Readers' Favorite


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).

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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 fiancé 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 fiancé 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

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#BigBookGiveaway - Christmas O'Clock: An Anthology

The Big Book Giveaway is kind of like Christmas in July so it is only fitting that we included an anthology of holiday stories.

Christmas O'Clock includes 9 stories, two of which are complete chapter books. Inside these pages who will find stories of magic, space travel and Rudolph.

Alison DeLuca, author of The Night Watchman Express, and Connie J. Jasperson of Life in the Realm of Fantasy both have stories included in the anthology.

Read a sample of one of the stories:

Be sure to enter the giveaway:

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5 Memoirs to Read this Summer

by Susan Roberts

Today's reviews are all memoirs - a historical account written from personal knowledge of special sources.  Two of the books are from my home state of Michigan and one is from a beloved NC author.  Could you write a book about your memories of a certain time in your life?

cover of Everything and a Happy Ending
Everything and a Happy Ending by Tia Shurina

I don't read a lot of non fiction but agreed to read this book and am glad that I did. Tia Shurina has written a book that expresses her deepest thoughts and feeling as she works to get through a very difficult year in her life. A breast cancer scare and the death of her father are only two of the things that made her year difficult. To get through the year, she wrote this book -- the book is sometimes hard to follow and much of it is written in stream of consciousness. She repeats various thoughts and it gets bogged down in parts. But one thing that is apparent throughout the book is Tia's truth and honesty as she deals with everything that life can throw at her. I learned a lot and am glad that I read this book.

Buy Everything and a Happy Ending at Amazon
(A free book was provided by the author for this review)

cover of Detroit Hustle
Detroit Hustle by Amy Haimerl

As someone who grew up in the Detroit area, I am always excited to read books about the revival going on in this once magnificent city. This book by Amy Haimerl gave me a more personal view of the changes in the city and I'm glad that there are people like Amy and her husband Karl who want to do their small part to help Detroit come alive again.

Amy and Karl lived in NY and were looking for somewhere to live where they could afford to buy a house for cheap and re-hab it. They cashed in their savings and bought an abandoned house in Detroit for $35,000. "The house...has no plumbing. No electricity. No heat...There is essentially nothing left inside the walls. Every pipe, every radiator, every wire is stripped. Every door is missing...What we have is a pile of bricks with character." So begins their journey in Detroit. As they meet their neighbors and work on their house, they learn how to make Detroit their home.

I'd like to think that more people like Amy and Karl can save Detroit and maybe they neighborhood at a time.

Buy Detroit Hustle at Amazon
(A free book was provided by Goodreads for this review)

cover of Dimestore
Dimestore: A Writer's Life by Lee Smith

I have read all of Lee Smith's books. She is one of the few authors that I will buy their books without even reading a review. Because of that, I have always wanted to meet her and talk to her about her writing. This book has made me feel like I sat down on a vine covered summer porch in a rocking chair and had a long chat with her.

Dimestore is a book of essays on her writing, her memories of growing up in Virginia, and the struggles and successes of her life. This was a rare glimpse into the life of a fantastic author.

If you love Lee Smith, you will love this book. If you haven't read Lee Smith, read this book and it will make you want to read her novels. Trust's a WIN WIN situation.

Buy Dimestore at Amazon
(I won a copy of this book from LibraryThing)

cover of The Michigan Murders
The Michigan Murders by Edward Keys

I was a college student in Detroit in the late 60s when John Norman Collins committed several gruesome murders of college co-eds in the Ann Arbor area near Detroit. He was found guilty in 1970 and is still incarcerated in prison in Michigan. I remember very well that the female college were very careful and very scared during the time period that he was killing women. When I saw this book was available, I decided to read it again to remember that era.

It was interesting to read how the police solved the murders in the day before DNA evidence and to be reminded of life in the 60s.

Buy The Michigan Murders at Amazon
(A free galley was provided by NetGalley for this review)

 cover of The Bridge Ladies

The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner

The Bridge Ladies is a memoir about a group of ladies who got together every Monday afternoon for 50 years to play bridge. On the surface, it's a book about the game of bridge but in reality it's so much more.

'I disrespected her for only caring about how things looked. I never understood how much there was to hide.' 
This is one of Betsy's comments about her mom very early in the book. They had a complicated mother daughter relationship.

Betsy grew up in the age of women's liberation wanting to pursue a career before marriage. Her mom grew up in the age when getting married and staying married was the goal of every woman. Betsy spent a lot of money in therapy to better understand her mother but it was only by joining her mom's bridge group and learning more about her mom as a person and not as her mother, that she was able to understand how much of her mother's life she knew so little about and that it was these hidden parts that defined the person her mother was.

Even though the central part of this story is about Betsy and her mother, there are also the other four women in the bridge group that Betsy interviews and that we get to know. Through her understanding of the women as individuals and as a group, we get a glimpse into a generation where secrets aren't shared with the world and opinions are kept quiet. It's a wonderful look at the generation that my Mom is part of and reading it gave me some insight into her life.

Thanks, Betsy, for sharing this book with your readers. I think it will be a great book for mothers and daughters to read together and discuss.

