Amazon

Readers' Favorite

April 1, 2017

Active Reading: A Key to Awesome Book Reviews #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber

Once again the writers of Girl Who Reads are participating in the A to Z Challenge. The main challenge is to blog for 26 days, but since we already publish 6-7 days a week, I challenged myself and the other writers to try a different style and to create better headlines. For those readers joining us from the A to Z Challenge, Girl Who Reads focuses on books, the reading experience, and writing. Even if you aren't much of a reader I hope you find something interesting here.



Like many book bloggers, I don't have an English degree or much of a background in literature. I review books because I love reading and want to share that passion with others. especially when I find a great book. For that reason, I'm always looking for information on ways to write better reviews.

A technique I've recently been reading about is active reading. I picked up the textbook Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing at a recent library sale and in the opening chapter active reading is demonstrated. The short story "The Necklace" by Guy de Paupassant is used as the study text. This is a short story I remember reading in high school.

I've kind of admired people who annotate their text, though I don't do it. Partly it is because I don't like my handwriting, but the larger reason is because I thought that the notes were some deep understanding that they were jotting down. After reading through the notes for The Necklace, I realize that is not always the case.

In active reading, you are using all your sense and taking an active role in your reading. Perhaps it would be best to contrast it with passive reading. Passive reading is what most of us do in our everyday reading. We read the words on the page, maybe not ever one of them. We synthesize enough to understand and enjoy the story. Passive reading is why we often can't remember details, especially those from early on in the story, when we finish the book.

Recalling details, emotions, and thoughts are hallmarks to writing an awesome book review that fully conveys your opinion of the book. Through active reading, you will be able to say more than "It is a great book!" You will be able to back up your claims.

How to actively read:

Active reading is actually quite easy, though it may be a bit more time consuming until it becomes a habit.

If you don't like writing in books, or you are reading digital files, you may want to pick up a notebook. It doesn't have to be anything special. Pick a style and size that is comfortable to you. I like spiral notebooks that are roughly 5"x6" as it fits into by purse, but it still has a good amount of writing space per page. If you read multiple books at a time in different places you might want separate notebooks so you can keep one with each book.

How do you keep up with your reading notes?

Even if you do annotate in the margins, you will still want something with more writing space to record longer thoughts than can fit in the margins. This may be a notebook or index cards or just a notepad.

Now that you have the tools for active reading, start reading! With each paragraph read, record your observations.

"Many observations, particularly at the beginning, are assimilative; that is, they do little more than record details about the action. But as the story progresses, the comments reflect conclusions about the story's meaning. Toward the end, the comments are full rather than minimal; they result not only from first responses, but also from considered thought."  pg. 3 Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing (fifth edition).


So don't be afraid of just making simple notes at first. These notes may serve you well when trying to recall details about particular characters or settings. As you get deeper into the story you may start making better connections to what came before and understand more character motives and relationships. It may also draw you the author's subtle uses of language and writing style to convey a deeper story.

As I mentioned, I've read "The Necklace" before (albeit more than 20 years ago), but in reading through it with the annotation I noticed details I missed. For example, how manipulative the wife is. Or that the husband, who clearly wants his wife to be happy, was looking forward to a vacation without her.

In my textbook, there are a few guidelines for your note-taking:

  1. Observations for basic understanding. This is the who, what, where, what, and how of the story. Also, write down unfamiliar words and things you don't understand about the story. 
  2. Notes on first impressions. As reviewers, we are pretty good at this guideline. It is the emotions the story evokes, what you liked or disliked about the story and characters, etc. Try to explain why you think what you do about the story.
  3. Development of ideas and enlargement of responses. These notes will make your reviews awesome. Dig a little deeper into the story and character motives. Go beyond your first impressions of a character or situation. Also, note literary devices that where used and your thoughts on their effectiveness.


Benefits of active reading

In addition to writing awesome reviews, active reading can also increase your enjoyment of the story by more deeply investing you into it. Just a few of the benefits you might discover when actively reading:

  • A greater appreciation of the characters. I love character driven stories and active reading can connect you more to the characters by revealing characteristics, habits, etc that you may not register or remember in passive reading.
  • A deeper appreciation for the author's writing. By more closely reading the story you will discover nuances that might otherwise have been missed. It is the subtle foreshadowing or a play on words, if not paying close attention are missed, but add a richness to the text.
  • A better appreciation of themes. Themes are not unique to literary fiction.They are present in genre fiction but are often overlooked as we get sucked into the story. Discussing themes is an important component to an awesome review.

