Spotlight on Audiobook War of the Worlds: Retaliation by John J. Rust and Mark Gardner

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Title: War of the Worlds: Retaliation
Authors: John J. Rust and Mark Gardner
Narrator: Samuel E. Hoke III
Audiobook Publisher: Article94

Publication Date: March 24, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction

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Synopsis

1898: Martian tripods lay waste to Earth’s cities. The world’s armies are unable to stem the tide of destruction. When all hope appears lost, common bacteria kills the alien invaders. From the ashes, the human race uses the technology left behind by the Martians to build new, advanced weapons.

1924: Armed with their own spaceships, tripods, and jet fighters, the nations of the world are ready to take the fight to Mars. George Patton, Erwin Rommel, Charles de Gaulle, and Georgy Zhukov lead their troops in battle across the red planet to end the alien menace once and for all. But the Martians have one last, desperate plan to try, and if successful, it could mean the end for all humanity.

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Purchase Links:

Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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Play an Excerpt Here.

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About the Authors

Co-author

John J. Rust was born in New Jersey. He studied broadcasting and journalism at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey and the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York. He moved to Arizona in 1996, where he works as the Sports Director for an Arizona radio group.

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Co-author

Mark Gardner is a US NAVY veteran. He lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications, and is the Chief Operator for an Arizona radio group.

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Narrator

Samuel E. Hoke III is a 6’0″ Scorpio who summers in Virginia with his wife two amazingly wonderful black cats named Inca and Maya. In the winter they all head to central  Florida. Samuel is a veteran of the corporate world including IBM and Bank of America he now pursues his lifelong passion of acting.

Samuel has a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies from Norwich University and an MBA in Global Technology Management from American University. He also conducted a Pre-Doctoral studies in Strategic Leadership at Cornell University. Samuel enjoys Rock and Roll music, photography, fast cars, and international travel.

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Follow the tour

Jun. 11th: The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass
Jun. 12th: CGB Blog Tours
Jun. 13th: To Read or Not to Read Dab of Darkness
Jun. 14th: Spunky-n-Sassy The Book Addict’s Reviews
Jun. 15th: Buried Under Books The Bookworm Lodge
Jun. 16th: Lomeraniel Book Reviews By Jasmine
Jun. 17th: Book Lover’s Life

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A Passion for Rescue

Colleen Mooney was born and lived much of her live in New Orleans before a job moved her to other cities.  She writes a cozy mystery series she refers to as Murder Light that is set in New Orleans. It’s called The New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles and the third book, Drive Thru Murder, was released in early April.

Since January 2017 Colleen organized a Sisters In Crime chapter in New Orleans, has been elected President and has a planned a Mystery Writers’ Conference for June.  She is currently working on her 4th book in the Brandy Alexander series.  She is also the Director of a breed rescue group for almost fifteen years and placed over 300 unwanted or abandoned Schnauzers. In her free time, Colleen sails, goes to a lot of parades, festivals and lives with her husband and three schnauzers in New Orleans. 

Feel free to email/contact at one of the following:

Email:      colleen@colleenmooney.com  
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ColleenMooneyAuthor
Website: www.colleenmooney.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mooney_colleen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8548635.Colleen_Mooney

The last time I moved back to New Orleans, I stayed.  I volunteered to help with Schnauzer Rescue, a breed rescue group.  The lady I started helping retired and now I’m the Director of a great group of four volunteers. If there wasn’t enough for me to choose what in New Orleans to write about, the people I meet in rescue are an added resource.  I wrote this for our Schnauzer Newsletter when someone asked me how did I get into rescue.

My Brain on Rescue (Schnauzers)

I was the kid who spent all my allowance playing games at school fairs trying to win the gold fish, turtle, or whatever poor creature was the prize. I overheard my dad tell my mother after I brought home a sickly parakeet in a tiny cage, “Those games are rigged. Nobody ever wins.  How is it she always comes home with some poor sick looking creature?”

I always won fair and square. The ping pong ball landed in the goldfish bowl or the ring tossed circled the square with a picture of the bird.   I won the game and got to select which pet I wanted as my prize.  I always picked the sickliest one in the tank or cage because I knew no one else would choose it.  Maybe I could save it.   I didn’t share this with my parents because they were already complaining they had to buy a bigger turtle bowl, a bigger cage, a bigger aquarium—a bigger creature residence.  If they knew I picked a sick one they would have left it in the container I brought it home in figuring it was going to die anyway.  They weren’t mean, just frugal.

