Readers' Favorite


Review: An Invincible Summer by Betta Ferrendelli

review by Donna Huber

An Invincible Summer by Betta Ferrendelli was one of the books that came in right around the time when I was diagnosed with a dislocated collarbone. I was so looking forward to reading this book, but with an arm that was immobilized for 6 weeks and then didn't have the strength to even hold a book until after several weeks of physical therapy I didn't get to pick it up until April.

An Invincible Summer
Jaime Monroe pummeled the heavy bag in an Ali-like flutter of powerful punches.
The first time she put on a pair of boxing gloves, she felt like a cartoon character.
Until she hit the bag.
Then her adrenaline began to surge, sweat ran and she felt powerful.
An avid athlete, she excelled in all sports, but boxing was her outlet. It toughened her for long hours as a deputy district attorney in the Domestic Violence Unit of the Denver County District Attorney's Office. At twenty-eight, Jaime was in her third year of the demanding, high-stress job, which she worked with an ardent passion. Boxing sharpened and focused her attention, cleared her mind. It was a stress-management tool she used to turn negative emotion into positive energy.
Tonight, well into an intense workout, sweat darkened her gray T-shirt and clung to her slender back.
An image of Kelly Jo Cox's broken and battered body flashed before and Jaime stepped back from the heavy bag, tasting bile in her throat.
The opening page had me hooked and I couldn't wait to get home each day so I could read. If I could have I would have read it non-stop, unfortunately real life (ie work and sleep) didn't allow for that.

I don't know if it was the shared interest in working out or the fact that Jaime worked with victims of domestic violence, but I instantly connected with her.

Interestingly, this book isn't as dark as the opening scene implies. It also isn't heavily crime fiction or judicial procedural. I would be tempted to classify it as women's fiction. I loved the developing relationships between Jaime and Leigh and Jaime and Ashleigh. The minor characters of Erin and Tia were also great and really added a layer to the main characters.

You know I love character driven stories and An Invincible Summer is definitely all about the characters.

However, I also found the social justice issue at the center of the plot very interesting.

An Invincible Summer is set in the 1990s when great strides were being made for people with mental disabilities. Ashleigh is a twenty-something with an IQ of about 70. I don't think it is stated in the book what her disability is as in the 90s mental retardation was the umbrella term, but from the descriptions I think it is Down's Syndrome. Her mother, Leigh, is Ashleigh's legal guardian and wants to have her sterilized. In addition to her limited IQ, Ashleigh is also predisposed for diabetes as a functional hypoglycemic. Ashleigh is moving out of the group home and into a limited supervised apartment and has taken a job at the mall. This scares her mother. Leigh is afraid she will be taken advantage of and a pregnancy could be detrimental to Ashleigh's health.

The legal question at hand though is whether or not Ashleigh is mentally competent to decide to make her own decision on this matter.

And this is where my first complaint with the book came in. While it was made clear upfront in the story that the court hearing was about deciding Ashleigh's competency, once the case went to before the judge it was clearly focused on whether or not Ashleigh should have the operation and focused on her health and not so much her decision making ability.

It frustrated me, though maybe it was accurate and courts in the 1990s hearing such cases did lose the focus. But it made me question how good of a lawyer Jaime is if she didn't steer the focus through objections and opening/closing remarks. I was glad when Drew brought the real issue back to the forefront - whether or not it should be Ashleigh's choice.

My other complaint was that some of the minor plot threads didn't feel fully wrapped up or tied in a sloppy bow. I'm hoping that this is just the start of a series where we will get to see more of Jaime's life.

Overall though I really loved An Invincible Summer. Betta Ferrendelli is an excellent writer and story teller and I look forward to reading more from her. It would be a great book to toss into your beach bag this summer.

Buy An Invincible Summer at Amazon

Donna Huber, founder & publisher. Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. She reads most genres, but her favorite books are psychological thrillers and stories that highlight the survival of the human spirit against unbelievable circumstances. Donna is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (364 pages)
published: September 2015
ISBN13: 9781518615085
genres: legal, suspense, family life
source: publicist

Top image credit:By Michael D Beckwith (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons 
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Review: Hex On The Beach by Gina LaManna

review by Elisa Hordon

Finally here it is, I get so excited when one of my favourite authors begins a new series. Hex On The Beach is book 1 of The Magic & Mixology Mystery Series by Gina Lamanna. Gina is also the author of the Lacey Luzzi Mysteries and the Misty Newman Mysteries.

