Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Release: Feels Like Rain by Janae Mitchell

Buy Feels Like Rain at Amazon

What if the feelings you felt were never your own?

Jet is different. Able to feel the emotions of those around him, he chooses to spend his days in solitude, pushing out the feelings that attempt to consume him. With numbness his only relief, he’s surprised when he finds himself letting someone in, actually wanting—craving—to feel what she feels.
Even though he was warned to stay away from Kalista LaFontain, Jet didn’t listen, not caring what family she came from, knowing she wasn’t like them. Somehow, she was able to make the emotions that assaulted him on a daily basis more bearable, a pleasant contrast to his usual numbness. He didn’t care how powerful or hated her family was; he’d risk it.

Little did he know, that risk would change his life forever.


After writing the FOR ALWAYS series, there was one more character (who is introduced at the very, very end of the last book) who kept yelling at Janae to tell his story, which led her to write "Feels Like Rain". Even though this novel is a stand-alone and can be read independently from the FOR ALWAYS series, Janae recommends you read the FOR ALWAYS series first, if you plan on reading it at all, due to possible spoilers you might encounter by reading FLR first. 
Book one in the FOR ALWAYS series can be downloaded HERE
(Currently free in the US)
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Janae Mitchell is the author of "Feels Like Rain", as well as "For Always", "For Now", and "For Eternity". She's also written a couple of spooky novellas titled "Haunted" and "Unleashed".
She's a native of East TN, which reflects in her writing, and loves to chat with readers. You can connect with her on her website or here:


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Friday, March 27, 2015

Review: Shadows Have Gone by @LissaBryan

by Donna Huber


Shadows Have Gone
"He claimed to be from the US Army?"
"Claimed," Justin said, stressing the word hard. "And his claim had a few inconsistencies. I was in the Army, and I know. Whatever this guy is a part of, it's not the army as we knew it."
"What did he want?"
"Said he was out scouting and saw the smoke. He agreed to leave a message outside of Clayton if his people want to get in contact with us again. And I would they will."
"Last thing we need is another fight," Grady said. He took off his hat and wiped the sweat from his forehead. "You think they know where we are?"
"General area. We wouldn't be that hard to find if someone was really searching for us. If they're really army, then yes, they know exactly where we are as we speak. But as I said , I have my doubts."
"Think it will come to a fight?" Pete asked.
Justin scratched his chin. "I really can't say. What I can say is that we always need to be prepared for it, prepared to defend what is ours."
"What if they really are the army? Would we be America again?"
"Wait. When did we stop being America?"
"America is dead." This came from David, his voice as blunt as a dropped stone. "We all saw it die two years ago. I don't know what we are now, but the Constitution sure ain't in effect anymore. There's no social contract holding us together. That's what America was, you know - a collective agreement of the people. Now we're just - " He sliced a hand through the air. (page 56, uncorrected proof)

The Review

I know the above excerpt is a bit long, but I think it gives you a good introduction to the third book in the The End of All Things series (read my review of book 1). Shadows Have Gone by Lissa Bryan picks up right where The Land of Shadow (read my review) ended. In truth the series reads like a serial in that there isn't any lapse in time between the books. But each book is their own story, more or less.

While I wasn't as thrilled with The Land of Shadow, I was back to loving the series with Shadows Have Gone. This book had a defined plot and knew where it was going. Also, we finally stopped being told that Carly had caramel colored hair every time Justin pushed it behind her (it was really starting to bug me in The Land of Shadow). I wish Bryan had not continued to rely on dreams to retell parts of the story. Some of it is because I read the three books back to back and the story was fresh in my mind, but part of me felt like it was a forced way of providing background. Surely there was a more subtle, natural means of conveying the information or perhaps as much backstory wasn't necessary.

Even though it has been two years, and the small community Carly and Justin are leading have tried to face reality, you can see from the excerpt that there is still a small part of them that hopes life will go back to how it was before. For some it may be more than a small part. They community is struggling to feed itself with the primitive methods they are able to discover in books and memories.

