Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What to read this month


Fall is always filled with a ton of new releases each month and as the weather cools it is the perfect time to curl up with a new book. Here is what we recommend.

cover The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade
In this first book of the Tales from the Goose Creek B&B, you'll fall in love with a small town that feels like coming home. Its quirky characters and their many shenanigans will make you laugh out loud as they touch a place in your heart.

Even though retirement is still three years away, Al Richardson is counting the days. He anticipates many enjoyable years in which every day feels like Saturday. But Al's wife, Millie, has different plans for their retirement. When she learns that a Victorian-era home is up for sale, Millie launches a full-blown campaign to convince Al that God's plan for them is to turn that house into a B&B.

But a B&B won't be the only change for the small Kentucky town. A new veterinarian has hung up her shingle, but she's only got one patient--the smelly dog belonging to her part-time receptionist. And sides are being taken in the issue of the water tower, which needs a new coat of paint...but no one can agree who should paint it.

The situation is coming to a head. Who could have imagined a town protest over a water tower? And who would believe it could culminate in an illegal parade?

Get lost in a novel that reminds you why you love reading.

Available September 1
Buy The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade at Amazon


cover The Scam
Nicolas Fox is a charming con man and master thief on the run. Kate O’Hare is the FBI agent who is hot on his trail. At least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality, Fox and O’Hare are secretly working together to bring down super-criminals the law can’t touch. Criminals like brutal casino magnate Evan Trace.

Evan Trace is running a money-laundering operation through his casino in Macau. Some of his best customers are mobsters, dictators, and global terrorists. Nick and Kate will have to go deep undercover as high-stakes gamblers, wagering millions of dollars—and their lives—in an attempt to topple Trace’s empire.

It’s a scam that will take Fox and O’Hare from the Las Vegas strip, to the sun-soaked beaches of Oahu’s North Shore, and into the dark back alleys of Macau. Their only backup—a self-absorbed actor, a Somali pirate, and Kate’s father, and an ex-soldier who believes a rocket launcher is the best way to solve every problem. What could possibly go wrong?

Available September 15
Buy The Scam at Amazon


cover Glory Days
The wilderness. Maybe you know it well.

The Israelites sure did. After all, they spent forty years wandering the desert. Victories were scarce. Progress was slow. They were free from Pharaoh but not free from fear. Saved but stuck.

Sounds a lot like midlife misery. Caught in a rut. Stalled out. Running on empty. Are you mired in the same?

You can name the day you became a Christian and escaped Egypt. But you can't remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. You're fighting the same battles you fought the day you came to Christ. You're out of Egypt, but Egypt's not out of you.

Isn't the Christian life supposed to be better than this?

Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The epistles speak of grace. You shoulder guilt. You are more than a conqueror yet are commonly conquered by temptation or weaknesses.

But there's good news. With God's help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.

This is God's vision for your life. You, at full throttle. You, as you were intended. You, as victor over the Jerichos and giants. You, minus the stumbles, hurts, and hate.

You and your Promised Land life.

New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado invites readers to leave the wilderness and discover a life defined by grace, refined by challenge, and aligned with a heavenly call. By studying the life of Joshua and the biblical book that bears his name, Lucado reveals God's promises for every step and reminds readers that God still fights for them.

Available September 15
Buy Glory Days at Amazon


cover Connect the Stars
From Saving Lucas Biggs authors Marisa de los Santos and David Teague comes another heartwarming middle grade adventure about two misfits who discover the importance of just being themselves.

When thirteen-year-olds Aaron and Audrey meet at a wilderness camp in the desert, they think their quirks are enough to prevent them from ever having friends. But as they trek through the challenging and unforgiving landscape, they learn that they each have what it takes to make the other whole.

Luminous and clever, Connect the Stars has Marisa de los Santos and David Teague’s trademark beautiful prose, delicate humor, swooping emotions, and keen middle grade friendships. This novel takes on the hefty topics of the day—bullying, understanding where you fit in, and learning to live with physical and mental challenges—all in a joyous adventure kids will love!

Available September 22
Buy Connect the Stars at Amazon


cover Big Magic
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert. Now, this beloved author digs deep into her own life to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and generosity, she ponders the mysterious nature of inspiration, asking us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear. Whether we are looking to create art, address challenges in our work, give ourselves permission to embark on a dream long deferred, or simply to infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Available September 22
Buy Big Magic at Amazon




cover Mike and the Dog-Gone Labradoodle
Mike Adams has always been a pretty average kid. He hates homework, loves sports, and spends a lot of his day bugging his twin sister Maddie—because, after all, she deserves it.