Lily Locke has just found out she is a 'Witch', but does she really believe? Would you?

One day Lily was working in marketing and loving the fast paced word that was her life, she thrived on the stress and deadlines, but then it was all gone after the biggest pitch of her life went to hell in a hand basket.

Hex on the BeachLily tries to drown her sorrows behind her favourite bar with hilarious results. When Lily's aunts arrive things get even funnier, considering Lily had no idea she had Aunts. I especially love the quiz Lily has to take, where can I get one of those?

Lily Locke is no fool, but can she really trust these people who claim she is family and then they claim she is a witch and the only one who can help them, this set's the scene for a great story, family drama and a mystery within a bigger mystery.

Considering Lily has no job and no life why not go with it and follow her Aunts, what could go wrong? and this is how Lily finds herself on an island studying to become a 'Mixologist' with a grumpy curmudgeon named Gus, and a family that are totally worth getting to know for the entertainment value alone.

Lily is a wonderful character she is strong, stubborn, sassy and she knows just how to handle even the craziest of people, Lily also has a dash of sweet naivety to her personality that makes for some embarrassingly hilarious moments.

Lily has only been on the island a few days and she has met her aunts, cousins and her grandmother, now she is embroiled in murder and mayhem will soon follow at this rate.

The mysterious Ranger X steps into Lily's path to solve the murder and keep Lily safe, but who is this Mysterious Ranger X and can he really keep Lily safe, solve the mystery and keep his distance all at the same time. Time will tell because the air just explodes with chemistry whenever Ranger X and Lily are near each other but is this the start of a wonderful love story, an interesting friendship or a broken heart, I cannot wait to find out.

Lily's cousins Poppy the vampire with a blood intolerance and Zin the shifter who struggles with shifting add to the story so well I can see the three of them becoming more like sisters over time and when we factor in that Zin is one of 7 siblings we have not met yet I am even more excited to read future books in this series.

Hex on the Beach is well written, I love how Gina changes things up and mixes the supernatural order within Lily's family and I really love the bigger mystery that will flow from book to book connecting everything, while still having a smaller mystery to solve within each book and can Lily stop the bad guys and maybe even win Ranger X over....

I am really looking forward to Witchy Sour Book 2 in the Magic & Mixology Mystery Series due out June 2016.

Buy Hex on the Beach at Amazon

Elisa Hordon, reviewerElisa lives on the Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia were she spends her days reading, journaling, painting, cooking and home schooling her daughter. She has always been an avid reader, Elisa loves reading many genres of books except horror; her favourite genres would be mystery, romance and paranormal. Elisa also loves pursuing many creative outlets if she is not relaxing with a book she can be found writing, sketching, painting or cooking. Elisa loves to share her obsession with books especially with her family and friends. Reading and reviewing books is a favourite pastime of Elisa’s.

Book info:
available formats: ebook (247 pages)
published: April 2016 by LaManna Books
genres: cozy mystery, paranormal
source: author

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The Secrets of Flight by Maggie Leffler

review by Susan Roberts

The Secrets of Flight

It is so wonderful to read a book with an older main character. I get so tired of reading books about 20 somethings that reading about 87 year old Mary is a breath of fresh air. And to top that its a wonderful book with two strong main characters. Along with Mary and her secrets, there is 15 year old Elyse who wants to be a writer and who becomes Mary's friend and helper. A very strong bond is built between the two characters as Mary shares the secrets of her life with the teenager. The author did great research into the women pilot's of WWII and more needs to be written about these often forgotten heroic women. There is much more in the novel and in Mary's life than her time as a pilot and with Elyse's help, she is able to reveal it all. This is a wonderful book. Its both a coming of age story of Elyse but also an summation of life story for Mary.

Buy The Secrets of Flight at Amazon

Susan Roberts, reviewer. Susan grew up in the Detroit area but after deciding that city life wasn't for her she moved to North Carolina after college. She and her husband have several acres of land and they enjoy gardening and canning vegetables in the summer. They travel extensively and just returned from a month in Paris. Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction and thrillers. You can connect with Susan on Facebook or Twitter.

Book info:
available formats: ebook & print (368 pages)
published: May 2016 by
ISBN13: 9780062427922
genres: historical fiction
source: LibraryThing

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Laura Libricz: Magic Me a Meal! #MondayBlogs

What’s for dinner tonight?

