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September 16, 2017

Featured Book: An Equation For Murder by Jayne Nichols

An Equation for Murder
A Confident Man • A Beautiful Woman • A Desperate Drug Lord

Lillian Moore, the widow of a retired US Navy Captain, thinks her life adds up to a big fat zero. But she gets more than she counts on when she returns to college and meets her mathematics professor, Sam Weiss. She is looking for adventure, not romance. Especially with someone twelve years her junior.

The adventure goes from complex to deadly when an ancient Mayan Jaguar mask unexpectedly falls into Lillian’s hands. The mask is believed to have supernatural powers, and a dying Mexican drug lord will do whatever it takes to recover the prize—including murder.

While Sam and Lillian calculate the risks of a serious romance, the drug lord sends his henchmen after the mask. Lillian is forced to drive across the border into Mexico with an increasingly unstable captor. Can Sam decipher the clues and reach her in time to save her from certain death, or will they both become part of An Equation For Murder?

Buy An Equation for Murder at Amazon


Just the right amount of romance mixed with suspense and intrigue. ~ LadyS

Amazing romantic thriller ~ Pamela R Mitchell

I thoroughly enjoyed this fun and suspenseful story with great characters, romance, and intrigue. ~ blingsupreme




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September 15, 2017

New Release: The Spirit Mage by Layton Green

by Donna Huber

The highly anticipated release of the sequel to The Brothers Three (read my review) is here! Picking up right where book 1 left off it is full steam ahead with non-stop danger for these three brothers who are transported to another universe.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

September 2017; Cloaked Traveler Press
ebook, print; fantasy
If you haven't read book 1 in the Blackwood Brothers Saga, then you should read it first. (And until September 22, both books 1 and 2 are on sale for only $2.99 each). With the addition of two characters from our world, there is a rapid fire replay of the events of The Brothers Three for their benefit (and any reader needing the refresher). While efficient, it was not subtle.

I love that Layton Green can pull a reader into the story and keep them turning pages. I'm not big on the fantasy genre but I didn't want to put this book down.

Caleb and Will are separated from older brother Val at the end of book 1 when they are transported back to the parallel (sort of) universe of Urfe. Along with them came Caleb's sometimes girlfriend Yasmina. Val is left to find his own way back to Urfe to rescue them.

One of the reasons I wanted to read huge chunks of this story at a time was because there are 3 different storylines in this book - Caleb, Will, and Yasmina as they try to make their way to New Victoria; Val as he arrives in New Victoria to train as a wizard and try to find his brothers; and then there is Mala who finds herself in 'the place between worlds' with a Majitsu. As the chapters rotate between these plots you are anxious to get back to the other characters as they are all in danger.

Green spends a bit more time on world building in this volume and while there is still some references to other fantasy universes, I felt that he was making Urfe his own.

Of course, we are once again left with a cliff hanger at the end so again I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment. Remember you can start this series today (through 9/22) by picking up The Brothers Three for just $2.99.

Buy The Spirit Mage 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.

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September 14, 2017

Engaging Historical Novel: Botticelli's Muse by Dorah Blume

by MK French

Sandro Botticelli is an artist with Medici patrons in 1477 Florence. He is concerned with Beauty more than the Soul, even though his sister is a nun. This changes when he sees Floriana, the Jewish weaver imprisoned in the nunnery due to circumstances out of her control. She becomes the muse for his painting La Primavera, and the relationship between the two develops even as the political climate in Florence takes on a dangerous note.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Botticelli's Muse
July 2017; Juiceboxartists Press; 978-0998131603
ebook, print; historical fiction
Ms. Blume didn't just write an engaging historical novel, she illustrated it.

There are miniature drawings at the beginnings of chapters and in between scene breaks. The pictures flesh out the visuals for the time period and give us a glimpse at the physical appearances of the characters.

All of them are painfully human here, and the day to day life within Florence is described in such detail it's almost like Botticelli's paintings are being recreated in words.

The pace is steady, and we gradually get to know all of the people and the relationships they have with each other. While the novel takes place over the year, split into the seasons, it doesn't feel as though it drags at all. Every time I put down the book to do something else I had to do, I wanted to go back and see what else happened. It could be because the chapters are relatively short but full of description and emotional energy.

Buy Botticelli's Muse 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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September 13, 2017

Review of Borne by Jeff Vandermeer #SciFi

by Alison DeLuca

We're about to go on a family vacation, and as usual, my first travel purchase is books. I need novels for the plane, for hotel room time, wait in line time...

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site.

front cover of Borne by Jeff VandermeerI recently purchased Borne by Jeff Vandermeer. Part science fiction, part post-apocalyptic, the book sucked me until the very end.

It's the story of Rachael, a scavenger who lives in the Balcony Cliffs. Overhead, an immense bear calls Mord flies over the city. When he lands, Rachael climbs his fur and steals the biotech MOrd has picked up.

Borne is one of these, a piece of biotech stolen from a giant bear's fur.

If this sounds too strange, I have to tell you Rachael and Borne fascinated me. I had to keep reading to find out what would happen between them. Borne, who looks like a vase with tentacles, grows rapidly and starts to try to be human. Rachael sees him as child, perhaps - an oddly-shaped animal with immense powers.

As Borne grows, Rachael's relationship with him changes. There was one moment when I grew teary - positively teary over what was about to happen. Throughout, Borne and Rachael both butt heads with Wick, Rachael's lover.

