Readers' Favorite


Review: Caged Lightning by Brent Rock Russell

by Donna Huber

cover of Caged Lightning
Last week I took a Sleep & Read vacation. Caged Lightning by Brent Rock Russell was one of the books on my list to read.

I really liked the premise: Wyatt Stryker, E.R. doctor and ex-Navy SEAL, finds himself facing one of the deadliest drug cartels when his son has been taken hostage.

And I thought it started well.
"I was about to take a bullet to the cranium. Not for a particularly noble reason, like foiling a terrorist attack or hurling my body in front of the President. Nothing remotely worth the risk of a skull peephole."

Unfortunately, the execution of the story didn't work for me in this plot driven novel.

One of the first things I noticed was that the writing wasn't as sleek as I am used to in thrillers. I thought the reading level was a little low compared to the adult books I typically read. There is nothing wrong with that in itself as it might appeal to people that do not read very much.

Some of the technique is what really bugged me. I thought it was pretty much industry standard these days that if you were going to use dialogue tags (i.e. he said) that they went at the end of the dialogue. However, in Caged Lighning they were at the beginning of the dialogue. It was jarring.

A side note: I read an ARC, which means it has not completely finished all phases of editing. Typically proof reading hasn't been completed. Maybe dialogue tags were fixed prior to full publishing.

I also thought there was unneccessary explanations or details at times, which had it not been included the story would have been tighter. It really effected the momentim of the story for me.

For example there was a section explaining the difference between covert and clandestine operations.
"There's a difference between covert and clandestine. Clandestine missions are generally conducted with diplomatic approval, or at least not outright disapproval. But if something gets in the press, the nation claims to be transgressed and angry at the U.S. True covert missions are conducted in sovereign nations without the knowledge of their government; the U.S. government denies any association. Operators use equipment non-attributable to the U.S."

A couple of pages later Wyatt is remembering a covert mission he was on as a Navy SEAL. Instead of stopping the story (at least for me) to define the difference between the two types of mission, it could have been inserted seamlessly into the memory that the mission was covert. Especially since twice during the recall it is mentioned that the U.S. would deny involvement. I never saw the point of spelling out the difference or even really bringing up the difference. It had no real bearing on what was happening in the story to have an understanding beyond what a covert mission is.

The action scenes were well written. They were really the strength of the book. I just wish the rest of the story had been as well done.

I also had problems with the characters.

The 911 operator and detective were written almost as Barney Fife characters. Perhaps if the story was set in middle of nowhere hickville it would have been believable, but they are in San Diego and their attitudes were unprofessional. Who doesn't take a possible child abduction seriously? I know there are bad apples, but these two characters felt too exaggerated.

I understand the main character is under a lot of stress, but his personality seemed inconsistent. There was a lot of emphasis put on his traing as a Navy SEAL and how they are trained to be calm under pressure. Yet, soon after a reminder of this fact, we would read that Wyatt was panicking. Sometimes to the extent that he could not come up with plan or execute the plan he did come up with.

Cage Lightning is clearly a plot driven novel, so I understood that character development was lacking. If you have been reading my review for very long, you know I much more prefer a character driven novel. That may explain why I wasn't as entralled with this action-packed book. I also wonder if it wasn't written more with a male audience in mind. If so, that's great as typically men don't read as much as women (as there is no shortage of reading material written for a female audience), but I wouldn't have been the right audience for this book.

Either way, I felt little thrill for this thriller. But as they say different strokes for different folks, so check out the sample chapters:

Buy Caged Lighning 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.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (464 pages)
published: July 2016 by Elevate Fiction
ISBN13: 9781943425372
genres: crime, action, thriller
source: publisher

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter:
A free book was provided by the publisher for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Think You Know Alexander Hamilton? Read This Before You Answer.

by Kathleen Barker

When looking for a kick-back summer read, most of us resist an 800+ page boulder of non-fiction.  Yet since I am unwilling to plunk down an ultra-serious chunk of change for an elusive ticket to Broadway's smash hit, "Hamilton", I decided to take the plunge into Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow's best-selling biography of our country's most misunderstood and underrated Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. 