Should you always read actively?

When reading for your own pleasure, don't feel like you have to actively read. If the author has done his/her job, you will thoroughly enjoy the story and the "me time".

However, if you are reviewing a book and you want to write the most awesome review, then active reading is the key.


Donna Huber 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


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 31, 2017

Review: A Rose in the Desert by Louis Piechota

by MK French

February 2014; ebook (264 pages); YA fantasy
Ethyrin is the young nephew of the ruling king but would be considered the rightful ruler by many. As a result, he's advised to travel to a new land to escape persecution. While there, he is still threatened, kidnapped, and nearly sold into slavery. However, he had visions of Nuara, and the two escape with the aid of those working to free slaves. Ethyrin hopes to survive the dangers of traveling across the unknown land, but Nuara hopes to return to the land of her birth. It's a long way, especially without provisions or allies, but it's the only goal they have.

This book has the feeling like the start of a series. Ethyrin's homeland and its dangers are outlined in detail, but then he's thrust into an entirely new landscape. The machinations within the slaveholders' lands give a feeling of impending dread, and the narrative focuses tightly on Ethyrin and Nuara. It adds to the claustrophobic feeling within the text, even as they cross a vast desert. They are the only ones they can rely on, and Ethyrin is lost and out of place. Even so, he struggles to do the right thing and aid Nuara as he promised, even at risk to himself.

The book has very spare language and descriptions but feels very much like it could be a sprawling, epic series. The issue with Ethyrin's uncle isn't solved, after all, and there are teases of a larger conflict at hand. Still, it was good to see Ethyrin start to grow up, and for Nuara to start coming out of her prickly shell. If there are more books in the series, they'll hopefully be just as enjoyable a read.

Buy A Rose in the Desert 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 30, 2017

Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

by Donna Huber


March 2017; St. Martin's Press; 978-1250034564
ebook, audio, print (416 pages); thriller
a free ARC was provided for this review
I love Chevy Stevens's novels and Never Let You Go was excellent. Her novels are always page turners that I just can't put down so I couldn't wait for a free weekend where I could lose myself in the story.

Lindsey thought she had the perfect man when she married Andrew. However, the honeymoon doesn't last long as Andrew's true colors start to show. Soon Lindsey has no friends and is under constant surveillance by her husband. He has also indebted her family to him and she is too ashamed to confide in them anyways. But she has a young daughter to think about. Will he hurt her?

The story is told in alternating past/present, with the present chapters alternating between Lindsey and her now 17-year-old daughter Sophie and the reader learns what actually transpired between Lindsey and Andrew the fateful night she fled with her young daughter. But in present day, not all is rosy and I was paranoid right alongside Lindsey about every male character in their lives as someone is clearly playing mind games with her. Is it her ex-husband who was recently released from prison or Sophie's new boyfriend who seems a little too slick. There's Lindsey's boyfriend who wants things to get to get more serious and the former therapist turned self-defense coach added to the mix. Even the cop that responds to the possible break-in at Lindsey's housecleaning client acts a little suspicious.

I was a bundle of nerves, in the most delicious way, throughout the story.

Now there were two instances where I thought I might not be able to continue with the story. There are two dogs. You can torture, maim, and kill any human character in a story and I can make it through, but harm an animal and I can't continue. If you are like me, just know that no animals were seriously harmed.

So if you are looking for a great thriller where you are turning the pages while peeking between your fingers, then Never Let You Go is a must read.

Buy Never Let You Go at Amazon

Donna Huber 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.

