go out to eat—I'm not cooking for the crowd!

Where I've been reading

I was able to schedule another week at home—well, almost. I dashed off to New York for a meeting with a customer, but that was just an overnight trip. It did, however, put me into the car alone for a couple of hours driving from airport to hotel and then hotel to customer location and back to airport. That meant I made a LOT of progress in my current audiobook, The Target by David Baldacci.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (37)

Still sticking to my plan to not buy any books. New books on my shelves this week are library books, a gift, and the weekly freebies from the SYNC audiobook series.

During the summer, SYNC releases two audiobooks every Thursday and they are available to download for only one week. This week, the two audiobooks share a theme of World War II. Rose Under Fire tells the story of an American pilot taken prisoner by the Germans, while Anne Frank Remembered is a memoir by Miep Gies who provided refuge for the Frank family in Amsterdam.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Book Blogger Hop: 19-25 June, 2015

Book Blogger Hop logo

This week's question for Book Blogger Hop is:

How many posts do you publisher per week? And how many of them are reviews?

There are two guaranteed posts each weekend: Stacking the Shelves on Saturday and Sunday Summary on ... Sunday. I actually create a draft of each of these early in the week and keep updating them until just before their scheduled post date. Other than those, I will post as time permits.

When it comes to reviews, I still consider myself a novice. I do include a mini-review of every book I finish in the Sunday Summary. But I won't commit to a full review except for the ARCs and free-from-the-publisher books which I request or accept. The deal is: I get a free book, the publisher gets a review. I might review other books if I feel like it.

Thanks to Elizabeth at Silver's Reviews for this week's question. I'm linking up with other book bloggers at Book Blogger Hop which is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Come see what others have to say and join us if you wish.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

COYER, Summer 2015

Hi all. The Summer COYER (Clean Out Your E-Reader Challenge) starts this weekend. As the name implies, it's a reading event with a focus on those free or nearly free books which we all tend to accumulate. But, it appears that instead of the typical challenge lasting just a couple of weeks, this will be a summer-long event, and there are activities galore. Give-aways, read-a-thons, twitter parties, and keeping up with each other in a Facebook group are all part of the planned activities. And...AND...there's a Scavenger Hunt. Yeah! Fun, fun, fun.

Oh yes, I'm participating! Did I forget to say that? Now, not EVERY book I read from 20 June through 4 September will be reviewed for COYER, but I will be making sure to put extra focus on those eBook freebies and eGalleys now cluttering up my Kindle. And, I'm going to be chatting it up with other participants in COYER. For now, that's all the goals I have. I'll think about it a bit more between now and Saturday when it all kicks off.

Are you joining COYER this summer? If it sounds interesting to you, hop on over and sign up so you don't miss out on any of the fun. It's all hosted by Because Reading, Fantasy is More Fun and Books, Movies, Reviews Oh My!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: Forgotten Suns

Book Cover: Forgotten Suns by Judith Tarr Forgotten Suns by Judith Tarr
Published April 2015 by Book View Cafe
Source: eGalley ARC from the publisher

I am no one. I pass from dark into dark. I hunt a track gone cold as stone.

For five thousand Earthyears, the planet called Nevermore has been empty. Its cities are deserted, with every trace of their inhabitants erased. Only a handful of nomadic tribes remain, none of whom remember the ones who went before.

An expedition from Earth has been excavating one of the planet’s many ruins, and attempting without success to find the cause of its people’s disappearance. Now the expedition is in trouble, its funding cut; unless it makes a major discovery, and soon, it will be shut down. Then the United Planets will invade Nevermore and strip it of its resources, and destroy its ancient and enigmatic treasures.

Aisha, the daughter of the chief archaeologists, tries to save the expedition by opening a sealed tomb or treasury—and manages instead to destroy it. But one treasure survives, which may be the key to the planet’s mystery. That treasure is alive, and deeply dangerous: a long-forgotten king and conqueror, sentenced to be preserved in stasis centuries before his world was abandoned.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Summary: 14 June 2015

Though I haven't been reading as much as usual, I found a little bit more time to read this week, making good use of the time on the airplanes from Dallas to Boston and back. On the way out, I was reading The Pilgrim of Hate on my Kindle and on the way home, I listened to The Hit. It's the first time I've listened to an audiobook during a flight and it worked out very well. The PA announcements were a bit annoying, though—just loud enough to interfere with the audiobook and cause me to have to rewind and re-listen.

Where I've been reading

This week just past saw me in Boston and Cambridge. My hotel was adjacent to Boston University and even though my work had nothing to do with the university, I couldn't help but feel just a little bit more intelligent being right there next to so many smart people.

Like most of my business trips, the work day was very long. I'd leave the hotel at 6:45 so as to be at the office before 7:30 and then we didn't leave the office until after 7pm—sometimes as late as 8:15. As you might guess, that didn't leave a lot of time for reading, though I did try to get in at least ½ an hour each evening before bed.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (36)

Finally I've been able to stick to my plan to not buy any books. The only new books on my shelves this week are the weekly freebies from the SYNC audiobook series. Every Thursday, two new books are released and are available for only one week, so I'm very careful to download each weekend.