Have a look in the pantry, see what you have, what you’re hungry for, and throw together something delicious. There’s a German idiom for just this situation that goes: schnell ein Essen zaubern! And that more or less means: magic me a meal! Let’s go back to the 17th century, specifically in Franconia, Germany: the absence of mod-cons, the hardship and toil and war, and eating whatever one is offered. How can we make a days-old leg of mutton or an old rabbit and some shriveled root vegetables edible let alone taste good? Magic me a meal!

Before we even think of cooking, we have to get this kitchen warm. Unfortunately, we used all the wood during the night because it was chilly and we have to find more wood. And if the fire went out altogether, we need either some embers from another fire or some dried straw, a flint stone, and a knife to get one going. Lug the firewood, light the fire, sit by until it’s burning. Once the fire is going we need water. The buckets are empty. Lug the water from the well, enough to cook with, and for whatever else we may need water for.

Looking in the cellar, I have carrots, onions, and some parsley root that has been stored in dry sand since September. They have shriveled up but they aren’t rotten. Once they are cooked they’ll taste good. A skinned wild rabbit has been hanging here for two days. It smells a bit gamey but it still looks useable. The cellar has a constant temperature summer and winter. (If I had a thermometer, it would probably be around 8° C or 45° F.) We still have some winter apples. These apples store nicely and are also a bit shriveled. In the garden I can dig up a horseradish root. Some kale is still standing in the garden because the spring hasn’t been that warm yet. Kale can stay out in the garden all winter.

We are lucky enough to have a master who is a traveling merchant, so we have pepper and cinnamon. And salt. We would die without salt. Not only does the body need salt to function, we need salt to preserve food. Last autumn, we dried salted deer meat and carp meat. We used all the grain last week and won’t have any more for another week or more. All we have left is old dried bread and ground acorns. The wine is sour but it actually tastes good in the cooking. The chickens have finally started laying again now that it’s spring so we have eggs. Lots of eggs. And the goat is still giving milk.

The fire is burning nicely atop the open hearth and all the chores are done so we can start cooking without being drawn away. Embers are gathered under a metal tripod and small pots set on top. The large iron pot can be hung from the chain rammed into the stone wall if we needed to cook a big meal but it won’t be necessary today. The smoke from the fire goes out the open flue but our eyes are still stinging and watering. The only outside light comes from a small window on the other side of the kitchen.

Chopping onions really makes our eyes water now. We chop some dried deer meat as well and then heat some fat in the pan, throw the onions and the deer meat into the pan, and let it fry. After it browns, we pour a half a bottle of that sour wine over the top. Zisch! Fumes from the sizzling wine and onions fill the kitchen and our mouths water! We sink the rabbit into the Sud, the stock. The sour wine will hide the gamey taste. Add salt, pepper and some cinnamon. In the garden, we pick sage leaves, just a few, some lavender, and a bit of rosemary that survived the winter. And we just gathered some Bärlauch, or wild garlic. This tasty herb can only be found in April and May, so we need to make the most of it. We can preserve some for later but it tastes best when it’s fresh.

Our main course is simmering away and we can think about side dishes and maybe even a dessert! So, carrots, old bread, ground acorns, eggs, milk, apples, cinnamon. Fresh kale and horseradish. Do we have any honey left? We decide to make a savory porridge out of water, carrots, onions, and ground acorns, salt and pepper. That will fill the belly. There will only be a mouthful of meat per person anyway. We put all of it in a pot and allow the savory porridge to simmer along side the rabbit. And how about a handful of chopped kale fried in fat with a bit of salt and topped with some freshly grated horseradish and a spoonful of rare goat’s cream?

Dessert: just because this is historical doesn’t mean we have to suffer! Old bread, milk, yes we have honey, apples. Let’s make a pudding. We heat the milk and apples and add the honey. The master also knows a beekeeper who is high up in the guild so we can get honey. It seems to disappear rapidly though. (I love honey.) Whisk in two eggs and watch it thicken. Then pour it over the pan filled with dried bread, set the pan on top of the hearth in a warm spot and hope it thickens more. If we had a fire in the oven we could bake it. But the oven is outside and we only stoke that up when we’re baking bread.

The rabbit should be done by now so we thicken the stock by crumbling the old bread into it. After spending the last two hours cooking, we are tasting our dishes more than we have to. The people we are cooking for hover around the kitchen like wolves who have smelled blood. We settle at the table and after a prayer of thanks to those forces we believe in, the room quiets at the task of devouring our delicious meal!