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 29, 2017

Review: One Good Mama Bone by Bren McClain

by Susan Roberts

February 2017; University of South Carolina Press
978-1611177466; ebook, audio, print (280 pages)
contemporary fiction
a free book was provided for this review
When the novel begins Sarah's best friend is delivering the baby of her husband's girlfriend. The best friend dies right after the birth, and Sarah and her husband are left to raise the baby that they named Jefferson Bridge. Life in rural South Carolina in the early 1950s is tough and there is often no food to eat in the house - especially after her husband loses his job and uses what little money they have to buy alcohol. He dies very early in the story and Sarah is left to raise Jefferson Bridge but there is a big problem with that - her mama told her at an early age "You ain't got one good mama bone in you, girl." With these words ringing in her head since the age of six, Sarah doesn't believe that she has the capacity to love Jefferson Bridge like a mama should.

That is just a brief synopsis of the book but the real story is whether Sarah can love her husband's son like her own, build a relationship with him and be a real mother. She first has to learn to gain trust in herself and her abilities before she can create a family. She has to overcome the words that her mother said to her so many years ago and find her own 'mama bone' to be a mother to a boy who is not biologically her son.

This novel is beautifully written and so descriptive of life in the rural South. The hardscrabble life that the characters are living is apparent on every page - no food to eat, no money in the bank, no wood for the fire or gas for the car. But by the end, the reader realizes that it's not the material things that really matter in life, it's love and family that are the most important things in life.

Buy One Good Mama Bone 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.


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 28, 2017

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

by MK French

January 2017; Del Rey; 978-1101885932;
ebook, audio, print (336 pages); fantasy
a free ARC was provided for this review
Vasilisa is the odd girl within her family, the one that listens too closely to her nursemaid's stories and believing in the household spirits even after her devout stepmother arrives and forbids her family from performing their usual rituals. She knows that they are just as important as the politics in Moscow, or keeping the people of her father's land safe. The priest from Moscow turns the people away from the old ways, but this actually endangers them all, and Vasilisa must fight with the country spirits to keep the people and land safe.

Set in pre-Christian Russia, the history of the time period is woven into the story as seamlessly as the magic and folklore.

Relationships are explained in a very fluid way, and we get a chance to see some of the political machinations that lead to Anna and then Konstantin arriving in Vasilisa's homeland.

Arden draws us into the land with very vivid descriptions that show us the love that Vasilisa has for it, even as the villagers call her a witch because of her ability to see spirits.

These same spirits are given as much importance as the human characters, even if we don't always learn their histories. Even the antagonists are given the same thorough treatment; each one is the hero of their own story, after all, no matter how misguided, and they all have their place in the fairy tale.

Vasilisa is headstrong and willing to do whatever it takes to save the ones she loves, even if it isn't asked for, and is unable to forget the "real world" as she gets more entangled in that of the spirits at the end of the book.

Very engaging read and well done, it's hard to believe that this is Arden's first novel.

Buy The Bear and the Nightingale 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 27, 2017

What I Read This Month #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber


Now that basketball season is over and my time isn't being taken up with the children's basketball program I volunteer with, I've been reading through books as if they are water and I've been wandering in the desert for days. To celebrate my return to the written word I went to the library book sale and got a few "new" books (pictured above). It is great to be back in the pages of my books. Here's what I've read this month.

WHAT I'VE READ

Audiobooks:

A Most Curious Murder
A Most Curious Murder (A Little Library Mystery #1) by Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

I picked up this audiobook with the free credit I got for trying out eStories.com. It was everything that a cozy mystery should be. A very satisfying read to be sure. If you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland you will be extra tickled with the continual references to the story as characters work lines into everyday conversations.

Jenny Weston moves home to Bear Falls, Michigan, to nurse her bruised ego back to health after a bitter divorce. But the idyllic vision of her charming hometown crumbles when her mother's little library is destroyed.The next-door neighbor, Zoe Zola, a little person and Lewis Carroll enthusiast, suspects local curmudgeon Adam Cane. But when he's suddenly found dead in Zoe's fairy garden, all roads lead back to her. Jenny, however, believes Zoe is innocent, so the two women team up to find the true culprit, investigating the richest family in Bear Falls, interrogating a few odd townspeople, and delving into old, hidden transgressions until another body turns up.Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli's quaint and compelling series debut will delight cozy mystery fans new and old.