But one day, everything changes. Nic Chang’s dog goes missing.

Mike, his sister and their two best friends join forces to search for the truth and, with it, the missing pet. Will Mike and Maddie find a way to put their differences aside and save the day? And just where did that dog-gone labradoodle go?

Put your thinking caps on and prepare to find the answers in the premier installment of The Pet Shop Society, a brand new mystery series for readers aged 7-11.

Available September 26
Buy Mike and the Dog-Gone Labradoodle at Amazon


cover Shopping for a CEO
I’m thrilled to be the maid of honor in my friend’s wedding, but the best man, Andrew McCormick, is a chauvinistic pig with a God complex.

And I can’t stop kissing him in closets.

(Don’t ask.)

He’s the brother of the groom and the CEO of my biggest mystery shopping account, but suddenly he’s refusing to be in the wedding. He won’t talk about it. Won’t see reason.

He’s such a man.

And he still won’t stop kissing me in random closets.

(Thank goodness.)

I’m a fixer. That’s what I do. I can fix anything if given the chance. But when the game is fixed there’s only so much I can do.

The ball’s in his court now.

Game on.

* * *
Shopping for a CEO is the 7th book in the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shopping series. When CEO Andrew McCormick and mystery shopper Amanda Harrington find themselves in the unlikely position as maid of honor and best man in the Boston society wedding of the year, an undeniable attraction and dual stubborn streaks add fuel to the fire in this romantic comedy from Julia Kent.

Available September 29
Buy Shopping for a CEO at Amazon


cover Double Down
For the first time the menfolk are stepping out of the pages of #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels’ beloved Sisterhood series and into the spotlight…

After years of standing by their women, the Sisterhood’s significant others have also become loyal friends. And now Jack Emery, Nikki’s husband, has enlisted Ted, Joe, Jay, Bert, Dennis, and Abner to form a top-secret organization known as BOLO Consultants.

Jack has two missions in mind. The first: offering some behind-the-scenes help to Nikki’s law firm as they take on the all-powerful Andover Pharmaceuticals. Andover’s anti-leukemia drug causes terrible side effects in young patients, but a class-action suit seems doomed to fail. BOLO Consultants have a prescription to cure that. Meanwhile, Virginia’s lieutenant governor has a sideline as a slum landlord, and his impoverished tenants are suffering. Tyler Sandford believes his status puts him above the law. But when the Sisterhood and their allies decide to get involved, no one is beyond the reach of true justice…

Available September 29
Buy Double Down at Amazon




Covers and descriptions are from Goodreads.com. Availability dates are based on expected publication date listed at Goodreads and is subject to change. 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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Natives in Exile by Dirk Harman #MondayBlogs

by Elisabeth Scherer


cover Natives in Exile
Every small town has memorable characters.  That is exactly what you get when reading Natives in Exile by Dirk Harman. A collection of short stories starring a variety of characters from a dwindling town off of route 66.

When I first was given the book to review I was intrigued by the idea of the ghost town setting. Being a mom of a 4 year old boy I have watched the movie Cars hundreds of times and the book seemed to me like a human version of Radiator Springs.

I liked a few things about this book. First, I really enjoyed how the author Dirk Harman described the settings. It was very much like an artist painting a picture. I love when an author can write something that makes you feel like you are walking the streets of the world they create.

He also does a great job weaving the characters into the other stories as background characters and supporting characters. It helped me, as the reader, get the sense of the small town community. I felt the small town setting came across as authentic.

The only thing that really bothered me was the last story and it wasn’t the character or the wrap up. It was a few run on sentences that made the story hard to read. I stumbled a few times before finally getting through that particular story.

Lastly, I liked that little piece of America that Dirk Harman shows in this novel. It made me wonder what other gems of stories are out in the middle of no where in our country. I would recommend Natives in Exile for people looking for a touch of small town life that seems almost like a different time and place than the modern world.

Buy Natives in Exile at Amazon


Book info:
available formats: ebook and print (184 pages)
published: August 2015 by iCrew Digital Productions
ISBN13: 978-0692494585
genres: Literary Fiction, Native Americans
source: publisher
read: August 2015



A free book was provided for this review. Cover image from Goodreads.com. 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.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

The White Thread Read Along: Chapters 25-28 @KBHoyle_author

by Donna Huber


cover The White Thread
Today we discuss the last few chapter of The White Thread (The Gateway Chronicles #3) by K. B. Hoyle.  This second reading of The White Thread has endeared this book to me more than it did the first time through. I've always thought that The Enchanted was my favorite book of the series, but now I'm thinking maybe this book is. Which is totally funny because in my review, I said I wasn't totally crazy about this book.