About the Author:

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.
She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing historical fiction, she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of Höfner musical instruments into the world market.
Her first historical novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven's Pond Trilogy and will be released June 2016. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.
Blog  *  Facebook  *  Twitter

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New Books - May 2016

Who needs new books to read? Okay may NEED isn't the right word since we probably have piles of books to read taller than ourselves. Perhaps WANT is a better word and I want several on this list! ~Donna

The Crown
Kiera Cass’s bestselling Selection series has enchanted readers from the very first page. Now the end of the journey is here, in a wonderfully romantic series finale that will sweep you off your feet.

Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you... and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

The Selection series has sold more than 3 million copies and captured the hearts of fans around the world. This swoon-worthy final installment is the happily ever after they’ve all been waiting for.

Available May 3
Buy The Crown at Amazon

The Hidden Oracle
How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favour.

But Apollo has many enemies - gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

Available May 3
Buy The Hidden Oracle at Amazon

Sins of Past
Three Novellas from Bestselling Authors

In Dee Henderson's "Missing," a Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two realize her disappearance is no accident, and a race against the clock begins.

Dani Pettrey returns to Alaska with "Shadowed," introducing readers to the parents of her beloved McKenna clan. Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young fisherman nets the body of an open-water swimming competitor who may actually be a possible Russian defector.

Lynette Eason's "Blackout" delivers the story of a woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong. The loot has never been found--but her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety when the true culprit comes after her?

Available May 3
Buy Sins of the Past at Amazon

Traces of Guilt
A riveting cold-case mystery from Dee Henderson

Evie Blackwell loves her life as an Illinois State Police Detective . . . mostly. She's very skilled at investigations and has steadily moved up through the ranks. She would like to find Mr. Right, but she has a hard time imagining how marriage could work, considering the demands of her job.

Gabriel Thane is a lifetime resident of Carin County and now its sheriff, a job he loves. Gabe is committed to upholding the law and cares deeply for the residents he's sworn to protect. He too would like to find a lifetime companion, a marriage like his parents have. . . .

When Evie arrives in Carin, Illinois, it's to help launch a new task force dedicated to reexamining unsolved crimes across the state. Spearheading this trial run, Evie will work with the sheriff's department on a couple of its most troubling missing-persons cases. As she reexamines old evidence to pull out a few tenuous new leads, she unearths a surprising connection . . . possibly to a third cold case. Evie's determined to solve the cases before she leaves Carin County, and Sheriff Thane, along with his family, will be key to those answers.

Available May 3
Buy Traces of Guilt at Amazon

Just Say Maybe
Award-winning author Tracy March follows up Should’ve Said No (“Wonderfully quirky . . . a pleasure to read!”—Laura Drewry) with this enchanting novel set in Thistle Bend, Colorado, a magical place where old wrongs are righted, and adventure leads to true love.

Real estate lawyer Holly Birdsong’s hike in the Rockies takes an unexpected turn when a smokin’-hot stranger tumbles off his bike and into her path. Turns out he’s purchasing the abandoned Lodge at Wild Rose Ridge, and Holly agrees to take him on as a client—despite her family’s traumatic history with the previous owner, who shamelessly abused the town’s goodwill at every turn. But when their professional relationship turns personal, Holly must reconcile the past with her hopes for the future.

Adding the rustic lodge to his portfolio of adventure properties isn’t just a business decision for Bryce Bennett. The rugged mountains also offer a killer setting for his extreme-sports camps for at-risk teens. What’s not in the blueprints is finding a kindred spirit in his irresistible lawyer, even if she seems apprehensive about getting involved in the deal. Bryce’s plan to ease her mind just might work, as long as no one discovers his secret. Yet he can’t stand hiding the truth from the woman who makes him want to build something permanent: a happily ever after.

Available May 3
Buy Just Say Maybe at Amazon

Royal Wedding Disaster
You are invited to a Genovian Royal Wedding in this second book pulled FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS, a Princess Diaries spin-off series, written and illustrated by New York Times-bestselling author Meg Cabot.

Olivia Grace Clarisse Mignonette Harrison still finds it hard to believe that she's a real live PRINCESS OF GENOVIA. Not only does she get to live in an actual palace with her newly discovered family and two fabulous poodles (who all love her and think that she's anything but ordinary!) but she also gets her very own PONY!

Of course, things aren't going exactly like she imagined. Her half-sister Mia is very busy learning how to take over the country while trying to plan a wedding and her father is actually getting remarried himself-to Mia's mother!-and spends most of his time "renovating" the summer palace, although Grandmere says he is just hiding from the wedding preparations. Olivia hardly gets to see either of them.