Buy A Most Curious Murder at Amazon


Twelve Days of Christmas
Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

I put a hold on this book back in November, but my number didn't come up until the beginning of March. It was a cute Christmas novella, and though, I would have enjoyed it at Christmas time it was fun listening to it now. I gorge myself on Christmasy fun stories in December so maybe I actually enjoyed it more after having a little break.

Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that s the last straw. She s going to break through Cain s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.

To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won't even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain s gruff facade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love.

Buy Twelve Days of Christmas at Amazon


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1) by Ransom Riggs

This is one of those books that I kept meaning to read, but just never could find the time to do so. While looking for my audiobook at my digital library, I saw it was available and decided now was the time to read it (well, listen). It was interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I want to see the movie.

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Buy Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children at Amazon


The Lost Gate
The Lost Gate (Mither Mages #1) by Orson Scott Card

I keep trying to like fantasy and sometimes I find a great one that I do love (like Harry Potter). And other times I find okay ones that make me think that the fantasy genre just isn't my thing. The Lost Gate falls into the latter category for me.

Growing up in a family compound in Virginia, Dan North knew from early childhood that his family was different, and that the differences were secrets that could never be told. He believed that he alone of his family had no magical power. But he was wrong. Kidnapped from his high school by a rival family, he learns that he has the power to reopen the gates between Earth and the world of Westil. This contemporary urban fantasy introduces the North family, a clan of mages in exile in our world, and their enemies who will do anything to keep them locked here.

Buy The Lost Gate at Amazon


eBooks:

Like a Closed Fist by E.H. Nolan

This book was a struggle for me. You can read my full review here.

It was harmless enough: her best friend's wedding. But for California girl Phoebe, forty-eight hours in North Carolina changed her life.

No one is more surprised than Phoebe when she falls hopelessly in love with her dad’s much older, very married friend. Although she wants nothing more than to jump headfirst into an affair with Mitch, he refrains, telling her she’s just a kid.

Determined to prove him wrong, young Phoebe learns the irony of best laid plans. She travels to North Carolina for a wedding and accidentally falls head-over-heels for two very different men: Mason, the hotel concierge, and Frankie, a captain in the Merchant Marines. Throw in two old flames and a hunky masseur and you’ve got a most complicated love hexagon in this cautionary tale of love, sex, grief, and growing up.

Buy Like a Closed Fist at Amazon


Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

I LOVE Chevy Stevens's thrillers. I've had the egalley forever but I wanted to wait until closer to the release date to read it because I knew I couldn't keep quiet after I finished. It was such a treat to read it after laboring through Like a Closed Fist. I will post my full review later this week, but for now I'll just say you MUST read it.

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

Buy Never Let You Go at Amazon


Paperback:


The Beauty of the Fall
The Beauty of the Fall by Rich Marcello

I won this in December from a Goodreads.com giveaway and if you read my monthly reading posts you know I started this book back in February. It was difficult to get into the story, but once I did it was wonderful. It reminded me of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. While I found of the technology details tedious the insight into Dan's grief was interesting and poignant. If you are feeling philosophical about life (or want to feel so), I recommend reading this book.

Dan Underlight, a divorced, workaholic technology executive, suffers lingering grief over the death of his ten-year-old son, Zack. When Dan’s longtime friend and boss, Olivia Whitmore, fires Dan from RadioRadio, the company that he helped create, he crashes and isolates himself.

Willow, a poet and domestic violence survivor, helps Dan regain his footing. With her support, Dan ventures on a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting Fortune 500 companies to flesh out a software start-up idea. When Dan returns home with a fully formed vision, he recruits the help of three former RadioRadio colleagues and starts Conversationworks, a company he believes will be at the vanguard of social change.

Guided by Dan’s generative leadership, Conversationworks enjoys some early successes, but its existence is soon threatened on multiple fronts. Will Dan survive the ensuing corporate battles and realize the potential of his company? Or will he be defeated by his enemies and consumed by his grief?

Buy The Beauty of the Fall at Amazon


WHAT I'M READING

Audiobook:

The Lilac Girls
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

I've been seeing this book everywhere and I love WWII stories. Particularly books that tell the little-known stories of the era - stories of women on the homefront or life as a German. So when I saw my digital library had a copy and there was no waiting I knew I had to act fast. I'm loving it. If you need to go an extra mile on the treadmill, then this is the book you want to me listening to. I don't want to stop listening, but I also don't want it to be over too soon.

