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September 14, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 9/14

...a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller... ~ Meghan

This is an exciting roller coaster ride of an adventure! ~ Lynn Worton


After saving a drowning man during a savage storm, Abby wakes up in a tropical paradise in a fight for her life. She has no idea how she got there, and notices changes in herself that she cannot explain. Haunted by unsettling dreams of her past, she sets out to escape, joined by Eric, who finds himself in the same predicament. Standing in their way is a madman, and his band of willing followers, with a mind set on murdering their unwelcome visitors. An eccentric hermit who has been living there for years offers them refuge, but they must deny his generosity. Escape is their only option. Yet, they discover this deceptive paradise is harder to leave than they had ever imagined. One mystery leads to another, until their escape throws them into even greater danger as Abby’s frightening past finally catches up with her. Her escape is only the beginning.

FREE at Amazon


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Review: White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler

I was looking forward to reading White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler and I was not disappointed. Tyler is an excellent storyteller.

White Chalk is a realistic gritty novel about a young girl who is lost in the world. There are no rainbows and kittens for 13 year old Chelle. There isn't even really a hero to rescue her. It was a really depressing story.

Yet, it's a story I would read again and again. In some ways White Chalk reminded me of  I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Rose Green. Particularly in its stark portrayal of a reality, which few are willing to talk about.

While parts of the story are shocking, never did it feel like Tyler was going for the shock value with the situations she put Chelle into. There also are no romantic leanings to any of what was happening. Usually I do not read books where there are teacher/student sexual relationships. (I didn't read Gabriel's Inferno for the longest time because it featured a professor/graduate student relationship.) While the teacher/student relationship in White Chalk is pretty front and center, it was not romanticized, but written in a way that is true to life. These relationships happen in real life, but White Chalk did not condone it and in fact shows the harm that comes from such relationships.

I want to make mention of the ending (without giving away too much of the story). White Chalk did not end the way I had hoped it would and while I'm saddened by that, the ending did fit the story. And I know in real life many times that is the ending teenage girls face. It doesn't keep me from hoping that maybe, just maybe, the moment after the last word was written my ending happens. And perhaps that is Tyler's intent with ending it where she did.

Through out the story I wanted someone to rescue Chelle. I wondered where were the guidance counselors or social workers. I know her parents didn't care, but there had to be other adults that saw what was happening. But too often in society we turn a blind eye or rationalize what we are seeing so we don't have to get involved. I don't think you can read White Chalk without at least questioning what could you do and wonder if there were times you didn't act.

If you don't shy away from realistic gritty stories, then White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler is an excellent, emotional story that you won't want to put down.

Buy White Chalk at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords

Book Info:
ebook & paperback (272 pages); Published July 2013 by Evolved Publishing
ISBN13: 9781622532988
Source: publicist
Read: August 2013

Girl Who Reads is an Amazon and Smashwords advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon or Smashwords through the links above. A free ebook was provided by the source indicated in order to give an honest review.



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September 13, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 9/13

It hooked me as soon as I started to read, and I had trouble putting it down. ~ Deborah

From the characters to the writing, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Mill River Recluse. ~ Liz Van Pay


Disfigured by the blow of an abusive husband, and suffering her entire life with severe social anxiety disorder, the widow Mary McAllister spends almost sixty years secluded in a white marble mansion overlooking the town of Mill River, Vermont.

Her links to the outside world are few: the mail, the media, an elderly priest with a guilty habit of pilfering spoons, and a bedroom window with a view of the town below.

Most longtime residents of Mill River consider the marble house and its occupant peculiar, though insignificant, fixtures. An arsonist, a covetous nurse, and the endearing village idiot are among the few who have ever seen Mary.

Newcomers to Mill River -- a police officer and his daughter and a new fourth grade teacher -- are also curious about the reclusive old woman. But only Father Michael O’Brien knows Mary and the secret she keeps -- one that, once revealed, will change all of their lives forever.

99 cents at Amazon and B&N

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Name that Book: Cover Challenge


Up for another challenge this week? See how you do with matching the book cover. I would love to know how you do, but don't worry if you need to cheat a little.


