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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Mailbox Monday … February 27th 2012


Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week.

Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday, is currently ‘on tour’ and being hosted by a different blogger each month.
Your host for the month of February is:
So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for Kim, after all, we all like to receive them!
“Thanks to Kim for being a great host throughout February.”

This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!


I have a whole host of new books added to my kindle this week, courtesy of the lovely ladies at Astraea Press and Mark and the gang over at Smashwords …. and the best thing of all, they were all FREE!

Astraea are celebrating their birthday and decided to give away a different book each day, throughout the month of February. Unfortunately I didn’t monitor my ‘timeline’ closely enough, so I missed quite a few of the earlier titles, as the voucher codes are only valid on the day they are published, however I am still pleased with my gathering …. and the month still isn’t over yet!

Astraea was formed in 2010 when Stephanie Taylor saw the need for a non-erotic e-publisher that offers wholesome reads but still maintains the quality of mainstream romance, so needless to say my books are all generally from the romantic fiction genre, although they cover a whole range of sub-genres, from contemporary romance, to historical romance, fantasy romance, through to paranormal romance.

It is also good to see that Astraea Press is run so well by a group of ladies who are themselves romantic fiction authors and have included some of their own books in this great giveaway.

I probably won’t be attempting a marathon romance read anytime soon, however these lovely additions to my TBR titles will fit nicely between books from other genres and I shall definitely be writing and posting reviews for them all.

If you want to discover more about the individual authors then click on the naming links and to read a full synopsis for the individual books simply click on the image.


  ‘The Parting Gift’ by Rachel Van Dyken and Leah Sanders


  ‘The Picture’ by Stephanie Taylor


‘Cue Me In’ by Nell Dixon


‘Royal Opposites’ by Lori Crawford


‘Blackbird Flies’ by Chynna Laird


‘Through the Rabbit Hole’ by Lisa Kumar


  ‘Shawnee’s Creek’ by Stephy Smith


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Jennifer,

      They are all new titles and authors to me also and although I don’t read romantic fiction all the time, I do like to vary my genres, so they will get fitted in to my schedule over a period of time.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I hope that you enjoy your week.

    • Hi Tanya,

      Thanks for stopping by Fiction Books, I don’t believe we have spoken before, so ‘welcome’, I always love to meet new people.

      I think if I had to pick just one book that looked especially interesting, it would have to be ‘Blackbird Flies’, but I am sure they are all going to be great reads.

      Have a lovely week.

    • Hi Laurel-Rain,

      I must admit I did think of you when I published my post about the freebies, as I have noted that you seem to enjoy romantic fiction.

      All of the titles and authors are new to me, however I was pleased to note that the Astraea Press is actually run by a group of romantic fiction authors and that they have included some of their own books in amongst the ‘freebies’.

      I shall review them all in due course, probably in the order in which they were downloaded.

      Thanks for the visit and enjoy the rest of your week.

    • Hi Staci,

      I am already amazed at just how many different sub-genres of romantic fiction I have come by … from paranormal romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, right the way through to Christian romance … so I certainly shan’t be found wanting for choice.

      Thanks for the visit and have a great week.

    • Hi Kim,

      I am sure to enjoy some more than others, however it was too good an offer to resist, so downloading them all seemed like the best option, that way I can pick and choose which ones I want to read and when.

      Thanks to Astraea Press for the offer and I hope that their success continues to grow over the coming months.

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your week

    • Hi Mystica,

      I shall be all romanced out, by the time I get through this little haul, although I definitely shan’t be reading them all together, I like to vary my reading genres too much for that.

      There are a couple that I have picked out to take priority, but as I have downloaded them from ‘Smashwords’ to my kindle, they aren’t eating any shelf space.

      Thanks for leaving comment today and I hope that you have a good week

    • Hi Diane,

      For some of the authors these seem to be debut novels, although quite a few of them are already well established authors, with their own comprehensive websites, there is quite a mix, which is great from my perspective.

      The author list on the Astraea Press site, seems to have consistent growth and it is great to see its popularity increasing in such a tough marketplace.

    • Hi Ann,

      I have already read and reviewed a couple of books for different authors who publish through Astraea Press, so the opportunity to sample new work by alternative authors, was just too good an opportunity to miss, especially with the diversity of storylines available within the genre of romantic fiction.

      I do like to review every book that I agree to take on, so I am surely going to be quite busy for the forseeable future.

      Thanks for the visit and I hope that you are having a good week so far.

    • Hi Kathy,

      ‘The Picture’ is one of the first on the list for sure, as the story centres around a hospice and it is for a hospice that I do my voluntary work, here in the UK, so I have a vested interest in this one.

      There is also a book there by an English author ‘Cue Me In’ by Nell Dixon, so I shall have to take a look at that one, naturally.

      I do aim to read and review them all, it may just take a little time!

      Have a good week and thanks for stopping by.

    • Hi Mary,

      I am certainly going to take my time and spread all this romance out a little, between other genres.

      I will definitely read and review them all at some point, just not to the total exclusion of my favourite murder/mystery, thriller novels.

      I could never read one genre exclusively, I don’t think. There is too wide a variety of books in the marketplace for that and I just want to read them all.

    • Hi Linda,

      Ha! if only that were the case. I seem to get less and less free time in which to read and my various other hobbies have all long since been abandoned.

      I get quite depressed when I see the amount of posts and reviews that fellow bloggers put up on such a regular basis and feel quite inadequate.