Fortunately, Grandmere has her own plans for Mia's wedding, and needs Olivia's help to pull them off. Just when Olivia starts to think that things are going to work out after all, the palace is invaded by a host of new cousins and other royals who all seem to be angry at Olivia (although Grandmere says they are just jealous).

As the day of the wedding gets closer and closer, Olivia becomes more and more worried. For such a carefully planned event, it seems like a LOT of things are going wrong... Can Olivia keep this royal wedding from becoming a royal disaster?

Available May 10
Buy Royal Wedding Disaster at Amazon

The Country Road, A Tree
From the best-selling author of  Longbourn,  a stunning new novel that follows an unnamed writer--Samuel Beckett--whose life and extraordinary literary gift are permanently shaped in the forge of war.

When war breaks out in Europe in 1939, a young, unknown writer journeys from his home in neutral Ireland to conflict-ridden Paris and is drawn into the maelstrom. With him we experience the hardships yet stubborn vibrancy at the heart of Europe during the Nazis' rise to power; his friendships with James Joyce and other luminaries; his quietly passionate devotion to the Frenchwoman who will become his lifelong companion; his secret work for the French Resistance and narrow escapes from the Gestapo; his flight from occupied Paris to the countryside; and the rubble of his life after liberation. And through it all we are witness to workings of a uniquely brilliant mind struggling to create a language that will express his experience of this shattered world. Here is a remarkable story of survival and determination, and a portrait of the extremes of human experience alchemized into timeless art.

Available May 17
Buy A Country Road, A Tree at Amazon

Medical Judgment
Someone is after Dr. Sarah Gordon. They've stalked her and set a fire at her home. Trying to recover from the traumatic deaths of her husband and infant daughter is tough enough, but she has no idea what will come next. Her late husband's best friend and a recovering alcoholic detective are trying to solve the mystery before it's too late, but both appear to be vying for her affection as well. Sarah finds herself in constant fear as the process plays out.

As the threats on her life continue to escalate, so do the questions: Who is doing this? Why are they after her? And with her only help being unreliable suitors in competition with each other, whom can she really trust?

Available May 17
Buy Medical Judgment at Amazon

Spirits, Rock Stars and a Midnight Chocolate Bar
Pyper Rayne is back in book two of this popular spin off of the Jade Calhoun series. Join her and the rest of the gang as they battle ghosts on a cruise liner to the Caribbean.

Available May 24
Buy Spirits, Rock Stars and a Midnight Chocolate Bar at Amazon

Every Exquisite Thing
Nanette O'Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bugglegum Reaper--a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic--the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.

Available March 31
Buy Every Exquisite Thing at Amazon

The Island House
The charms of Nantucket tempt a woman to leave her established life in Kansas City—but with a piece of her heart, and a love interest, in each world, she discovers she must look within to choose the right path.

Every summer since college, twenty-nine-year-old Jenny has traded the familiarity of the Midwest for the allure of Nantucket. Now an established university professor in Kansas City, she finds herself caught between two lifestyles and two very different men. She chooses Nantucket and the glamorous life she associates with it, unaware that the summer will take an unexpected turn, and she will have to let her heart decide what it truly wants.

Available March 31
Buy The Island House at Amazon

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Z is for Zombies #AtoZChallenge

by Claire Rees

I have always had a love of horror and zombies horrify me. But for some reason I still love to read about them. The books I have reviewed today are new to me. But I enjoyed them a lot and think I have found some new authors to stalk, ah i mean follow.

Killshot by Aria Michaels

Killshot follows a group of teenagers who all meet on top of the school’s gym roof to watch ‘Icarus’ a solar flare due to happen that night. But something goes terribly wrong and they find themselves having to lock themselves inside the school’s basement to stop them from being burned alive.

After a full day of hiding they decide to wait until nightfall when it's cooler to venture outside. But when they do, they find themselves in a ghost town. Those they do find have been burned alive.

They set out together to visit their homes and find each one touched by chaos. They find some ‘infected’ zombie like creatures that they call ‘leeches’. It also seems that two of their group, Zander and Liv have been infected by this virus but instead of destroying them it seems to have given them special powers.

Soon they discover that all is not what it seems and that the US government played a part in this virus and have secret underground places for the Powers That Be to retreat to in times of emergencies just like this.

Now Liv has to get to her little brother but has to dodge the leeches, and also the military who are rounding up all survivors to check them for infection.