Overall, I really enjoyed the series and thought that it brought up a lot of questions about the basic nature of humans, how our sense of right and wrong can be skewed. While I'm not as emotionally attached to the characters as I would have thought I would be after reading three books in a genre that typically endears me to the characters, I would like to revisit this world Bryan has created. I'm not sure if there are plans for more, but I think revisiting this little community two to five years into the future would be interesting.


Buy Shadows Have Gone at Amazon


Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (273 pages)
published: March 2015 by TWCS Publishing House
ISBN13: 9781612133744
genres: romance, post-apocalyptic
audience: adult
source: Netgalley
read: March 2015


Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. A free egalley was provided for this review.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Points to consider when writing a review

by Donna Huber

Even though I have been reviewing books for more than 4 years, I'm always thinking of ways to improve my reviews. Since I have added reviewers to Girl Who Reads, I also offer advise on how they can add variety to their reviews. Here are a few things I have been considering when writing reviews.

Genre and themes

I have been trying to be more observant about a book's themes and how they are affected by the genre. Is it a theme unique to the genre? Does the author follow the genre's conventions or have their own interpretation? Sometimes there are certain aspects of a genre that I don't like and can effect how I feel about a book. Mashups and genre bending has become common in indie publishing and I have seen it bleed over into traditional publishing. It is important to note its impact on the book and your feelings about it.

Characters and plots

I sometimes get wrapped up in just telling what the book is about and not really saying how I felt about certain plot threads or characters. I think my stronger reviews share more about what I liked or didn't like about the characters and plot. Part of the problem is I get behind in writing reviews and several weeks have passed since I read a book. If I didn't take notes (and I don't usually) I don't always remember specifics about the characters and plot. Perhaps that should say something about the book - it was entertaining but forgettable?


Writing style and other mechanics

Did the choice of narrator or point of view work for the story? Sometimes a book would be better as a stand alone instead of a series. Other times, I have been disappointed by a book that is more a serial than a complete story within itself. There are also times where dialect or other regional aspects that distract (or enhance) from the story. All of these things play a part in whether a book is a great book or just another in a long line of good books.

What do you think about when you write a review?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

BOOK vs MOVIE by @KathleenMBarker

English: Movie tapes in a abandoned theatre
English: Movie tapes in a abandoned theatre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When a new movie that is based upon a book hits the big screen, do you watch the movie or read the book first?

Of course, if you are reading this post on a blog titled "Girl Who Reads", then you'd likely to choose the book. Yet the chicken-or-egg process of a good story should evoke a moment's hesitation. My own answer? It depends.

Unlike many of my bookaholic friends, I do not keep an eagle eye on the New York Times bestseller list. My never-ending to-read list comes from a select group of guinea pig acquaintances who have given a book a big thumbs up.

Don't get me wrong. I love a good movie too, but it's rare to find one that captures the images that my mind has conjured from the book that it is based on. Usually films have difficulty compressing the story satisfactorily into the 90-120 minute attention span of the average movie audience.

Recently, I had two completely different book vs. movie experiences. The first evolved from a former classmate and Facebook friend who raved about a book that involved a historical romance AND time travel. Normally I hate time travel tales, but she carried on so that I bought the book just to shut her up. How good could it be if it had been written over 22 years ago and I'd never heard of it? I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Photo credit: STARZ
As I became more entangled in the story of Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall, I dreaded reaching the end of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. Yet I need not have worried...there are 8 books in the series that range from 848 to 1488 pages each. I plowed through them all at a record pace. Much to my delight, I discovered that a television series began last fall on the STARZ channel. I quickly added it to see how disappointed I would be at the small screen version of such a tale. I have watched these first eight shows several times in anticipation of the next new installments that start April 4th. Reading these books has enriched my appreciation for the televised series, which is done very well, indeed. In fact, I plan to read all 8 of the books again, more slowly, to appreciate what I devoured quickly in the first go-round.
Photo credit: IMDb

This scenario is not always the case.