Most of us know little about Hamilton other than that his face is featured on ten dollar bills and that he was shot by Aaron Burr.  He was much more.  Brilliant, driven, and charismatic, he was likely the most influential figure to never serve as the President of our country.  Unlike nearly all other Founding Fathers, Hamilton burst onto the American scene from a most unfortunate childhood.  An illegitimate orphan born on a Caribbean Island, he read voraciously and wrote so well that he was employed at a very young age as a clerk by a trading company.  After the 1722 hurricane in St. Croix the then-fifteen year old Hamilton penned a summary of the ravaging storm which impressed the editor of the Royal Danish American Gazette.  A pastor took up a collection to fund his education in America where he entered King's College (now Columbia University).  The immensely-talented young man fought for independence from Britain and became General George Washington's chief aide.  He founded our nation's financial system, the United States Coast Guard, the Federalist Party, the New York Post newspaper, and more.

"The magnitude of Hamilton's feats as treasury secretary has overshadowed many other facets of his life: clerk, college student, youthful poet, essayist, artillery captain, wartime adjutant to Washington, battlefield hero, congressman, abolitionist, Bank of New York founder, state assemblyman, member of the Constitutional Convention and New York Ratifying Convention, orator, lawyer, polemicist, educator, patron saint of the New-York Evening Post, foreign-policy theorist, and major general in the army," writes Chernow.

In the most comprehensive telling of Alexander Hamilton's life, Chernow perused almost 22,000 pages of letters, manuscripts, and articles to reveal a man with unparalleled intellect  and ambition.  The comprehensive yet never-dull book inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to create the award-winning Broadway musical that so many have seen and still wait to see.  You won't be disappointed by either.

Buy Alexander Hamilton at Amazon

Kathleen Barker, features writer. Kathleen was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. A graduate of Blessed Sacrament, the Institute of Notre Dame and Towson University, she spent twenty years as the much-traveled wife of a Navy pilot and has three children. While working for a Fortune 500 insurance company in New Orleans, she wrote feature and human interest articles for their magazine and received the Field Reporter of the Year award. After Hurricane Katrina, she returned to her beloved state of Maryland where she started work on "The Charm City Chronicles". All four volumes, "Ednor Scardens", "The Body War", "The Hurting Year", and "On Gabriel's Wings" are available in Amazon's Kindle store.


Review: Age of Consent by Marti Leimbach

by Susan Roberts

cover Age of Consent
I'll start out by saying that Age if Consent is a difficult book to read but that as a mother or a daughter or a woman, it's a book that you should definitely read. It's a novel about abuse of a child but told in a way that I've never read before and in a way that's really made me think about how evil some people can be to other people.

First the triangle - June is a young widow - not real attractive but she would love to find someone to love. Bobbie is her 13 year old daughter - she is very cute and extremely smart and plans to go to college someday. She loves her mother deeply and tries to take care of her. Craig Kirtz is a local disc jockey who becomes a friend to the small family. June has a major crush on him but it was Bobbie that he was interested in and Bobbie that he seduced at the young age of 14. June has no idea that there is an on going relationship between Craig and Bobbie until years later when Bobbie brings charges against Craig for sexual abuse.

The novel alternates between the past and the present. The reader learns how Bobbie felt during her teenage years and how it affected her as an adult and why she decided to come back to her home town and face Craig and her mother again. By facing her past, she had to re-live it all again.

This is a fantastic novel about a difficult subject. It was so well done that I had trouble putting it down once I started and I was unable to start a new book once I finished it because the character of Bobbie kept resonating in my mind.

Buy Age of Consent at Amazon
P.S. there's a giveaway for this book at Goodreads, but it ends at midnight July 26

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. 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. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook or Twitter.

Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (336 pages)
published: July 2016 by Nan A. Talese
ISBN13: 9780385540872
genres: women's fiction, suspense
source: Goodreads 

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: A free book was provided by Goodreads for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


#BigBookGiveaway - Rook by @JCAndrijeski #MondayBlogs

cover of Rook
There's only a week left to enter the Big Book Giveaway where 2 winners will win 10 books each. You do need a US address to enter. With the variety of genres represented, there is just about something for everyong in this giveaway. There is even a few young adult books in the mix. Today I am featuring cyberpunk novel Rook (Allie's War #1) by 5 time USA Today best selling author JC Andrijeski.

Like most humans, Allie's spent her life distancing herself from Seers, a race of human-like beings discovered on Earth in the early 1900s. That changes after catching her boyfriend in the arms of a hot band groupie, and Allie goes from San Francisco artist slacker to the girl wearing the GPS anklet in about sixteen seconds. Being stuck with community service is the least of her problems, though, compared to the shock of discovering who--and what--she really is.

Yanked out of her life by the mysterious Revik, who drives her crazy in all the best and worst ways, Allie finds out that her blood may not be as indisputably human as she always thought. Through Revik she learns the truth: that Seers are nothing like she thought, that the world is nothing like it appears to be... and that she has far more in common with Seers than she ever wanted to believe.

Now on the run from a group of anti-human,terrorist Seers called Rooks and her own human government, Allie must learn to navigate a secret shadow world behind her own, a world filled with superhuman Seers with their own battles raging...and their own agendas around the fate of humanity. When Allie's family and friends get dragged into that war, things suddenly get a lot more personal, and Allie learns she may be the only one who can stop it.

My Thoughts:
I read Rook back in 2014 along with several more in the series. I liked the plot and the characters a lot. I had some trouble with understanding the world, which is usually why I shy away from fantasy. When I ignored some of the world building aspects I loved the book. This was my first experience with the genre cyberpunk. It's probably not one of my more favorite genres, but Andrijeski writes a really great story.

Remember you can pick up the novella New York:Early Years (Allie's War #0.1) for free at Amazon and B&N.

Start Reading:

Enter the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Review: Death By Diploma by Kelley Kaye

by Elisa Hordon

cover of Death by Diploma
As Emma Lovett discovers the perils of teaching high school in the fun cozy mystery Death by Diploma, she and best friend Leslie learn more than they ever wanted to know about the reasons people kill.

  • Kelley Kaye was a new to me author and I loved Death By Diploma.
  • This was a giggling good time.
  • Right from the start I loved Emma, she is such a strong character.
  • A witty, well written who done it.
  • A quirky cast of characters that had me from the first page.
  • A main character who I can't wait to read more from I really loved Emma.
  • I loved all the twists and turn.
  • I enjoyed the surprises.
  • My absolute favourite thing about this story was all of the laugh out loud moments.
  • A storyline to literally die for.
  • I love stories about teachers and murder mysteries.
  • Emma and Leslie are wonderfully delightful armature sleuths; they make crime solving fun.
  • If you’re a Shakespeare lover like I am then you will enjoy the Shakespearian quotes bantered about in the story from Emma and Leslie
  • What I didn't like was the way the author tried to write in a Southern accent for Emma's character, I found that dialogue hard to read, I prefer if an author just describes that the character has an accent because then I naturally hear it in my head when I'm reading.

Favourite quote from the book

'No. I don't believe in omens. That rabbit's foot in my purse is there only because petting soft things calms my nerves. Really.'

Buy Death by Diploma 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 and print (228 pages)
published: January 2016 by Red Adept Publishing
ISBN13: 978-1940215624
genres: cozy mystery
source: author

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: A free ebook was provided for this review. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Want to Join the Girl Who Reads Review Team?

Do you like to read? Do you like to tell others about the latest novel you read? Do you like to discover new authors? If you answered yes to these questions, then I have an offer for you.