      I have to stop and give myself a good talking to at times like that, to remind myself that blogging is a passion, not a chore and it doesn’t matter how infrequently I do it, so long as I get enjoyment from it.

      Having said all that, by the end of the month I shall have about a dozen new books sat on my kindle, just waiting for me to get to them!!!

    • Hi Gautami,

      Yes, this has to rate as my biggest mailbox in a single week I think and there are still 4 more books to collect before the month is out.

      It may seem a little greedy to have downloaded them all, however the window of opportunity is so short to order, that I just don’t have the time to pick and choose, so I have taken advantage of the entire offer, then I can prioritise the reading order later, although I do fully intend to tackle them all eventually.

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your week

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      A weeks worth of reading!!! I wish, more like a month or so!!

      I just don’t know where the time goes to, all I know is that I am spending less and less of it reading. If I am out for the day, I don’t really get a lunch break to grab a few pages and by the time I go to bed, I am too tired to even open the book. Most of my reading gets done first thing in the morning, whilst I have my breakfast and morning coffee.

      I shall get aound to reading all these great titles, however the authors will have to be very patient when waiting for their reviews.

    • Hi Alyce,

      I haven’t come across quite so many free book opportunities in one go before and I am just annoyed with myself that I knew nothing about it until half the month had gone.

      I came across Astraea Press in 2011, whilst I was reviewing books for two of their authors, who contacted me independently. I have been back to the site periodically and it has been good to see their author list increasing and that they have an active blog and social presence.

      There are so many indie publishers on the scene right now, that competition must be quite fierce, so the ladies at Astraea have found themselves a nice little niche market and appear to be going from strength to strength.

      Smashwords are also a relatively young company and one which seems to have built up quite a loyal following. The thing it has going for it are the numerous ways in which you can download ot view your purchase, which makes it quick and simple to use. The negative is that, unlike Amazon and many of the other sites where you can leave a review for any book in the catalogue once you have opened an account, whereas with Smashwords, you can only leave a review for a book which you have purchased from the site.

      Luckily, as the Astraea ladies have books in this offer in conjunction with Smashwords, using a voucher code and the books are also available from Amazon, I should be able to leave reviews for all the novels on a whole range of sites, which has to be good.

      Thanks for the visit and enjoy your week

    • Hi Naida,

      I too enjoy a good romance, however it has to be balanced out with a good murder/mystery, or thriller, from time to time.

      I am not really fussy about reading genres, although I tend to steer clear of memoirs and science fiction, but I do like to mix the genres up a bit and ring the changes.

      Romance for me does have to have a good underlying storyline and as Astraea Press is strictly non-erotic romance, then most of their authors will definitely have to rely on plot and storyline for their success.

      Thanks for the visit and I hope that you have a good week

  • I tried to get one of these last week, downloaded it in the wrong format and then it wouldn’t let me try again. So I sort of gave up. LOL. Never mind, I have plenty of my books on my Kindle already.

    Talking of which that Alaskan crime book I reviewed on my blog? It’s here, free for Kindle, on AmazonUK:


    As you know I didn’t think it was amazing but you may like it better and it *free* so nothing lost if you’re not keen.

    • Hi Cath,

      I dowmloaded the first one of these books into a PDF, which meant that I had to read it on my laptop.

      Since then however, I have been downloading them (or rather Dave has) to my kindle, which is going to make life much easier.

      It will definitely only let you use the voucher code once, so for complete technophobes such as myself, this is really bad news.

      I certainly have enough romance books to keep me going for a while now and some of them do have quite interesting sounding storylines as well.

      Thanks for the link to the kindle version of ‘Cold Murder’, it is definitely worth a try, from my point of view. Two people rarely see the same good and bad points in a book, so I might enjoy it. As you say, it is even better when it is free!

      I could do with a few more crime/mystery books to balance things up a bit right now, although I am currently reading an Edwardian railway murder/mystery … ‘The Lost Luggage Porter’ by Andrew Martin, which is quite good, different from anything else I have read anyway.

      Thanks for the comment and info. and enjoy the rest of your week.

      • My problem is that I need to take a bit more time to look at things properly. I saw ‘mobi for Kindle’ and just clicked… I really needed the plain text version. The other thing got me into all sorts of trouble. LOL!

        You’re right when you say people don’t see the good and bad points of books. And that’s what makes blogging interesting… when someone makes you think about a point you hadn’t noticed or hadn’t been bothered by.

        I like the sound of your Edwardian mystery, I rather like railway stories. Look forward to your thoughts on that.

        • Hi Cath,

          I am never really sure how to pitch a review, which is why I don’t like the idea of ‘marking’ a book.

          I truly believe that even if I haven’t personally enjoyed a book, there is no reason why I can’t give the author a positive review.

          Enjoyment of a story is a purely personal thing and no two people are probably going to agree about a book.

          A review to me however, is more about the concept that the author is trying to get across to the reader, the characterisations, plotline, storytelling, style of writing etc. all of which I can appreciate without really having to have enjoyed the book.

          The things that really don’t put me on the authors side very much, are the usual bad spelling, grammar and editing in general. Those things are a real turn-off, regardless of how good everything else is.

          Astraea Press seem to be making a real effort to keep everything up to the mark, which is why I really want then to succeed. They have a good editorial team, a fantastic cover artist and a strong owner and it sounds as though they run a tight ship.

          The Edwardian mystery is a little quirky and different to anything else I have read and it might need me to read another from the series before I am totally sure that it is my thing.

          Nikki-Ann from ‘Notes Of Life’ has already reviewed this one …


          Worth taking a look at

Written by Yvonne