Of course, once I found two baby mockingbirds that fell out of the nest and were in the grass.  One was sickly and barely moving. The other one was hopping around and squawking.  I put them both in a shoebox and the next morning the sick one was still alive and the one hopping around the day before was dead.  The sick one lived for almost 20 years in a really big cage my dad made for it in our garage!

I didn’t get the rescue gene by accident.

My dad always brought home stray animals.  He had the rescue mentality.  Dad would come home from work looking all sad and say to my mother, “I saw a sad story today.” She would ask what sad story and he would proceed to tell her how some poor dog was abandoned, eating out of a garbage can, dodging traffic—whatever.  She would start wringing her hands and say, “Well go get it,” and he would then tell her the dog was out in the car.

Dad found the dogs and my mother fed them and took care of them—constantly complaining.  Don’t misunderstand, she loved animals, but she loved complaining a tad bit more so she was in heaven combining the two.

Growing up we had no idea why anyone would pay for a dog. We weren’t schooled in specific breeds only that dogs were were big, little, yappy, old, puppies, black, white, mean, and biting dogs. It was a total shock when I learned people paid a lot of money for some dogs (breeds) and even more money to have it vetted only to grow tired or bored with them and would give them away! They just didn’t give them away, they left them at animal shelters. The bigger shock was there wasn’t a line of people at the shelters waiting to adopt these dogs.

Rescue was a natural for me even before it was recognized. While I wish I could save them all I really sort of fell into breed rescue saving Schnauzers.  I knew my limitations and at the time they were financial.  Once the shelters knew I’d take a Schnauzer my name went on the underground Schnauzer Railroad.  They gave my name to other shelters and to anyone who brought in a Schnauzer. Soon people would call me to take their Schnauzer they no longer wanted and didn’t want to feel bad by taking it to a shelter.

Before I became known as Schnauzer Rescue there was the first one.  The one that got me involved with breed rescue was a little Schnauzer I found running along the highway. I named her Schnitzel.

SCHNITZEL

If I look back at a single event that got me into rescue it was Schnitzel.  I found her running on the highway on my way home.  I brought her to the closest vet, which was my vet, to see if he recognized her or knew who she might belong to. I thought she was a puppy because even full grown she was only ten pounds. She was tiny and very cute.

The vet came out after his exam and said to me, “This is a sad story. She’s in heat.  I hope she isn’t pregnant because she has heart worms and really bad teeth.  She looks to be no more than 3 years old.  She’s covered in fleas, ticks, and tapeworms and she needs a groom.   Someone probably put her out on that highway either to let her get hit by a car because they didn’t want to treat the heart worms or maybe they wanted someone to find her and take care of her. I’d like to think it’s the latter but over here, it’s probably the former.”

I asked, “I’ll take her. Can you give her a bath and her shots? I’ll schedule the heart worm treatment when I come back to pick her up.  What time can you have her ready to go home with me?”

“We can have her ready by 2:00 pm today, but don’t you want to go home first and talk with your husband about her?” he asked.

“I will. Just get her ready. I’ll be back before you close.”

When I got home, I saw my husband working in the yard.  I brought him out a cold beer and said, “I had a bad experience on my way home and it turns out to be a sad story.”

He stopped working and asked, “What sad story? What happened?”

“I almost hit a little Schnauzer running along Highway 22.” I could see the worried look across his face as I went on, “She was so small, I was lucky I got her in the car and took her over to the vet clinic. Dr. Bill said she’s in heat, has heart worms, and might even be pregnant. He thinks someone put her out on the highway to get hit so they didn’t have to treat her for the heartworms.”

“Go call them right now and tell them we’ll take her,” he said and tried to shoo me along to make the call.

“I already told them to have her ready and I’d pick her up at 2:00 before they close.”

I named her Schnitzel because in German it means little chip. She was always small and never weighed more than the ten pounds she was when I found her, but she had personality in spades.  Holding her was like holding an infant whenever you picked her up because she was happy in the crook of your arm on her back.  Once I bought a baby sling at a yard sale and carried her around in it.  She looked like a Joey, a baby Kangaroo in a pouch.