So while Darcy was recovering, Dean and Baynard scouted for the Oracle's lair. Of course, just enough is shared with Darcy so that she thinks she can find it on her own. Is it a good idea that she goes off on her own? Isn't that what she did in the first book? At least she left a note this time. And I guess Rubidius kind of endorsed it seeing as he left her note and packed her a bag!

I found this kind of find this funny,
Darcy wondered if she should knock but then felt foolish for the thought. If this Magus fellow had walled in his doorway, he obviously didn't want any visitors. Still, it seemed uncivilized not to announce her presence.
What did you think of the magus Darcy encountered? And I guess I wasn't so off from the Wizard of Oz reference in the last book.

I have to say, Darcy did well for herself. She kept her head and stated her case. And when the floor literally falls out from under her, she's ready with a plan. I guess Hoyle had to keep the Oracle a little evil, but really unleashing a beast on her. I guess in his own way he is helping her after all time is passing quickly above ground.

Her discovery of Yahto Veli is both happy and sad. I think I was waiting the whole book for him to take his oath. It's so sweet. She has no clue that it is something reserved only for royals, though she does get that it is something super special. I also find something sweet in Tellius telling her she needs to say yes to finish the enchantment. Though he is shocked because he knows the implications, but it seems he also know Darcy doesn't know what to do - he comes to her rescue.

Then we get the cute talk between Darcy and Tellius and her kissing Perry. Just a teenage conversation. I wonder how many times Hoyle has heard similar conversations while teaching.

As we head into the last chapter it seems like everything is wrapped up and it is just the turn home voyage. And as it is the last chapter, we can assume it will be smooth sailing. Hoyle hasn't left us with a cliffhanger before and there is no reason to suspect she will do so now.


Usually the heart-to-hearts between Darcy and Yahto Veli and typically with Veli, so I thought it was nice touch for to have one here with Yahto. I do believe this is when I really fell in love with Yahto.

I guess with all the references to the six being pulled through the gateway no matter where they were on the day they were to return we shouldn't have been surprised that we were going to be left with a cliffhanger. What did you think of this?

Usually I think authors who end on a cliffhanger are evil, Hoyle softens the blow with the gang returning to normal life at camp and even with an epilogue that solves the mystery of the missing Colin (well not totally). So we are only left with the same uncertainity that the six feel.

And that's that. As this was a summer read along and well I don't think anyone else is really reading along with me, I think I will stop here. Actually I did finish reading the last three books - I blazed right through them! (If you want me to continue chapter by chapter discussion with the next three books, leave a comment. If there is enough interest I will continue).

I do hope that you did enjoy this detailed reading of the first three books in The Gateway Chronicles. If you haven't read them, you could win them long with the first book in Hoyle's new dystopian series. Be sure to enter below.




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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.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

"a complex and captivating novel" ~ Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani



When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay.

Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father—the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence—remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.


Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.


I loved this intricate story... ~ Shirley Kurnick



Well written and full of surprising experiences ~ Arlene Fleishman



Beautiful story ~ Elizabeth Curry







Buy Trail of Broken Wings at Amazon


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.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Seed by Lisa Heathfield

by Donna Huber


cover Seed


We watch the car from the window, Kate, Ruby, and I. From here it looks so small, like a ladybug crawling closer. Slowly, it creeps up our long driveway. We never have visitors and Ruby has gone silent, standing on the chair beside me. Kate's hands go still in the sink as we hear the rumble of the car's engine. It comes to a stop outside the main door of our house. page 56








The Review

I've had Lisa Heathfield's debut novel Seed in my to read for a few months and I couldn't wait to get to it. It's simple language and well developed characters had me reading it straight through in about 5 hours.

Pearl has only know life at Seed. There is only happiness at Seed, everything they need is provided at Seed. For the first time in Pearl's life there are newcomers to the family, people from Outside, What seeds will the grow?

The story opens as the naive protagonist Pearl becomes a woman.
Here, crouched beside the toilet, I'm terrified I'm dying. My stomach must be bleeding, or my liver, or my kidneys. Something inside me has somehow got cut. Spots of blood smear my underwear. I wipe myself with toilet paper and there's more blood. Am I being punished for something I have said or done?