Listen to an excerpt from the audio book:

Buy The Bridge Ladies 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. 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.

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: All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

by Donna Huber

cover of All the Missing Girls
Megan Miranda is a new to me author. She has written a few young adult novels, but All the Missing Girls is her first book written for adults. I was drawn to this title as it reminded me of Chevy Stevens.

All the Missing Girls was as thrilling and consuming as any Stevens' novel, but Miranda has her own unique writing style. I didn't think it was as dark as some of Stevens' books, but it is no less engaging.

Actually, the storytelling style of All the Missing Girls was a unique one for me. We are all probably familar with the technique of presenting the "current" situation and then going back to the beginning, you know something like "3 days before". I'm an NCIS fan and that show often uses this technique. However. Miranda turns this technique around and actually tells the whole story backwards.

We have the main character Nicolette driving to North Carolina to help put her father's house on the market, but then we are transported two weeks to "Day 15". One the day Nicolette arrives in town a girl goes missing. Ten years before, one of Nicolette's best friends disappeared. The mystery of both disappearances is unraveled step by step as we move one day closer to "Day 1" with each chapter.

It took a bit of getting used to this storytelling technique. I had to keep reminding myself why people were introducing themselves for the first time when there was interaction with them in the chapter before. It really didn't suit my random few minutes reading here and there type of schedule. It was much better when I could read large chunks of it at a time.

If you like to try to solve the mystery before the story is over, I think the reverse storytelling will keep you a bit off kilter. It was difficult to put all the pieces together while keeping the time line straight. I knew Nicolette knew more about Corrine's disappearance from 10 years ago, but there were so many secrets that it made the web of deceit tough to fully decipher what happened until it was revealed in the end.

The ending left me uneasy. I'm not sure how I thought it would end, or even how I wanted it to end. After the truth was revealed to the us readers, I wondered if the truth would fully be discovered by the characters. In the end, I had a knot in my stomach, which I wonder if that wasn't Miranda's goal.

Listen to an excerpt from the audio book:

All the Missing Girls is a book that takes focus, and it will be one you won't want to put down. I read it as part of my 'sleep & read' staycation and it made a great read.

Buy All the Missing Girls 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 (384 pages)
published: June 2016 by Simon & Schuster
ISBN13: 9781501107962
genres: thriller, mystery
source: Netgalley

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: A free galley was provided by Netgalley 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 - How to Write Like Tolstoy by Richard Cohen #MondayBlogs

cover of How to Write Like Tolstoy
There are only a couple of weeks left to enter the Big Book Giveaway event. While this event has been billed as a paperback giveaway, there is actually one hard cover book: How to Write Like Tolstoy by Richard Cohen.

Richard Cohen is the former publishing director of Hutchinson and Hodder & Stoughton and the founder of Richard Cohen Books. Works that he has edited have gone on to win the Pulitzer, Booker, and Whitbread/Costa prizes, and more than twenty have been #1 bestsellers. The author of By the Sword, an award-winning history of swordplay, and Chasing the Sun, a wide-ranging narrative account of the star that gives us life, he was for two years program director of the Cheltenham Festival of Literature and for seven years a visiting professor in creative writing at the University of Kingston-upon-Thames. He has written for The New York Times and most leading London newspapers, and is currently at work on a history of historians. He lives in New York City.

From Goodreads:
For anyone who has ever identified with a hero or heroine, been seduced by a strong opening sentence, or been powerfully moved by a story’s end, How to Write Like Tolstoy is a thought-provoking journey inside the minds of the world’s most accomplished storytellers, from Shakespeare to Stephen King.

“Great writers can be inhibiting, and maybe after one has read a Scott Fitzgerald or Henry James one can’t escape imitat­ing them; but more often such writers are inspiring.”—Richard Cohen

Behind every acclaimed work of literature is a trove of heartfelt decisions. The best authors put painstaking—sometimes obsessive—effort into each element of their stories, from plot and character development to dialogue and point of view.

What made Nabokov choose the name Lolita? Why did Fitzgerald use first-person narration in The Great Gatsby? How did Kerouac, who raged against revision, finally come to revise On the Road? Veteran editor and teacher Richard Cohen draws on his vast reservoir of a lifetime’s reading and his insight into what makes good prose soar. Here are Gabriel García Márquez’s thoughts on how to start a novel (“In the first paragraph you solve most of the problems with your book”); Virginia Woolf offering her definition of style (“It is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can’t use the wrong words”); and Vladimir Nabokov on the nature of fiction (“All great novels are great fairy tales”).

Cohen has researched the published works and private utterances of our greatest authors to discover the elements that made their prose memorable. The result is a unique exploration of the act and art of writing that enriches our experience of reading both the classics and the best modern fiction. Evoking the marvelous, the famous, and the irreverent, he reveals the challenges that even the greatest writers faced—and shows us how they surmounted them.

What others are saying:

tons of fun, a lighthearted look at the great literature of the Western world. Highly recommended. ~ Tiffany Reisz

An elegant, insightful primer for writers, as well as an instruction manual for readers ... ~ Andrea Engle

 utterly delightful - packed with erudition, wit and anecdote ~ Emily Mccully

Start reading:

Enter the giveaway:

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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.


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