She loved to go with me everywhere.  I took her sailing and once it turned cold and windy while we were out. I fashioned her a foul weather wind breaker out of a plastic West Marine bag cutting holes for her head and front legs. She wore it with her life vest when we were underway.  She loved sailing and had quite the sea legs – all four of them!

She was cat-like and walked around on the back of my furniture to get a higher position to see something.  She would jump onto my desk and curl up next to my computer while I worked.  She loved for me to dress her up for yappy hours at Jefferson Feed.  Here is a picture of her in her Chanel suit and pillbox hat at the January AFTER FIVE-BRING YOUR BLING event with her escort Meaux.   She was quite the fashion plate and everyone loved her.

In loving memory of Schnitzel
With us 1993 – 2006

Schnitzel was with us 13 years and she could have been as old as three when I found her.  I thought she was only one-year-old because she was so small. She was cute, fun and an entertaining little dog.

Colleen’s series has humor, local color and a cast of quirky characters that could only be found in a city that knows how to have a good time.  You would expect her protagonist with a name like Brandy Alexander to be a stripper instead of the girl next door with a serious passion for rescuing dogs. Brandy has a way of being at the eye of every storm that seems to go through the city and we’re not talking about the weather.  In the city known as The Big Easy, Brandy Alexander’s life is like a Category 5 Hurricane. You have to ask, is there anything in Brandy Alexander’s life that is not complicated? While Brandy may help solve the crime, it’s no surprise that she is often rescued by one the Schnauzers!

There’s no place like New Orleans to have a good crime!

Book Review: I Found You by Lisa Jewell

I Found You
Lisa Jewell
Atria Books, April 2017
ISBN 978-1-5011-5459-1
Hardcover

Is there anything more evocative of a mystery than a stormy beach on the coast of the North Sea? Well, yes. Add in a man who huddles there wearing shirt and trousers for more than twenty-four hours while the rain beats down on his head. This is the scene that leads single mother Alice Lake, whose beach the man has selected to inhabit, out to give him a coat and ask him a question.

“Who are you?” she naturally asks. But he doesn’t know. He’s lost his memory. He’s lost himself.

In an act of kindness, Alice invites him into her chaotic home. Her three children, all from different fathers, and three dogs, all left behind for her to care for, greet the newcomer with varying degrees of welcome.

Since he lacks any other name, Alice’s youngest daughter bestows the name of “Frank”on the stranger. It serves as well as any as Alice and Frank try to discover just who he is and what he’s doing on Alice’s beach.

It’s quite a suspenseful journey.

Alice is a great character, complicated, compassionate, flawed, and ultimately, so worthy of love.

Her children, each very different from the other, are fleshed out real people. Each has a definite place in the story, when they so easily could’ve been thrown in simply for effect. And Alice’s friend Derry’s place is to help the story along.

The book is written in alternating points of view. There’s a present day young bride whose husband has gone missing, and a seventeen-year-old boy from twenty-two years ago whose sister was raped and murdered before him, her body carried out to sea and never found. And of course, both Frank’s and Alice’s.

Tension builds as Frank slowly recovers bits and pieces of his memory. The journey through his ordeal is mesmerizing.

Ms. Jewell’s storytelling and writing is wonderful. I’m already putting this one on my ‘best reads of 2017’ list, and I think anyone who picks it up will too.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, February 2017.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder and Four Furlongs.

Book Review: Hidden Like Anne Frank by Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis

hidden-like-anne-frankHidden Like Anne Frank
14 True Stories of Survival
Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis
Arthur A. Levine Books, March 2014
ISBN: 978-0-545-54362-0
Hardcover

Anne Frank was the most memorable child of the Holocaust, but there were many, many others. In this extremely vivid and moving collection of fourteen personal narratives by survivors of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands, readers will find themselves experiencing a range of emotions.

These survivors were separated from parents, siblings, cousins and other relatives, found themselves moved more times that they could count, experienced despair the day after hope and came out of the experience forever changed. They had to adopt new names, new religions, learn different customs and even undergo eyebrow shaping and a change of hair color. Readers will discover how entire communities were herded like cattle, lost everything they had accumulated, were forced to ignore siblings in public, live under inhumane conditions, endure beatings by people who had supposedly befriended them, go hungry for extended periods of time and often had to remain in unlit cold and cramped places for hours while being terrified that the knock on the door meant exposure and a trip to a concentration camp.

