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March 10, 2017

March Mystery Box Giveaway

Are you liking these mystery box giveaways? Here is what Nicole received in the February Mystery Box. Thank you, Kathleen Barker, for sponsoring the February giveaway.




Haven't won a box yet? Here's your chance to win March's Mystery Box.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


If you are an author or publisher who would like to sponsor a future mystery box by providing a book, swag or other promotional materials, please email Donna(at)girl-who-reads.com.


Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. 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.

March 9, 2017

Review: Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters by Amy Rivers

by Susan Roberts

January 2017; Wooden Pants Publishing; 9780692817803
ebook & print (236 pages); women's fiction
a free book was provided for this review
A year after she is elected mayor of a prosperous Colorado city, Gwen's career and life are fully on track, all according to plan. So why is she in such a slump emotionally and physically? New conflicts keep boiling over in city government, and her earlier allies no longer support her. She and her boyfriend have an ideal relationship, which she finds inexplicably dissatisfying. Without telling her, he decides to take a new job that has him traveling out of state every week. Suddenly unexpected developments turn everything topsy-turvy, and Gwen is forced to re-examine her carefully-planned life.

We first met Gwen in Amy River's previous book Wallflower Blooming which introduced us to Gwen while highlighting her cousin Val's life and her work to help Gwen get elected as mayor.  Gwen is sure that once she reaches her goal of becoming mayor of a Colorado city, the path will be clear for her plans to be a future governor of Colorado.  That's before she is faced with a colleague who is trying to cause problems, a workload that is overwhelming and a boyfriend who no longer meets her expectations.  Her boyfriend, Jason, works for the same town and after conflict of interest charges keep getting brought up, he decides to take a job that has him traveling most of the time.  To top it all off, her cousin Val has an upcoming wedding and Gwen is the maid of honor and has all of the extra work involved with a wedding adding to her already strenuous workload. Then something happens that make Gwen question the importance of all of her other stressing problems and she has to make a decision on how to deal with the unexpected changes in her life.

I definitely enjoyed this book.  Despite some of the lighter moments, there are problems in this book that every working woman has to address.  I loved the main character, Gwen,  and her cousin Val and enjoyed their relationship with each other.  The reminded me of people that I know in my everyday life.  This one is a must-read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  
Amy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado with her husband and kids. She has a Master's degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics, two topics she loves to incorporate into her personal essays and novels. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, ESME.com and Splice Today.

Buy Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their grandson.  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.



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March 8, 2017

Review: H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

by Alison DeLuca

Helen Macdonald breads death and falconry in her nonfiction book, H is for Hawk. I've wanted to read this since I saw the cover, a stylized image of a fierce goshawk.
cover of H Is for Hawk showing an illustration of a goshawk

The bird in Macdonald's book is Mabel, a goshawk adopted months after the author lost her father. Scarred with grief, she was out of touch with reality to the point of hallucination, reminiscent of The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

Mabel was the perfect pastime for Macdonald during her grief, since raising a hawk requires hours of concentration and patience as Mabel learned to fly to Macdonald's glove, return after a kill, and most of all: to trust. "The hawk," she writes, "was everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life."

The book is filled with falconry terms, a delight in themselves. Bait is a hawk's annoying habit of hanging off their jesses (straps somewhat like a leash) in order to rebel against her new owner. Even hawk poop has its own verb - to mute. 

Macdonald speaks this second language fluently. She took up falconry as a child and read as much as sh could on the subject. Those studies took her on a voyage through time, back to the 17th-century volumes of falconry when it was strictly a sport of gentlemen.


falconer holding a trained hawk
image courtesy of Wiki Commons

"It took me a long time to realize how many of our classic books on animals were by gay writers who wrote of their relationships with animals in lieu of of human loves of which they could not speak," Macdonald points out. Captured by sorrow and Mabel's training, Macdonald reread The Goshawk by T.H. White. This author of The Once and Future King was enchanted by hawk-rearing, just as he was tortured by his own sexuality.

H is for Hawk is a cramped book, seemingly tiny in scope. The characters are limited, for the most part, to Mabel, Macdonald, and her father's memory. Raising a hawk means isolation; the new owner must make a huge and wild creature trust her through hours of practice without outside interference. Therefore, Macdonald and Mabel spent days inside her apartment, emerging only for short flights to the glove.