We discover right along with her the only place she has ever known and it isn't all she thought it once was. Heathfield draws you slowly into the world of Seed, pulling back the layers with each new character and understated language.

As far as cults go Seed is pretty mild. I was kind of shocked that there wasn't some kind of indoctrination for the newcomers. In hindsight, I'm sure Papa S. wishes he had. If you are worried about your young adult reading dark fiction, you don't need to be with Seed.

The story is cast in shadows, but is not focused on the dark world of cults. Instead it is more of an emotional coming of age story. When I turned the last page all I could think was "intense".

It wasn't intense so much from external factors, but the internal battle that we witness within Pearl.

I thought there were some thin spots in the plot and that it followed a predictable pattern. It could have even been considered bland. But the characters more than made up for the story's shortcomings.

It was this human interest viewpoint of life in a cult that was so intriguing. My only complaint about character development was that they were not distinctly British. Outside of the use of "rubbish" and mention of Southampton, I didn't know the story was not set in the U.S. (and it wasn't until the word rubbish appeared that I started to question it as Southampton could be a town in New England for all I know). Perhaps it was done intentionally to be more accessible to American teens. But even as a teen I wanted the characters to fit the setting.

I'm glad that I read the note for the editor on the first page so that I knew that Seed is part of a two book series. The book doesn't end on a cliffhanger, but I definitely want to know what happens next to Pearl, Kate and Jack. It is actually the "after" that I usually find much more interesting in stories like this.

If you enjoy realistic drama that isn't too dark, then I recommend Seed by Lisa Heathfield.

Buy Seed at Amazon


Book info:
available formats: ebook, audio, and print (336 pages)
published: March 2015 by Running Press Kids
ISBN13:  9780762456345
genres: realistic drama, coming of age
target audience: young adult
source: publisher
read: August 2015



A free book 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.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blogging in the classroom

by Donna Huber


Are you a teacher looking for a fun way for your kids to develop their reading comprehension and writing skills? A classroom book blog can be the answer.

When I was growing up I always wanted to write for the school newspaper. There is something exciting about having your words read and acknowledge by others. Due to budget cuts and rising costs of printing, many schools no longer have a newspaper. Now with electronic media being so popular, a school or classroom blog can be an ideal way to bring back that excitement.

For elementary students, blogging can be a way to share with parents what the kids are reading. You may also consider doing a video blog. Those "kids say the darnest things" videos always go viral. And I know when I was a kid I always wanted to be one of the kids at the end of Reading Rainbow that tells what they are reading.

If writing blog posts, you may want to combine what a few of the kids think about the book into one post.

For older readers - middle school and high school students, they can take on increasing responsibility for the blog. From deciding what to post, to editing the contributions, to working on graphics. They can also work with publishers and authors conducting interviews. Publishers and authors love to hear what their target audience thinks about book and I'm sure they would be happy to answer the kids questions.

photo credit: teaching with emotion: a halloween story
via 
photopin (license)
For kids of all ages, getting to speak with the author is a real treat and many authors are happy to Skype with a class if they can't be there in person. Having a blog may be the incitement some publishers need to assist you in making contact with the author.

Having a classroom or school blog can also earn you free books as publishers and authors will want to have their book featured.

The blog doesn't have to be solely about books, but can just be a feature. Much like in the newspapers.

Using affiliate links in your book posts may also be a way to earn some cash as well.

Even if the only people who see the book posts are other kids and teachers in the school, it can still be fun for the kids.

If you don't already have a school/classroom blog, you need to check your school;s policies and may need to seek parental permission.

Having students write for a school or classroom blog will also give you an opportunity to talk with them about internet safety, copyright, and plagiarism. The later were foreign concepts to my nephew. He claims his teacher told him he could using any image he found through a Google image search without attribution.

While most of what you will blog about falls under Fair Use, your students will still need to attribute images to the proper person. It is no different that using a quote from a book.

A variety of educational topics can be taught under the disguise of running a blog. If you are looking for a creative and fun way to incorporate these topics into your curriculum I highly recommend starting a classroom or school blog.