Each story is different, each survivor knew great loss and deprivation, but all endured. What comes across clearly in each story is how the experience forever changed not only the narrator, but their relationships with surviving family members. Each reader will have unique reactions to every story. There are some that inspire admiration, some that evoke pity, sympathy or empathy and even one that might strike one as annoying, but none of us were there to live the terror and fear, so who’s to say how our story might come across under similar circumstances.

This is a book that should be read by as many people as possible, particularly in a time (like now) where ethnocentricity and racial intolerance are once more on the rise. It’s well worth having in any school or public library.

Reviewed by John R. Clark, MLIS, February 2017.

Phase 2 Renovations Week 2—Done!

So, after all the excitement last week involving
firemen and a cat, the wretched beastie refused
to learn her lesson. Giselle apparently thought
that was way too much fun—and who can resist
being cuddled by three lovely firemen—so
she was determined to climb in the hole again.
We had to find creative ways to keep her out.

kitchen-renovations-week-2-1

And to block the doorway that has no door, we
had to resort to the box holding the cook top
and our re-purposed nail and screw rack aka
spice rack plus a sheet of plastic taped to the trim.

kitchen-renovations-week-2-2

In the meantime, we have paint on the walls, deep
teal and a shade called Ice Cube that has a very
slight tint reflected by the teal, and the floor is in,
a dark swirly gray.

kitchen-renovations-week-2-10

The shiny new appliances arrived from Sears but, uh oh,
the refrigerator wouldn’t fit through the doorways so all
the doors and drawers are sitting around in my living room
till the fridge can be installed and pieces parts put back together.

kitchen-renovations-week-2-7        kitchen-renovations-week-2-8

A lot of the cabinet work got done.

kitchen-renovations-week-2-12        kitchen-renovations-week-2-14

And the other miscreant cat, Holly, is relaxing under
the tree while Giselle contemplates life in a box…if
she can’t have her hole in the wall 😆

holly-christmas-2016-3

giselle-christmas-box-2016-1

Next up—add trim, finish the cabinetry, get the quartz
counters in and install the appliances, all by the end of
the day Friday, (backsplash and finishing touches to
come after Christmas). Our contractor has promised we’ll
have a working kitchen by Friday night and it looks like we
might make it, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise 😉

I’ll Be Back

Update: I’m alive!
(Although as nasty as this virus is, it’s a wonder.)
Thank you all so much for your kind thoughts and
patience. I’ll be taking things slow because I’m
still very weak but the blog will re-open on Friday
with a visit from award-winning romance author
Hannah Fielding. It’s good to be back!

Sorry, folks, I’m sick and
can’t sit up long enough to
do a post right now.
I’ll return ASAP!

Book Reviews: Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon, Need by Joelle Charbonneau, and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Come Rain or Come ShineCome Rain or Come Shine
A Mitford Novel #11
Jan Karon
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, September 2015
ISBN 978-0-399-16745-4
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Over the course of ten Mitford novels, fans have kept a special place in their hearts for Dooley Kavanagh, first seen in At Home in Mitford as a barefoot, freckle-faced boy in filthy overalls.

Now, Father Tim Kavanagh’s adopted son has graduated from vet school and opened his own animal clinic. Since money will be tight for a while, maybe he and Lace Harper, his once and future soul mate, should keep their wedding simple.

So the plan is to eliminate the cost of catering and do potluck. Ought to be fun.

An old friend offers to bring his well-known country band. Gratis.

And once mucked out, the barn works as a perfect venue for seating family and friends.

Piece of cake, right?

In Come Rain or Come Shine, Jan Karon delivers the wedding that millions of Mitford fans have waited for. It’s a June day in the mountains, with more than a few creatures great and small, and you’re invited—because you’re family.

By the way, it’s a pretty casual affair, so come as you are and remember to bring a tissue or two. After all, what’s a good wedding without a good cry?