Read my review
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Read my review
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Read my review
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Read my review
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Read my review
Buy the book at Amazon and B&N


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September 12, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 9/12

A FAMILY AFFAIR takes your traditional family ideals and twists it about so that you can’t help but admit that family is determined by more than DNA. ~ Chrissy Dionne

...kept me on the edge of my seat for nearly every page. ~ Dahlia Maxon


When Christine Blacksworth's larger-than-life father is killed on an icy road in Magdalena, New York, a hundred miles from the 'getaway' cabin he visited every month, she discovers a secret that threatens everything she's always held to be true. Her father has another family which includes a mistress and a daughter. Determined to uncover the truth behind her father's secret life, Christine heads to Magdalena, prepared to hate the people who have caused her to question everything she thought she knew about her father. But what she finds is a woman who understands her, a half sister who cherishes her, and a man who could love her if she'll let him. The longer she's around them, the more she questions which family is the real one...

FREE at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords


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Tips for Handling Negative Reviews

Being a book reviewer is not an easy job. We spend hours reading a book. And these hours are not just blissful hours of escape. Instead we are thinking about a multitude of things - character development, plot structure, use of language, etc. Plus many take notes to remind them of problem passages or quotes that highlight a well done component. We are also contemplating how well it fits in with the genre and who the book would appeal to.

When we turn the last page of a book we love, then it is easier to write the review. We may worry about sounding like a gushing fan girl, but for the most part we can be confident that our review will be well received.

Now when it's a book that we are less than pleased with, then writing the review is a bit trickier. Many book bloggers have chosen not to publish negative reviews. However, as I stated in a July 2012 article about writing negative reviews, I believe that negative reviews have a purpose in the marketplace.

I'm sure it is not just book bloggers that worry about the reaction a negative review will get. In fact, in 2012 film critic Marshall Fine received death threats after publishing an unfavorable review of Dark Knight Rises. I'm sure other critics have also received threats or hate mail. But the internet has made it easier in some ways to react to reviews, particularly those publishing on the internet. There is a comment button right at the end of the post. Knee-jerk reactions and "speaking" before thinking can be done quickly and without much effort. Also, people feel some anonymity on the internet - they can hide behind a screen name. And for the book blogger there is not a legal team at their disposal as there is for traditional media outlets to help them combat such threats or provide guidance.

Thankfully, I have not been attacked for the few negative reviews I have written over the years, but as an author I did receive a rather un-nice review. I do have a few tips for reviewers for handling negative reviews and the possible backlash they encounter.

Tip 1: Take care when writing the review
Be sure not to attack the author or any person involved in the publishing of the work. When possible cite examples that support your claims, particularly if your complaint is with the writing style or grammatical errors. Don't use incitant or inflammatory language. Try to balance the review with any positive elements.

Tip 2: Do not engage
When attacked I know it is difficult to sit on your hands and do nothing, but this is the best response. I give the same advice to authors who feel that a negative review is overly harsh. Many of the people who attack reviewers are wanting to vent their frustration at what they view as an attack on something they love. While they may not choose the wisest words to express that frustration, a response from the reviewer will just continue to fan the flames. Some people are wanting the attention and by not responding you do not feed this need they have.

I know you will be upset and need to talk about it, but DO NOT do it publicly. I recommend not making ANY reference to it at all publicly. No tweets or Facebook status updates. Talk privately about it with trusted friends and colleagues.

Tip 3: Keep records
There are crazy people out there and in the off chance that the person(s) attacking you aren't just knee-jerk reactions or frustrated fans, you should document any threats or use of hate speech. Hate speech is NOT protected by the First Amendment. You will need evidence should the incident escalate. If possible, also keep records of IP addresses and any other identifying information.

Tip 4: Protect yourself
Most of the social media and communication tools we use online have ways to block and ban people from contacting you. Use them. Like Rotten Tomatoes did with the Dark Knight Rises review, turn off the comments for that post when possible. It may not be possible to block comments on sites you do not have control over, such as Goodreads and Amazon. Unfortunately, Goodreads does not have a good record of shutting down inappropriate comments on reviews. Amazon does seem to make an attempt.

Tip 5: Don't let it discourage you
I know you may feel like throwing in the towel or be a bit gun shy the next time you don't like a book. If you take reviewing seriously, don't let it keep you from providing a needed voice. I like the statement Rotten Tomatoes Editor-in-Chief Matt Atchity made regarding comments and negative reviews.