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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

After Game of Thrones: My televisual fantasies

by Ross M. Kitson



One of the great things about Game of Thrones and its success is the boom in popularity of the fantasy genre, which for long- time fans such as myself can only be a welcome thing. HBO took a big gamble when they started the series in 2011. Traditionally fantasy had been a niche market, and the commitment to the series (which is still as yet incomplete) would be a long haul. Yet it paid off, making it HBOs most successful series, turning its less known actors into stars (especially Emelia Clarke, Kit Harrington and Peter Dinklage) and being the show that everyone talks about.

Yet the series is a finite thing. George RR Martin is already being overtaken by the show, having two books to finish in the series, but with the new season already being filmed. Assuming HBO bring it to a finale, and don’t milk it for a few more years, there will be a very significant void when the story concludes in a steam bath of dragon fire versus icy white walkers. And, as a fantasy lover, I’ve pondered as to what will potentially fill that void. So here we have five ideas for the post-Game of Thrones world…

cover The Complete Malazan Book of the Fallen
source: Goodreads.com
1. Steven Erikson’s Malazan Empire

Having the advantage of being recently completed, this complex ten book series certainly ticks the mature and epic boxes. It has an avalanche of characters, many occupying the gritty middle ground between good and evil, and intricate storylines that don’t insult the readers intelligence. Although the first book was originally developed as a film script, the books would be definitely better as a series. Compared to Game of Thrones it definitely has a more epic fantasy bent, with non-human races, undead warriors, and the best magic system in fantasy (in my opinion).


Buy The Complete Malazan Book of the Fallen at Amazon






source: http://www.isfdb.org/
2. Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

I know this one has been on and off the cards for years for a film version. The original trilogy was a best seller and tells the story of unlikeable leper, Thomas Covenant, and his trips to the Land. His visits, felt initially to complex dreams/hallucinations, are displaced in time—namely time moves at different rates between Earth and the Land. This would create some interesting casting challenges—but the attraction of complex and often unlikeable main characters in the series may be too much to resist. And one of the more iconic bad guys of recent fantasy literature too.

Buy Lord Foul's Bane at Amazon






cover The Gentleman Bastard series
source: Goodreads.com
3. Scott Lynch's The Gentleman Bastard series

Only three books in, but this series has really caught the imagination of fantasy readers. Its style is almost Martin Scorsese does epic fantasy—it’s a tale of gangs, thieves and con men, with suitably colourful language and characters. The lead characters Locke and Jean are charismatic rogues, and the action brutal and gory. Lynch palns for seven books in the series so there’d be plenty to go at, although I suspect to make a series they’d need to buff out minor plotlines to make a larger cast of protagonists.


Buy The Gentleman Bastard series at Amazon





cover The Eye of the World
source: Goodreads.com


4. Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time

The epic fifteen book series, which has been on my to-read list for… well… forever, is an obvious successor to Game of Thrones. It’s complete—although it took Sanderson to finish it after Jordan’s sad demise—and has a vast wealth of material and characters to draw upon. Its tone isn’t as ‘adult’ as Game of Thrones or Malazan, although as I understand there is a fair bit of violence and death, and some (no-explicit) sexual content.

A pilot was broadcast earlier this year in rather bizarre circumstances (apparently Jordan’s widow didn’t even know about it), and so it’s possible that may be optioned/ re-done or that Universal may go on to do something with it (they have been involved with proposals of developing it before).

Buy The Eye of the World at Amazon




cover Queen of Sorcery
source: Goodreqds.com
5. David Eddings’ Belgariad

It was a tricky call for number five. It was between Belgariad, Moorcock’s Elric, and Abercrombie’s The First Law. Although the lightest of the three choices, I could see it working in a lot of ways. It’s a fairly linear plot, with a strong basis in traditional heroic fantasy, with an excellent set of characters and a nice coming of age style. The dialogue is one of the best in fantasy books I’ve read, with a great line in banter, and the iconic villain –Torak. For a series it may need some degree of maturation and modernisation (as did LotR) and buffing of sub-plots so as to avoid following Garion around like a puppy for five books.


Buy Queen of Sorcery at Amazon






So, do you agree with my choices? Am I biaised by the fantasy books that I have come to love rather than thinking commercially or artistically. Who would you throw into the list? Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss? And if we expand it out to the borders between SF and Fantasy? I’d love to see the Amber chronicles by Zelazney done properly. One things for certain, with CGI and bigger and bigger budgets, this is a great time to be a fantasy fan.



Title screenshot from Game of Thrones is used under the Fair Use clause, copyright owner is Home Box Office Inc./BCKORS, LLC./GROK!, LLC./Generator Entertainment/Suction Productions, Inc.


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.

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