Like so many others, I’m a longtime fan of Mitford and its wonderfully normal citizens, quirks and all, and I’ve laughed and cried my way through every book in the series. Come Rain or Come Shine fits right into the mix and I loved being back in the center of this delightful place. It’s even better that the story centers on one of my favorite characters, Dooley, adopted son of Father Tim and Cynthia, and his upcoming wedding to Lace Harper.

There’s a lot going on in Dooley’s life all at once—graduation from vet school, starting his clinic, getting married—but that really isn’t so unusual and it’s even less unusual that money could be a little tight at such a time. What’s so heartwarming is the way others in the community come together to make this wedding happen, good evidence of the affection the townspeople have for one another.

I do wish there had been more of Father Tim and Cynthia but this is the way life evolves from one generation to the next, isn’t it? Truthfully, there isn’t any real plot here but that’s not what comfort fiction readers look for and the important things, the characters, just sail off the page and into the readers’ hearts.

Technically, this is not part of the original Mitford series but more like an offshoot. When it’s all said and done, I don’t really care because I love this book as much as the earlier ones. I do think there’s a bit too much headhopping and, because of that, I heartily suggest that readers new to the series start at the beginning because, otherwise, you just won’t get the full effect and you won’t understand the characters. Guaranteed, you’re going to love Mitford and it’s citizens 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2016.

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NeedNeed
Joelle Charbonneau
HMH Books for Young Readers, November 2015
ISBN 978-0-544-41669-7
Hardcover

From the publisher—

“No one gets something for nothing. We all should know better.”

Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.

One of the many things that concerns me about today’s society is that we’ve been teaching our children to expect far more than they’ve ever earned, a sort of privilege in which many of them believe that all good things must come their way. Such is the darkness at the heart of the social networking site, NEED. It’s a hopeful sign that Kaylee recognizes the fallacy behind what NEED offers but she joins anyway. She’s a smart girl, though, and it doesn’t take her long to begin to realize the truly awful things happening and the demands that teens are facing in exchange for having their needs met.

The action takes off exponentially and tension continues to build as teen and adult readers alike go along for the rollercoaster ride until a most satisfying ending. If I have any reservations, it’s that I don’t really think that teens, despite their feelings of privilege, are quite this gullible (although they DO tend to behave like sheep and follow the latest fads just because everybody else does). I also think there are way too many narrators but, on the whole, I do recommend this. It’s not Ms. Charbonneau‘s strongest work—she’s one of my favorite authors—but it kept me up at night and that’s a good thing.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2016.

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The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendThe Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Katarina Bivald
Sourcebooks Landmark, January 2016
ISBN 978-1-4926-2344-1
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor―there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair.

You certainly wouldn’t open a bookstore. And definitely not with the tourist in charge. You’d need a vacant storefront (Main Street is full of them), books (Amy’s house is full of them), and…customers.

The bookstore might be a little quirky. Then again, so is Sara. But Broken Wheel’s own story might be more eccentric and surprising than she thought.

A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.

Being a former bookstore owner and current bookblogger, it’s only natural that I would be drawn to a book about, well, books and the love of books. As it turns out, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend was not exactly what I thought it was going to be but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of this quiet yet quirky story.

From the beginning, I had to suspend a lot of disbelief. For instance, I found it hard to credit that Sara would leave Sweden and her life behind just because she lost her job even though her life really was all wrapped up in that job and in her correspondence with Amy. I also found the willingness of the townsfolk to have Sara move into Amy’s house more than a little puzzling.

Putting those issues aside, this is an appealing story and, having had a bookstore myself, I totally get Sara’s desire to share her love of books with the town. There’s something truly uplifting about finding the right book for a person or just in helping them experience the joy of escaping into whatever world a particular book offers. I don’t mean to sound silly about it but being a bookseller is a passion that never goes away and I know that librarians and individual readers lending books to their friends feel the same joy. That goes for today’s book bloggers, too, who simply have to tell people about the books they want others to know about. Because of all that, and Sara’s general aimlessness, I did believe in her idea of having the bookstore.

The other aspect of the tale that I found interesting is the juxtaposition of the dying town, Broken Wheel, with the nearby more prosperous town of Hope. Without knocking the reader over the head with the comparison, Ms. Bivald brings the two towns into the full light of day and watching what happens to Broken Wheel and to Sara when she opens her bookstore is endearing to say the least. Bookstores really can be the heart of a community and that’s why I long to be running one again.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2016.