From the first chapter I was hooked, I liked the group of survivors, each with their own personalities and quirks. I followed along their story like I was one of the survivors.

The writing is fast and descriptive and kept me turning page after page, hoping to uncover the secrets the military are trying to keep hidden, hoping that Liv and her crew got to where they needed to go safely.

It had me both excited and terrified to see what horrors and troubles they would run into next.
Liv’s relationship with Zander blossoms throughout and is the sweet to the sour of the problems they face.

I recommend Kill Shot to those that love dooms day, apocalypse stories where pain and love go hand in hand. Where government secrets and underground labs are common.

Buy Killshot at Amazon

Killing the Dead
Killing the Dead by Richard Murray

Who better to have by your side in the middle of a zombie apocalypse than an experienced killer?

This is exactly what happens to Lily, when she knocks on the nearest door begging for help whilst running from zombies. She meets Ryan and even though she is horrified by him being a serial killer, in this new apocalyptic world numbers mean safety so she decides to stay with him for a little while trusting him when he promises he won't hurt her.

Ryan starts to feel something whilst with Lily, something he cannot explain and soon finds himself needing Lily to like him, promising not to kill innocent people ever again and meaning it.
On the road to safety they meet different people and see lots of horror. Even getting separated, they manage to find each other again at a local military safety area and find their group growing in numbers.

But once again the zombies come and overwhelm the guards, breaking into the compound. Ryan's quick thinking gets them out of the area quickly and they even manage to save another group of people.

I enjoyed this adventure with Lily and Ryan. I'm hoping that as the series progresses that Ryan gives up his murdering ways and becomes somebody that the group can depend on.

It’s quite a unique story, I don't think I have ever read a zombie story written from the point of view of a serial killer.

I also enjoyed the fact that the story is based in the UK where we don't really have guns, and so the characters were forced to find other weapons, knives, crow bars, baseball bats etc.

Buy Killing the Dead at Amazon

Days with the Undead
Days with the Undead by Julianne Snow

The story is written as a diary of a small group of survivors during the days following day one of the zombie apocalypse.

They don't seem like they belong together at first but once you hear their stories of how they are connected and how well they work together, each bringing some vital skill to the group you will see how well organized this group really is.

She tells of their life on the road, the difficulties they face, the undead, the police from other states who have not been properly informed of the outbreak, the bad humans killing and maiming other survivors just because they can or to steal their stuff.

She also tells each of their back stories, and what they were doing on the day ‘patient zero’ was admitted into the hospital only to die and come back to life.

Days with the Undead is packed from start to finish with action, blood and gore and kept me glued to it. I couldn't get enough of each of their stories as well as their combined effort to survive and couldn't wait to see how it would end.

As for the ending- wow. I didn't see it coming; I was really shocked but it was a fitting end.
It was very well written and I would really like to read more books from this author.

If you like zombie apocalypse books from a survivor’s point of view then you will really enjoy this one. I couldn't get enough of it.

Buy Days with the Undead at Amazon

Claire Rees, reviewer. Claire lives in a small village in the South Wales Valleys, UK with her husband, two kids and five snakes. She will hopefully be starting an English literature course this September. She has always loved reading books. Her favorite genres are horror, mystery and fantasy, although if the story line is good she'll read anything. Connect with Claire on Facebook.

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Y is for Young Adult Books #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber

Thought I'm a couple of decades past my Young Adult days, I still enjoy reading books for young adult. I'm not sure what the appeal is. Maybe it is a bit of nostalgia for the teen years or the innocence of the characters. If you are like me and enjoy YA books, then check out this month's most popular titles.

The Star-Touched Queen
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

Buy The Star-Touched Queen at Amazon

When We Collided
We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

Buy When We Collided at Amazon

Every Heart a Doorway
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Buy Every Heart a Doorway at Amazon

Down with the Shine
There's a reason they say "be careful what you wish for." Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for "balls of steel" and got them-literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.

These are things Lennie only learns when it's too late-after she brings some of her uncles' moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.

Lennie didn't mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles' moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their "important family legacy," she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.

As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.

Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can't be unmade...

Buy Down with the Shine at Amazon

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here
Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. And if they ever find out what Scarlett truly thinks about them, she’ll be thrust into a situation far more dramatic than anything she’s ever seen on TV…

Buy Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here at Amazon

Donna Huber, founder & publisher. Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. She reads most genres, but her favorite books are psychological thrillers and stories that highlight the survival of the human spirit against unbelievable circumstances.

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