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September 11, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 9/11

The Godmothers Series Book 1


The debut of a wonderful new series, The Scoop is #1 New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels's introduction to The Godmothers, four unforgettable women who are about to get a whole new lease on life. . .
Teresa "Toots" Amelia Loudenberry has crammed a great deal of living--not to mention eight much-loved husbands--into her varied and rewarding life. Once again single, Toots is ready to taste life again, and fate has just handed her the perfect opportunity. . .

The owner of the gossip rag where Toots's daughter works is about to lose the paper to his gambling debts. Eager to keep her daughter employed among the movers and shakers of Hollywood, Toots calls on her three trusted friends--Sophie, Mavis, and Ida--to help pull some strings. Together, they hatch a plan that proves you should never underestimate Southern ladies of a certain age, and that each day can be a gift, if you're willing to claim it...

99 cents at Amazon and B&N


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Jane Shoup: Think With Your Fingers

I always have a character or several characters partially fleshed out in my mind when I begin a manuscript, and I have part of the story in mind, but the rest of it is developed as I go. I’ve said I think with my fingertips because there is some metaphysical process that occurs as I stare at the screen, picturing whatever scene I’m working on, and my fingers find the right keys to  formulate what’s transpiring in my mind’s eye. I can’t imagine writing longhand any more than I can imagine narrating a manuscript. I need my fingertips on the keys. 

Every writer has their own way of working, some with an outline, some begin by writing the last chapter. That approach amazes me since I have no idea what the last chapter will be until I get there. Untamed was one of the rare times I knew what the ending would be, because I wanted to end by showing how Edgar Rice Burroughs got hold of the story of Tarzan.  But, usually, the characters and I just slog our way through the book one line at a time.  

My belief is, if I create real enough characters, they will determine the action and ultimately the course of the story. I wrote a novel several years ago, Crimson Hall, (no longer in print, although I plan to rework it and get it back out there) which is the story of the (North Carolina) Barrett family in 1850. It’s written in first person, narrated by an elderly servant, Marabelle. This is how she explains the premise. 

Me, I’m an old servant, not much use to anyone anymore, being infirm and nearly always confined to my bed, so I have time to devote to these musings and memoirs.  Plus I’m a fair hand at writing and I can describe this estate down to the most minute detail and recall past events with great and utter clarity.  And there is something else, something so strange and new to me I hardly know how to describe it.  It seems the more I lie here, slipping away toward my everlasting peace, the more I feel my mind and body part ways here and now.  I am growing able to let my spirit-self float away from me for short spells.  What I call my spirit-self travels down the halls and into the more occupied rooms of the Hall where life still goes on as it always did and, I imagine, it always will.  

Buy Untamed at Amazon

You might be wondering to yourself, if it’s true I can float my spirit self away then why don’t I go to somewhere more interesting and exotic -- somewhere like Paris or Persia?  I suppose the answer is two-fold.  First, I never did much want to see those places and second, and more important, everyone I love resides right here in Crimson Hall.  

Those words set the tone of the story. There are serious, even grim, situations in the story, (deaths, murder, abuse) but the general tone is one of warmth and humor. In one scene, the master of the house, Thaddeus Barrett, (a sensitive, passionate man who adores his daughters) interviews a man from Greensborough to be his assistant in a scientific undertaking to prove there is medicinal value to hemp. 

The interviewee, Eli Sommerset, is a fussy little man who tries too hard to impress, feigning an arrogant self-assurance that rubs Thaddeus the wrong way. Thaddeus, as always, is polite, but Eli begins to sense he’s blown it and the more he realizes he’s blown the opportunity, the more he wants it. Thaddeus invites Eli to join his family for the noonday meal before starting back home and afterwards he’s going to walk Eli to his carriage and bid adieu. Or I should say that was the plan when I began the scene. This is what happened.

The rest of the meal goes without incident or catastrophe and Mr. Barrett is finally able to show Mr. Somerset to the door. Of course, by now, Mr. Somerset is fully aware that all is not right with his potential employment – an employment that’s been looking better and better by the minute.  For someone who felt mighty confident only an hour earlier, he feels slightly nauseous as he is being walked out.  Mr. Eli Somerset can feel the golden opportunity slipping through his fingers and it makes him desperate to clutch at it. 

“Would you like to discuss a date for beginning our work together, Mr. Barrett?” he asks in a squeaky voice.