This week, the two books share a theme of Mother Nature, and in particular individuals who must survive at sea.


Book Cover: The Living by Matt de la Peña In The Living, Matt de la Peña tells a story of Shy, a young man who takes a summer job on a cruise ship. He figures it will be almost like a vacation—free room and board, hanging around the pool, plenty of hot girls to get to know—in exchange for some easy work. But when a massive earthquake hits California, Shy finds himself adrift in the Pacific when the resulting tsunami washes him overboard.

Book Cover: The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger Now considered a modern classic, Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm describes the events of October 1991 when a freak meteorological combination of two weather events culminated in wave heights over 100 feet, sustained winds of 75mph, and over $200 million in damage along the eastern seaboard. It was made into a major motion picture in 2000, starring George Clooney and Mark Walberg as two of the crew aboard fishing boat Andrea Gail which is caught in the massive storm.


How about you? Any new books? You're invited to tell us all about it by joining the fun at Stacking the Shelves. According to the reviewers at Tynga's Reviews who host the meme:

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which the BookObsessed online community will receive a few cents if you make purchases.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Sunday Summary: 7 June 2015

I started receiving e-mails at work about closing out the second quarter. Yes, there are three more weeks and the year will be half over! It's intimidating as I look at the challenges I adopted at the beginning of the year. I'm aiming for 200 books, and feeling pretty confident that I'll meet that goal. But, I also signed up for a couple of very specific challenges such as completing three series which had been started prior to the beginning of the year. I'm going to have to use some discipline to make sure that I select books from these series in order to read all 36 book by year end. And that means that I will also have to discipline myself to not request TOO many books for review.

Where I've been reading

Amazingly, I was home all week. I worked from my home office four days and commuted in to the downtown location for an all day meeting on Thursday. That commute gave me a chance to listen to the current audiobook-in-progress, The Hit by David Baldacci. I didn't read as much this week as I had wanted, completing only two books. Both were advanced reader copies for review. And, I have made decent progress in two other books which I should finish early next week.


Saturday, June 06, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (35)

Oh my gosh! I went hog wild at the library this past week. I have such poor impulse control. I should only be thankful that I made these acquisitions at the library and not at the book store. Otherwise, I'd be making a huge dent in my bank account.

I wound up downloading the audiobooks from SYNC for two weeks. Every Thursday, two new books are released and are available for only one week. For the first couple of weeks, I didn't have the opportunity to download until Sunday or Monday. This week I caught up and actually downloaded the week 5 books on Friday morning.

Borrowed from the library:

Book Cover: A Thousand Sunsets by Jannie Lund This isn't the usual type of book that I read, but to complete the Eclectic Reader challenge, I need to read one contemporary romance and this will be it. Jennie Lund introduces two individuals who have lost contact with their families and the elderly man who plays cupid to bring them together, healing all three in the process.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Review: Jack Staples and the Poet's Storm

Book Cover: Jack Staples and the Poet's Storm by Mark Batterson and Joel N. Clark Jack Staples and the Poet's Storm by Mark Batterson and Joel N. Clark,
Published June 2015 by David C. Cook
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

Our world is more fantastical than we dare imagine…filled with both unbelievable beauty and horrific evil. Just ask Jack Staples and Alexia Dreager. They’re at the epicenter of the conflict that’s been raging since time before time began. Their birth and destiny have long been prophesied—but things aren’t going as planned.

In this epic conclusion to the Jack Staples trilogy, Jack and Alexia must make an impossible choice during their final battle against the Assassin—one that could alter time itself and the fate of the world.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Review: Murder Freshly Baked

Book Cover: Murder Freshly Baked Murder Freshly Baked by Vannetta Chapman
Published June 2015 by Zondervan
Source: eGalley ARC from NetGalley

Kindness is a virtue / Meanness is a sin / Better watch your bakery pies / For poison I've slipped in

The Amish Artisan Village in Middlebury, Indiana, has been decorated with every color of balloon and flower for the Race for a Cure. As manager of the Village, Amber Bowman is thrilled to see the turnout—and relieved to have something to distract her from the “Poison Poet”—an individual who has been sending notes containing bad poetry to warn of poisoned baked goods.

Then Ryan Duvall crosses the finish line of the race—and falls down dead, murdered in broad daylight. But who did it? And why? The police suspect Preston Johnston, but Amber refuses to believe her employee could do such a thing.

Amber once again looks to her young Amish friend Hannah Troyer to help her find the killer—and to determine if it's the same person leaving the cryptic poems and pies. Can they help the police before the Poison Poet strikes again? Both Amber and Hannah will need to draw on their faith as they fight to preserve the peaceful community they've built at the Amish Artisan Village.