Honestly, I never thought I'd be so invested in a tentacled creature with lots of eyes. But Vandermeer makes Borne come alive, speaking in childlike yet intelligent cadence. In the end, I cared desperately what would happen to the funny little piece of biotech.

Vandermeer breaks his novel into sections with simple yet provocative titles: Where I Lived, And Why, Why I Called Him Borne and How He Changed. Each heading sucked me in, making me gobble the book so I could find out what happened.

Furthermore, a second reading made me realize the entire story has complicated layers AND a possible alternate view suggested by Wick's job - and that's the only hint I'll give.

After reading Borne, I now want to get everything Jeff Vandermeer ever wrote. Luckily, he's a prolific author with as series, the Southern Trilogy, already published.

So now I know what I'm going to read on the plane.

Buy Borne 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.




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September 12, 2017

New Release: Curses and Warfare by Jeri Baird

by MK French

In this sequel to Tokens and Omens (read my review), the twins Alexa and Zander have taken on their respective roles of fortune teller's apprentice and warrior trainer. There is little concern from the Elders about a possible invasion from another tribe that was driven from their homeland. They don't believe in Zander's role, and his attempts to make the villagers believe backfire. It's hard for him to be a leader, especially when he is so unsure of himself. Alexa has the confidence, but not the subtleties in her magical skill.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Curses and Warfare
September 2017; Jolly Fish Press; 978-1631631269
ebook, print (312 pages); fantasy
It was nice to see the characters from the first novel. There are some signs of growth and change in the year since the events of the first book, but they're also still teenagers. There are mistakes made that are reasonable for their points of view and knowledge. There was far more preparation and politicking than actual warfare in this novel, so the actual fighting feels almost anticlimactic after all of the build up.

That's not necessarily a bad thing because a YA novel wouldn't need to have more grisly battle scenes. There's enough loss and death, enough strained relationships and tears. It's difficult to be a leader and do the right thing, so we see the struggles that the twins go through, and learn from their mistakes. The end of the book concludes with Moira's musing on the future again, hinting at more adventures for Alexa.

Buy Curses and Warfare 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, sign up today! 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.

September 11, 2017

Psychological Suspense at Its Best! Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison

by Susan Roberts


Lie to Me is a wonderful book that kept me reading on into the night. I had a clue early in the book of the person responsible but was I ever wrong! This book has more twists and turns than you can imagine and just when you get a clue, it turns out to be false and replaced by an even bigger twist to the story. You are going to read comparisons to Gone Girl in many reviews but this book is so much better and more interesting. When you start this book make sure that you can clear your calendar because you won't want to put it down.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this link. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Lie To Me
September 2017; MIRA; 978-0778313649;
ebook, audio, print (416 pages); thriller
As the novel begins, Ethan finds a note from his wife that says she's left and not to try to look for her. Ethan is shocked to find that her wallet, laptop, and phone are still in her home office so immediately thinks that someone has abducted her. As he thinks back on their lives together and their love for each other, the reader can tell that he is leaving out crucial information but we don't know what it all has to do with her being gone. Once he calls the police, they immediately decide that he is responsible for his wife's disappearance and possible death. Because Ethan and Sutton are both well known authors, the media arrives on his front door and camps out and the search for Sutton becomes an international story. And when Sutton's friends are interviewed by the police, a totally different story about their lives together emerges. Have their lives been a perfect love story as Ethan would have the world believe or are there secrets that both have kept from the world and from each other?

Read this perfectly done suspense thriller for the answer and be prepared to be kept guessing until almost the end.

This is my first book by JT Ellison and I think it's time to go back and read some of her earlier books. To me, this was psychological suspense at its best!

Buy Lie to Me at Amazon

About the Author: 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison writes standalone domestic noir and psychological thriller series, the latter starring Nashville Homicide Lt. Taylor Jackson and medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens, and pens the international thriller series “A Brit in the FBI" with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. Cohost of the Emmy Award-winning literary television series, A Word on Words, Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.
Website | Facebook | Twitter




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 her on Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter.


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September 10, 2017

A Collection of Macabre Stories: Come As You Are by Steven Ramirez

by MK French

"Come As You Are" is the title novella in this collection of macabre stories. Ivan Stein and his best friend Ollie are bullied in school and often run off the skate park by older kids. When Ivan finds a notebook in an abandoned locker that seems to be the key to power, he takes it despite his misgivings. Unfortunately, the power is demonic in nature and doesn't discriminate who falls in its path. It's understandable that Ivan would grab hold of any hope to get past the bullies and survive seventh grade, even if it's otherworldly. Knowing others' secrets at first seems rather innocent, but completing the list in the notebook takes on a more dangerous turn, and Ivan's soul hangs in the balance. The end of the story was a bit of a stretch, and not one I would have predicted when starting the novella, but definitely was vividly done.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Come As You Are
September 2017; Glass Highway; 978-0999079119
ebook, print (208 pages); horror
The other stories in this collection are shorter but no less creepy.

"Nailed It" takes OCD to a fairly grisly extreme, and "Brown the Recluse" is even more disconcerting for anyone terrified of spiders.

I find it a little hard to feel sorry for Regino by the end of "Regino Sings," even though he starts off the story with one bad event after another. I suppose it's the feeling that he took advantage of the ability given to him, and didn't stop to think of any consequences. Perhaps that's the worst part of some of these stories: some of the horrific consequences could have been avoided if the characters could only stop and think. Some of them can't escape their fate, no matter what comes to them, and it is chilling to read about.

This book might be released in September, but it's definitely fitting for Halloween and the upcoming chill of winter.

Buy Come As You Are 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, sign up today! 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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