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

Buy Lilac Girls at Amazon


eBook:


Good Clean Murder
Good, Clean, Murder byTraci Tyne Hilton

This is free ebook I picked up in December (it's still free) when I was wanting cozy mysteries but having trouble finding any in my TBR pile or at the digital library. After reading two books that took me months to get through, I'm treating myself with a quick, fun read.

Living on her own for the first time, Bible school student Jane cleans houses to make ends meet. But being independent brings big trials, like falling for a handsome professor, dealing with an obnoxious roommate, and then there's the dead bodies...

Who knew being housekeeper to wealthy owners of a Roly Burger franchise would mean sweeping up clues to their death, while ministering to the needs of their heirs?

This is one big mess that Jane is intent on cleaning up before things get even worse.

Buy Good, Clean, Murder at Amazon


Paperback:


The Women in the Castle
The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

I've just started this ARC that I won from a Goodreads.com giveaway. The book is beautiful with its rough cut pages and interior cover flaps. It hits the shelves on Tuesday.

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined—an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding

Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resistor murdered in the failed July, 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows.

First, Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naïve Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resistor’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war.

As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war—each with their own unique share of challenges.

Buy The Women in the Castle at Amazon

Donna Huber 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.

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 26, 2017

2 Suspense Novels That Will Keep You Guessing

by Susan Roberts


I love to read a good suspense novel - one that keeps me guessing until the end of the book and keeps me up way past my bedtime because I know that I won't be able to sleep until I find out how the book ends.  Here are two suspense novels that I read recently that kept me guessing!


February 2017; Flatiron Books; 9781250075536
ebook, audio, print (320 pages)
psychology thriller
a free book was won at Goodreads.com
What You Don't Know by JoAnn Chaney

What You Don't Know is a psychological suspense book about a serial killer in Denver. It revolves around three main characters - Hoskins one of the cops who solved the case, Sammie a reporter who slept with Hoskins to get information about the case for her newspaper articles and Gloria the wife of the killer who claimed not to have any knowledge of his crimes. The story is told by these three voices and the reader learns what motivates them all and how they are handling the arrest of Jacky Seever - a serial killer who buried 33 bodies in the crawl space of his home. Seven years later, Hoskins is working cold cases in the basement of the police station, Sammie is selling makeup and Gloria is barely surviving due to the people who wanted to blame her too. All of a sudden,  with Deever behind bars on death row, a copycat killer starts to kill people from the original case - are all of their lives in jeopardy?

This is a fast paced, well done mystery. The case against Jacky was pretty cut and dried but the murders were so savage that the detectives suffered psychological damage from what they saw.  The copycat killer was a   mystery that needed to be solved as soon as possible before more people involved in the original case died.   I thought that the characters were well done even though they were pretty unlikeable due to all of their personal flaws. I hope that we see several of them again in a follow-up book but if not, I will still read whatever this author writes.

Buy What You Don't Know at Amazon


March 2017; St. Martin's Press; 978-1250107602
ebook, audio, print (320 pages); thriller
a free ARC was provided for this review
Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Do we ever really know the person that we are married to? Violet believes that her marriage to Finn was meant to be, that they were soulmates who met by chance on the beach, lost contact and later met again. As the novel begins, she is sitting on the beach thinking about her perfect love with Finn and their wonderful 3-year-old son Bear. However, her world quickly changes when she goes to their hotel room and Finn and Bear are missing and her life quickly turns into despair and confusion. She calls on her best friend Catalain to help her but is she truly her friend or is she hiding secrets, too?

This is a fast-paced novel about trust and love, family and friendship. It's about the search for ideals - ideal family and ideal friendship and finding out that they may not exist in the real world. And what connects the entire story is Violet's love for her son.

I enjoyed this book and once I started, I had to keep reading to find out why some of the characters made the decisions that they did. There were several instances where I didn't agree with their decisions and I found Violet, through sympathetic, to be very naive. Overall, it's a fantastic debut novel from a new author and I am looking forward to her books in the future.

Buy Almost Missed You from 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.


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.

Shareahollic

Amazon Studio

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...