Not too long ago, I watched the movie Gone Girl.  It was so entertaining and smartly made, that I felt sure the book by Gillian Flynn would be terrific. SO wrong (cue the Debbie Downer music here). After nearly 100 pages - and hating every paragraph - I'm not sure I'll finish it. All I can do is wonder how the book was ever a bestseller. Clearly, I am in the minority here as there are over 37,000 reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars.

A great book won't always be a great movie, and a mediocre book can be a very good movie. Where do you stand: book or movie first?








Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review: Shadow Ritual by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne

by Donna Huber



Shadow Ritual


2005
Rome
The speaker, a Generation Xer with jet-black hair, stood in front of a large stylized sun painting. he took in the Alessandro di Cagliostro Freemason Lodge in Rome. The room was silent.














The Review

Shadow Ritual was an interesting mesh of WWII conspiracy and modern day crime drama. I felt it was more a historical novel than "an electrifying thriller." It was entertaining but don't expect it to be a heart racing read,

This is the second French novel I have read that brings WWII into the modern day. While I have read a number of books set during WWII, few have dealt with the history of it in modern day. And when they do it is usually as the story of a survivor. I wonder if it is a European thing to focus on the conspiracies that are all but glossed over in American novels.

Shadow Ritual focuses on the Nazi's (or Hitler's) obsession with the perfect Aryan race and the fraternal organization of Freemasons. I know little to nothing about Freemasons. I can't recall an American novel that has included them in the plot. So this plot thread was rather foreign to me. There is also some references to the Knights Templar which I have a little more knowledge of.

The story is actually quite complex and I'm not sure if all the threads and characters are fleshed out enough. That may be why I didn't find it to be as exciting as a thriller should be. Also it also frayed too close to crime fiction for me. The lead characters are professional investigators - Marcus, the Freemason, is a police detective and Jade is former military now working in diplomatic security. I liked these two characters and there interactions were great. The fringe group players were less defined and hard to figure out what everyone's relationship was. I found myself getting characters mixed up on occasion.

If you enjoy historical novels and a bit of modern day mystery, then Shadow Ritual should be put on your reading list.

Buy Shadow Ritual at Amazon


Book info:
available formats: ebook and print  (270 pages)
published: March 2015 by Le French Book
ISBN13: 9781939474308
genres: international crime, history
source: Netgalley
read: February 2015



Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link.




Monday, March 23, 2015

Nina Mason's Double Cover Reveal

The Duke's Bedeviled Bride
The tawdry tale of the Duke and Duchess of Dunwoody continues…

Maggie Armstrong, the long-lost illegitimate daughter of the heir presumptive to the throne, is bedeviled by her husband's limited definition of fidelity. After observing him in a ménage à trois at the court of King Charles II, she is determined to bring him around to her way of thinking—
by any means necessary.

Robert doesn’t mind being punished for his transgressions. Rather, he enjoys being whipped, especially by his beloved bride. Unfortunately, her heart might not belong to him alone. His younger brother, who he’d sent abroad to clear the way for himself, is coming home sooner than expected, and Maggie’s feelings for Hugh may not be as dead as her husband had hoped.

Both duke and duchess soon learn, to their peril, Hugh Armstrong is not the honorable man they’d been led to believe. Insanely jealous of his brother’s situation, Hugh will stop at nothing to strip Robert of all he holds dear—including his life.

But the real danger for Robert and Maggie is not the villainous Marquess, but the growing friction betwixt Catholics and Protestants in Restoration Era Great Britain.

Can their love survive the trials that await them?

Preorder The Duke's Bedeviled Bride at Amazon
(available May 9, 2015)


Starry Knight
Can these star-crossed lovers bridge two worlds?