And yet the prose soars like the flight of a bird to encompass English history, literature, loss, death, friendship - and life itself. I don't usually read nonfiction, and yet H is for Hawk came to glorious, technicolor life as I consumed its pages.

For one thing, the writing is breathtaking. Macdonald exposes herself mercilessly, letting us see her sadness and experience the strange journey she took with Mabel. Set against the mysterious forest landscape of England, she doesn't hide her humanity or the fascinating inhumanity of Mabel, her goshawk.

It's a rare book that makes you sigh as you get to the end, wanting to hoard the pages left. H is for Hawk was that kind of read for me.


Buy H is for Hawk at Amazon
Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.
Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.




Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. 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.

March 7, 2017

Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

by MK French

March 2017; Sourcebooks Fire; 978-1492635826
ebook & print (432 pages); YA fantasy
a free ARC was provided for this revew


Tea has the extraordinary ability to raise the dead, which is revered and feared in the land. Asha are women capable of wielding elemental magic, and the Dark Asha can control the dead and destroy the creatures roaming throughout the eight kingdoms. The training to be an Asha is long and fraught with dangers, and ultimately Tea will have to decide where her loyalties truly lie.

The influences from Japanese and South Asian cultures is very clear in the book. The training the Asha go through is very much like that geisha had done in Japan, though there is just as much focus on defense and martial arts as there is on music, diplomacy and the arts. Much of the food descriptions and clothing descriptions lend themselves to various cultures in our world, but the blend is a seamless one as Chupeco build the world and the magic that the Asha are capable of wielding. The monsters in this world aren't just the creatures rampaging and killing, but the politicians, nobles, and jealous Asha in training. There's the sense of a tragedy in the making, especially with the tale-within-a-tale format that the book takes, and it heightens the tension in reading about Tea's training.

I had actually stared at my Kindle in shock at the end of the book and nearly howled at the unfairness of it all. Quickly finding Rin's website and Tumblr online, I saw that this is book one of a series. I immediately breathed a sigh of relief. I can't wait to see what else is in store for Tea, the nameless Bard she is telling her story to, and the rest of the eight kingdoms.

Buy The Bone Witch at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. 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.

March 6, 2017

Review: A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline #MondayBlogs

by Susan Roberts

February 2017; William Marrow; 978-0062356260
ebook & print (320 pages); historical fiction 

I loved this author's first book, Orphan Train, and couldn't wait to read her new book which published in late February.  A Piece of the World was different but as good as her first book.

This was a beautifully written book about someone who spent their entire life in one small piece of the world but left a legacy that has been seen all over the world.

Christina Olson was born and lived her entire life in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. When she was young, the house was full of her brothers, her parents and her grandmother. It was a working farm and there were always chores to be done and mischief to get into with her brothers. When she was about 10, she got very sick and was never able to walk well again. Even though her disease was never diagnosed in the book, it appeared to be some type of muscular weakness that progressively got worse. She loved school but when she got to 8th grade, her parents decided that it was time for her to stay home and help with the house. With no electricity or running water, her work was difficult and tedious.  The author describes all that she had to go through to keep the farm running.  Her mother was of little help and her father thought that it was her job to do the work.  All of her brothers except one found life outside the farm and moved away.  When Christina was much older and only she and her brother remained at the farmhouse, which was very run down. Andrew Wyeth, the famous American painter came to town to visit friends and decided that he wanted to paint at the farm house. He spent the next 20+ summers painting in Cushing Maine and the farmhouse and Christine become his muse. She becomes his model for his famous painting "Christina's World".

Andrew Wyeth, Museum of Modern Art, NY
image from Wikipedia
A Piece of the World is so well written and tells a story about someone that I never knew existed despite the fact that I have seen the painting. Christina's life was centered on her family and her farmhouse and her life of chores despite the constant pain she was in. She was a wonderful well-written character and one that I won't soon forget.

Buy A Piece of the World at Amazon

Christian Baker Kline speaks about writing A Piece of the World:




Susan Roberts was born and raised in Michigan but after college decided that she wanted to live somewhere much warmer.  Susan lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their grandson.  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.

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. 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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