Thaddeus, who, by now, is a few steps ahead of Mr. Somerset because, wittingly or unwittingly, the younger man has been slowing with each step, turns back toward him.  “I don’t think that arrangement will work out after all, although I do thank you for taking the time to come and see me.”

“B-but why ever not?” Eli stammers.  “No, no, I know why,” he blurts before Mr. Barrett has a chance to reply.  “I was arrogant; insufferable really.  That comment about inconspicuous female flowers.”  He shakes his head and wrings his hat in his hands.  “Of course, I didn’t realize you had flow— . . . daughters.  Daughters, I mean to say, but that’s no excuse for my condescending remark.  There is no excuse.  Do, please, forgive me.” 

“Mr. Somerset, you are ruining that hat,” Thaddeus remarks, glancing down at the sorry looking object in the hands of the smaller man.

Mr. Somerset looks down at it sorrowfully.  “Truly, I do apologize,” he says, (and I’ll be danged if he doesn’t look sincere.)  “I . . . don’t know what gets into me sometimes.”

After a moment of silence, “Maybe a need to impress,” Thaddeus offers, trying to be helpful.  Poor Mr. Somerset looks heavily abashed and Mr. Barrett must see it too because he says, “My thought has always been if you have to work too hard to impress someone, perhaps you’re in the wrong company.”   

What can I tell you? Thaddeus gives the man the job on a trial basis.  I finished the scene and shook my head in surprise that Thaddeus had taken over like that. But, hey. When it’s right, it’s right. My characters rule. I just tap out the keys to make it happen. 


About the Author

Originally from Southern Indiana, (born in Evansville, grew up in Newburgh,) I now reside in Greensboro, North Carolina. My day job is that of a real estate agent, although the goal is become a full time writer … who actually eats regularly and pays the bills. I’m exceedingly proud of my young adult daughters, Mackenzie, Allyson and Hayley. They’re lovely and wacky and smart and basically my favorite people on earth.
If I had to describe myself . . . I’d say upbeat, highly imaginative, passionate, restless, easily bored, humorous, stubborn, spiritual and truly blessed.
I love writing. I love getting caught up in another time and place. Honestly – it’s often a disappointment to have to return to reality. My favorite genre tends to be whatever I’m working on at the moment. I write historical fiction, action/adventure, suspense, fantasy and more, all of it with an element of romance to it.
That’s about it, but if you want to know more, read my stuff. I’m in every page.
 Facebook  *  website  *  Goodreads  *  Excerpt  *  Diversion Books


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September 10, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 9/10

This cozy mystery applies a good-humored look at small-town life. ~ Larissa Reinhart

...intriguing with alot of great twists & turns... ~ Teresa Harrell


Former US Army JAG specialist, Faith Hunter, returns to her West Virginia home to work in her grandmothers' scrapbooking store determined to lead an unassuming life after her adventure abroad turned disaster. But her quiet life unravels when her friend is charged with murder – and Faith inadvertently supplied the evidence. 

So Faith decides to cut through the scrap and piece together what really happened. With a sexy prosecutor, a determined homicide detective, a handful of sticky suspects and a crop contest gone bad, Faith quickly realizes if she’s not careful, she’ll be the next one cropped.

99 cents at Amazon and B&N


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From the TBR Pile: The Safehouse by T. Thomas Ackerman


When There Is No Safety
Every nine seconds, a woman becomes a victim of domestic violence in the United States. The laws don't do enough to protect these women and their children from the abuse, which will always escalate. Detective Jessica Warren understands all too well how vulnerable women are in abusive relationships. And she's not going to stand by and watch as innocent victims are injured, or worse. The Safehouse is the story of Jessie Warren and the closely knit network of powerful women who aren't willing to allow abusive men to hide behind inadequate laws. It's the story of the victims she helps, some of whom learn to break out of the patterns holding them trapped. And it's the story of how Jessie navigates the police system with pragmatism, intelligence, and heart to extend a helping hand to women in need. But with all the time and emotional energy she spends helping others, will she be able to maintain her own life balance? And will she be able to outsmart the one member of the police force who doesn't approve of her unorthodox methods? True to life and riveting, The Safehouse will take you on a compelling journey to justice.