British aristocrat Vanessa Bentley has beauty, fame, and fortune, but she gets no respect for her decision to become a paranormal investigator. Determined to prove the naysayers wrong, Vanessa ventures to the misty moors of Caithness, Scotland. There stands the immense Castle Barrogill, where a vampire is rumored to be stalking the dungeons—a vampire Vanessa is determined to find. She’ll just have to get past the resident shape-shifter…

Callum Lyon is the gorgeous reclusive astrologer and faery knight who guards the castle. For free-spirited Vanessa, seducing him proves to be easy. After all, he was once a breeding drone to a Queen. But astrologically, their differences are harder to overcome. Will Vanessa’s mission—and Callum’s secrets—be more than their burgeoning love can take? Or will flesh—and blood—win over the ghosts that haunt them both?

Preorder Starry Knight at Amazon
(Available August 4, 2015)



Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above links.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Review: The Land of Shadow by Lissa Bryan

by Donna Huber


The Land of Shadow
Justin put an arm around his wife's shoulders. "I told you she would by a perfect addition to our community."
Truthfully, he's never said anything of the type, but she'd known he was thinking it. Carly pushed her chair back. "Pearl, if you're going to stay - at least for a while until you see if it's what you're looking for - I'll take you to a house you can use."
Pearl opened her mouth to say something and Carly held up a hand. "Just for tonight. You don't have to decide right now if you're going to stay or not."
Pearl hesitated just a moment but nodded.
They stepped through the screen door out into the warm, humid night. Sam followed, his nails clicking on the sidewalk. His ears were erect, swiveling as he scanned the darkness for threats. Carly patted him to try to reassure him, but Sam was as paranoid as Justin these days.
"Let me ask you something," Pearl said. "Why do you want me to stay? I'm sure you don't have a shortage of people asking to come in."
Carly fell into an easy pave beside her. "We need good people. We don't need dependents. We need the dependable. We're trying to choose stones."
"To build a foundation." Carly looked up at the stars, peeping between the gathering cloud cover. "We want this community to last, so we need to choose good people to be the basis of it." page 56


The Review

If you haven't read book 1 The End of All Things (read my review) then I suggest proceeding with caution as this review will be a bit spoilerish.

The Land of Shadow picks up right where The End of All Things ended. As you can tell from the above excerpt from page 56, Carly and Justin are trying to establish a community. A community that they had practically wiped out by being carries of the Infection. But Carly dreams of re-establishing America, only making it better this time around. Justin is so smitten with Carly that he will do everything in his power to make her dream come true, though he doesn't believe that things can ever go back to the way they were.

If you read my review on Tuesday, you know how much I loved The End of All Things. I still loved Bryan's writing and storytelling, but I did not find this book as satisfying. It felt like it meandered a bit too much, like Bryan wasn't exactly sure what the plot was for this book. Perhaps it is because it was written to be a stand alone novel. But I think the story could have been tighter had she either focused on the community being built and the internal conflict that is inherit to birthing a community. Or focused on the the external factors that are threatening their community. I would have preferred the former.

Even with the "where is this book going" feeling, I still enjoyed it because I really liked the characters. Unlike the first book where it was mostly just Carly and Justin with the occasional encounters with individuals or small groups, The Land of Shadow has a number of characters living in a small fortified community. And I enjoyed the varied personalities and fully formed characters.

I did feel that parts of the story was missing. Such as how did they find the preacher and his wife? We learned in The End of All Things that they had found the fortified community before Carly and Justin arrived and had been turned away.

As a book as part of a series, it is well worth the read. It is also a quick read. I'm not sure if I would have picked it up had I already not been acquainted with Carly and Justin I would have picked up The Land of Shadow. As there is still a bit of a wait until the next book comes out then I recommend picking it up along with The End of All Things so that you will be ready for the release of Shadows Have Gone next week.

Buy The Land of Shadow at Amazon



Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (216 pages)
published: August 2014 by The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House
ISBN13: 9781612132648
genres: romance, post-apocalyptic
target audience: adult
source: Netgalley
read: March 2015 

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the above link. A free ebook was provided for this review.






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