Girl Who Reads is looking to add a reviewer to our staff. The successful candidate will be responsible for at least 2 reviews per month. Reviewers of all genres will be considered, but preference will be given to those that enjoy horror, fantasy, and/or romance. Willingness to read young adult and middle grades is a plus.

Please note, Girl Who Reads does not review erotica.

As a reviewer at Girl Who Reads, you will be eligible for a Netgalley account and receive advance reader copies from top publishers. Girl Who Reads also receives a number of direct requests from indie authors and small presses. While print copies are offered, there is a rising trend in providing only electronic copies. Therefore, individuals interested in reviewing should be able to read either mobi (Kindle), epub (Nook, Kobo), or pdf.

The selected reviewer will need to submit their first reviews by October, though starting earlier is fine.

If you are interested in reviewing for Girl Who Reads, please send an email to donna (at) In the email, please indicate your preferred genres, whether you reside in the US or aboard, and include a review sample (can be any book you've read recently).

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


5 of July's Most Popular Romance Novels

As if summer isn't hot enough...You might need a fan while reading these top selling romances. 

From New York Times Bestseller, Vi Keeland, comes a sexy new standalone novel.

The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn't exactly make a good impression.

I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.

He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.

So I told him to mind his own damn business―his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business―and went back to my miserable date.

When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.

I couldn't help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.

When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.

But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us―telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.

My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.

When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I'd never see him again.

I mean, what were the chances I'd run into him again in a city with eight million people?Then again...

What were the chances a month later he'd wind up being my new sexy boss?

Buy Bossman at Amazon

If Earl Only Knew
The chase is on in award-winning author Amanda Forester's brand-new Regency romance series!

A sizzling scandal just waiting to happen…

Orphaned at a young age, Lady Katherine Ashton and her brother have spent most of their lives on the high seas, seeking to restore their family fortune through somewhat dubious means. After that kind of adventure, Kate knows she won't ever be accepted as a proper society lady.

To the annoyingly clever, temptingly handsome, and altogether troublesome Earl of Wynbrook, society ladies are a dead bore. Kate, on the other hand, is scandalous, alluring, and altogether fascinating. And Kate can't decide which she relishes more, the thrill of chasing fearsome pirates, or having Wynbrook chase after her...

Buy If the Earl Only Knew at Amazon

Billionaire in Wolf's Clothing
First in a BRAND NEW SERIES from USA Today bestselling author Terry Spear, queen of shapeshifter romance.

Real estate mogul werewolf Rafe Denali didn’t get where he is in life by being a pushover. When sexy she-wolf Jade Ashton nearly drowns in the surf outside his beach house, he knows better than to bring her into his home and his heart. But there’s something about her that brings out his strongest instincts…

Rafe has good reason to be suspicious. Jade Ashton and her baby son are pawns in an evil wolf’s fatal plan. How can Jade betray the gorgeous man who rescued her? But if she doesn’t, her baby will die, and her own life hangs in the balance…

To get to the truth, Rafe is going to have to gain Jade’s trust. If he can do that, he just might be her last—and best—hope…

Buy Billionaire in Wolf's Clothing at Amazon

To Have and to Hold
USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the “queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenes” (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true…but their own.

Discovering her fiancĂ© is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancĂ© is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?

Buy To Have and to Hold at Amazon

Baseball isn’t supposed to be a game of life and death…

The summer that Chase Stern entered my life, I was seventeen. The daughter of a legend, the Yankees were my family, their stadium my home, their dugout my workplace. My focus was on the game. Chase... he started out as a distraction. A distraction with sex appeal poured into every inch of his six foot frame. A distraction who played like a god and partied like a devil.

I tried to stay away. I couldn’t.

Then, the team started losing.
Women started dying.
And everything in my world broke apart.

Buy Moonshot at Amazon

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Amazon Studio


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...