Readers' Favorite

May 20, 2017

3 Books with Interesting Female Characters

by Susan Roberts

Fiction books have changed a lot during the last ten years. It used to be that novels were mainly written by men with male main characters who were always rescuing the women in distress. Today I have reviews of three books that were all not only written by women but have female main characters. I definitely enjoyed all three books.

May 19, 2017

Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge 2017

by Donna Huber

This was the second year that the writing team of Girl Who Reads participated in the A to Z Blog Challenge. We already post daily and with eight of us, daily posting isn't the challenge. Instead, we focus on trying new techniques and different writing styles.

May 18, 2017

Two Great Fantasy Novels for Kids to Read this Summer

by MK French

The school is winding down and soon kids will be home under foot. Did you know that children can lose up to a grade level of reading skills during the summer? Teachers often have to spend much of the first quarter of the new school reteaching material students have forgotten. Reading during the summer helps maintain a child's skills. Here are a couple of books that will keep your kids entertained and help prevent the summer slide.

May 17, 2017

A Must Read for WWII Fans - The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

by Donna Huber

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck is a beautiful novel though it is set during one of the darkest periods in modern history - WWII Germany. I was excited when I won an advance reader copy through a Goodreads giveaway.

May 16, 2017

Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank

by Susan Roberts

a lovely novel about love and friendship and keeping marriages happy

Amazon affiliate links are used in this post. An ARC was provided for an honest review.

From the book cover: One enchanted summer, two couples begin a friendship that will last more than twenty years and transform their lives.

May 2017; William Morrow; 9780062390783
ebook, audio, print (384 pages); women's fiction
A chance meeting on the Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s most stunning barrier islands, brings former sweethearts, Adam Stanley and Eve Landers together again. Their respective spouses, Eliza and Carl, fight sparks of jealousy flaring from their imagined rekindling of old flames. As Adam and Eve get caught up on their lives, their partners strike up a deep friendship—and flirt with an unexpected attraction—of their own.

Year after year, Adam, Eliza, Eve, and Carl eagerly await their reunion at Wild Dunes, a condominium complex at the island’s tip end, where they grow closer with each passing day, building a friendship that will withstand financial catastrophe, family tragedy, and devastating heartbreak. The devotion and love they share will help them weather the vagaries of time and enrich their lives as circumstances change, their children grow up and leave home, and their twilight years approach.

My Review:  I am a real fan of Dot Frank and know that when her new book comes out every spring, it's time for summer and the beach! I have enjoyed all of her books but this is one of my favorites -- but I think that I say that every time I read one of her books.

Eliza and Adam had been happily married for several years and were spending their vacation on the Isle of Palms with their toddler twin sons when Adam sees Eve - his first love from high school. Eve is at the same vacation complex with her husband Carl and their young daughter. They make plans for the two families to meet for drinks and even though they both tell their spouses that they were friends from high school, neither goes into detail about how deep their love for each other was. Sparks fly between Adam and Eve, even though they are both happily married, and it's apparent to Eliza and Carl that they were more than friends years ago. They manage to build a friendship between the four of them and they meet at the same complex at Isle of Palms every year until something happens years later to ruin the friendship and possibly the marriages. Will they be able to overcome the transgression that appeared to happen and become friends again?

This is a lovely novel about love and friendship and keeping marriages happy as people head into their later years. I enjoyed all four of the characters but thought that Eliza was the most real and the best of the four. She grew more as a character and was able to learn to be herself and love who she was as a person and not just as a wife and mother. I also, as always, loved the setting. I love books about the SC Lowcountry - the beach and the sand and the feeling of being there with the characters always makes me enjoy a book even more.

Buy Same Beach, Next Year at Amazon

About the Author:
Dorothea Benton Frank was born and raised on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the Lowcountry Tales Series which includes the books Sullivan's Island and Plantation. Her title's Porch Lights, The Last Original Wife, The Hurricane Sisters, All the Single Ladies, and All Summer Long made the New York Times bestseller lists in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends.  She 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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May 15, 2017

Great Collection of Stories & Essays ~ Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling

by MK French

Amazon affiliate links are used in this post. A free copy of this book was provided in exchange for a fair review.

Storytelling tropes are recognizable themes that show up in stories. Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling, edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates, upends these tropes, turning them upside down. The first section is the stories themselves, then the second section is essays about storytelling and its impact, as well as a list of the tropes used. It was interesting to see folklore and movie arcs treated with the same literary focus in the essays, though it was an abrupt switch from the fantastical stories in section one.
Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling
February 2017; Apex Book Company; 9781937009441
ebook, print (366 pages); fantasy, anthology

Some of the stories really grabbed me. I was very much impressed by the villanelle that opened section one, as they're difficult to construct but look effortless.

"Single, Singularity" tells of the attempt to observe how machines developed awareness enough to be intelligent, which doesn't go according to plan.

In "Seeking Truth," the blind woman questioning the serial killer is presumed to be psychic but isn't.

"Thwock" is extremely short and chilling.

"Can You Tell Me How to Get to Paprika Place" tells of cyborgs created out of beloved children's television characters that are trying to find their way home. It has moments of morbid humor, as you realize what some of the companies refer to, but is incredibly heart wrenching at the same time.

"The White Dragon" parlays the fear of Chinese people and magic in old San Francisco into a compelling drama.

"Santa CIS (Episode 1: No Saint)" involves the search for missing children by figures from folklore, and as the title implies, reads like the pilot episode of a TV show.

If you're a fan of folklore, fairy tales or heroic tropes, this is a great collection for you.

Buy Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling 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.

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May 14, 2017

A Few More May Books You Should Read

by Susan Roberts

This is a continuation of reviews of the wonderful books that I read that are publishing in May. Be sure to read my reviews of early May releases. Amazon affiliate links are used in this post. ARCs were provided for honest reviews.


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