The author is donating 25% of royalties from this book to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

ebook & paperback (264 pages)
Published July 2011 by Outskirt Press
ISBN13: 9781432775247

Praise:

...a very moving, intense, and passion filled narrative... ~ Giovanni Gelati

The author does such an excellent job of storytelling... ~ Richard Fidler

...grabs your attention right away and you can't put it down. ~ PhilD

Read more reviews


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September 9, 2013

Afternoon eBook Deal 9/9

Part 1 of a serialized fiction

Funny, interesting, story, it is a horror, but so much more. ~ Opalfire


The assignment:

Collect lifestones from humans after they die.

Rebellious, sixteen-year-old Naomi craves a normal life, but unfortunately, she’s a Grim by birth. That’s right, she sees dead people and hoards their living essence in a stone. Not a fun occupation.

In order to be good at her job, she must live among human teenagers for weeks at a time. But Naomi soon becomes attached to the kids she’s been assigned to watch over. And knowing that these teens are gonna die under less than ideal circumstances, she has the opportunity to prevent their deaths from occurring. Only one big problem—interfering with death is the worst crime a Grim can commit. If she intervenes, she’ll put herself and her family in danger.

Naomi must make the hardest choice of her career, go against the sacred covenant or watch her new friends walk blindly to their deaths.

Only one thing is for certain—Naomi has a grim knack for finding trouble and she’s about to break all the rules...

FREE at Amazon


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Meet Elsie Park + Giveaway

I grew up in a small town outside of Yosemite National Park, California, U.S.A. I enjoy playing soccer and the piano, reading, writing, art and spending time with family. Years ago I spent 18 months in Italy teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeing the castles and old Roman cities enhanced my fascination for ancient and medieval culture (unfortunately, my Italian is now a little rusty). In college I studied zoology, botany and criminal justice. I've worked as a wildland firefighter, security guard and a police officer, but I am currently a stay-at-home mother of three girls all under the age of eight. I love thinking up new ideas for interesting stories and composing musical scores to go with them.

I’d always known that once I had children, I would put motherhood first, though it would constitute a tight income and budget. After leaving my careers behind to be a mom, however, it didn’t take long after having my first baby that I got antsy to do something other than dishes, changing diapers and grocery shopping. I’d always loved books, reading and watching good movies (especially historicals), so when adventurous medieval scenes started invading my head, I thought, “Hey, those would make a good movie or excellent story if coupled with a good plot.” So on a whim I jotted my ideas down and my first step to writing Shadows of Valor was taken. Tapping into my English class days from high school, allowing my journalism-major mother to edit my early manuscripts and attending writers’ conferences have helped me immensely as I’ve entered this field. I feel blessed that writing is something I can do and still remain in the home with my children.

Being a student of piano since age 6, and being inspired by the poems and songs in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I wrote three of my own intoShadows of Valor. I went a little farther and composed the written music for them as well. The ballads in my story were only words at first, but as I pictured someone singing them, I wondered what the songs would sound like if put to music. Tapping into my piano background, I fiddled with tunes to fit the words and after months of working on the music, I felt satisfied with the simple compositions.

Buy Shadows of Valor at Amazon

The first song, “May’s Good Day,” is a lively one about the jovial celebration of May Day (akin to the May Day song from the musical Camelot for those who are familiar with it). Having no deep message to it, it’s just fun. The second song, “One Brave Knight,” (my personal favorite) is a ballad speaking to knights. The words express a maiden’s plea for rescue from the cold grip of life’s shadows and hardships. It’s written in a minor key, so it sounds the most medieval of the three. The third song, “Love Endures,” is about true love standing firm against the test of trials, coming out victorious as two hearts become one. This song is written in a major key and wraps up my story with its message. 

My awesome publisher, Jolly Fish Press, gave me the unique opportunity to compile two of my songs into a 2-minute score for my visual book trailer too. I was flattered and elated to take part in it.

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Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee is earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. The views, opinions, and beliefs expressed by the contributing writers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Girl Who Reads.


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September 8, 2013

Sunday Sale Page 9/8

A few more deals to fill your ereader with this week. Remember to check back each afternoon for another deal. (If you want your book featured, fill out this form)


Crime Fiction
99 cents at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords


YA Horror
99 cents at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords
Book 1 is FREE at Amazon and Smashwords


Literary Fiction
99 cents at Amazon and B&N


Christian Fiction
FREE at Amazon and B&N


Adult Horror
FREE at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords


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