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September 23, 2017

Meet Tessa Robertson Author of Assassin by Day


Tessa Robertson has been landlocked in the heart of Iowa, USA for the better portion of her life. She grew up on sci-fi and action movies, but isn’t nearly a ninja...yet. Since childhood, writing stories and reading have been a constant. Moonlighting in a law firm, she takes on her favorite cases: criminal. Her stories push the limits of standard characters and explore the thriller facets of romance and action.

In her spare time, Tessa attempts to teach her Australian Shepherd and Golden Retriever new tricks; spends copious time with family; catches up on her favorite shows; and listens to country music.
Currently, Tessa has her debut novel, Assassin By Day, available through Crooked Cat Books.

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Assassin by Day
What would you do if the mystery to your mother’s death lay with your employer?

After years of unanswered questions, Mishka Vald sets out to uncover the skhodka’s involvement in her past. What she doesn’t expect is to join forces with men who push her to become a double-agent and confirm her future. While hunting down leads, the ruthless assassin realizes a life in the shadows is the only way for her to protect those she loves.

For Mishka, forbidden love is worth the pain when it comes to Eddie Harper, a military man turned cop. Her affection waivers when duty comes first and she joins forces with an elite Russian soldier, Alexei Petrovich. With a blackmailer threatening her school love, she seeks refuge with a fellow assassin, Nickolas Volkov. And when pushed too far, she’s ushered to a secure location…and straight into the arms of mysterious handyman, Dylan Kain. As the pieces fall into place, their mangled order reveals each man’s true intention. Whose deceit can she accept and whose will obliterate her?

All roads lead back to the woman she thought dead—her mother. Now, as weddings are crashed and alliances tested, Mishka uncovers a deadly game and the players involved. Her heart, once unable to budge, is thrust into action, but which man can keep her soul intact?

Buy Assassin by Day at Amazon






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September 22, 2017

3 Books About Strong Women

by Susan Roberts


I love reading books about strong women and I have three reviews for you today.  One is about a modern detective in NYC, one about a woman trying to get over a divorce and the last about a woman dying of cancer.  All of the women in these books are strong and capable of overcoming their problems.  Have you read any of these books?

Deadfall (Alexandra Cooper #19) by Linda Fairstein

Deadfall
July 2017; Dutton; 978-1101984048
ebook, audio, print (400 pages); cozy mystery
Many series grow old and readers get tired of the same old formula but I can guarantee you that after 18 previous books, Alexandra Cooper has not gotten old and her character and the plot are as fresh as book 1. Thanks to First to Read for an early copy of this book to read and review.

One of the things that I've liked most about the series is that the author picks a landmark in NYC and along with setting the story there, she shares a lot of information about that location. In this book, the landmark is the Bronx Zoo. As usual, Cooper is investigating a case that she's been told to stay away from. When the DA is killed on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he has come to confront Alex and falls into her after he is shot, she becomes one of the main suspects in the case. Her two good friends from previous books, Mike and Mercer help investigate the case even though they've been told to stay away from it because of their involvement with Alex. As the three of them try to untangle the secrets surrounding the DA's shooting, they get deeper into the case. It's a real page-turner until the end to find out the answer to what has caused the shooting.

Note -- this is a series that really should be read in order because there's a lot in each book that refers back to the previous book. That is especially true with this book because it happens right after book #18.

This is a great fun roller coaster of a read and it's a fantastic series.

Buy Deadfall at Amazon

Cicada Summer by Maureen Leurck 

Cicada Summer
July 2017; Kensington; 978-1496706522
ebook, print (320 pages); women's fiction
"The symbolic meaning of a summer when the cicadas come is one of rebirth and renewal." This novel takes place in Wisconsin during a cicada summer and is a story about rebirth and renewal - both of the house that Alex is renovating and in her personal life.

Alex has been renovating old houses in the three years since her divorce and finally wins the bid on a very old, very trashed older home that she wants to renovate and sell. The house is in terrible shape but she sees so many ways to make it come alive again by really digging in and working hard. Problem after problem happens and the cost of the renovation gets more and more expensive - the house had to be lifted up to re-do the foundation, the roof leaked and destroyed the upper floors and even more. Along with working on the house, Alex is the mom of a 6-year-old and shares custody with her ex-husband. As the summer continues, Alex also finds that she still has feelings for her ex-husband. Can Alex find rebirth and renewal for the house and her past relationship with her husband during this cicada summer?

I loved the characters in this book - Alex is so strong and determined while working on the house yet still questions herself and her decisions that led to her divorce. There is also a lot of information about old houses which I found very interesting. Plus there is a lovely older neighbor next door who adds information about the house but also an interesting mystery to go along with it. This is a great read.

Thanks to Goodreads for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

Buy Cicada Summer at Amazon

Before Everything by Victoria Redel

Before Everything
July 2017; Viking; 978-0735222571
ebook, print (288 pages); women's fiction
Spoiler Alert: this is a sad book so have Kleenex close at hand when you read it!

Before Everything is a book about a woman who is dying of cancer. As the book begins, Anna is in the last few days of her life. As she faces death, she looks back at the good and the bad in her life, worries about her family and her good friends and how they will cope with her loss. But it's also full of lighthearted moments as she reflects on her life and her best friends who have basically abandoned their lives to be at her side and keep her final days full of memories and love. So, yes, it's a sad book but there is an overall feeling of love and friendship and memories that transcend the sadness with the joy of a life well lived.

Buy Before Everything 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 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 21, 2017

Symphony of Heart Strings by T. E. Hodden

by MK French

Bob is the embodiment of the quirks of fate that brings people together. Life is a web of connections, each string making its own note to add to the melody of the world. He finds those strings that resonates together and has them meet, often for romantic relationships. He is tasked with finding Jenny love, but every attempt ends in a discordant note. Finding the reason involves becoming visible to keep her safe.

September 20, 2017

Well-Written: The Way to London: A Novel of World War II by Alix Rickloff

by Susan Roberts

This is a well-written book about WWII and how it affected the lives of the rich. I can promise you that you won't like the main character at the beginning of the book - she is sarcastic and rude and a real elitist who doesn't care how other people live or how the war is changing their lives. Don't let your feelings towards her, affect your decision to continue reading this book. I think that the author deliberately made her unlikable to show how she changes throughout the book. When you finish this book, you'll be glad that you read it and left with a memory of a strong female character.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. 

The Way to London
September 2017; William Morrow; 978-0062433206
ebook, print (384 pages); historical fiction
The book begins in Singapore, where spoiled and pampered Lucy is living the life of luxury with little thought about the oncoming war. After a possible scandal involving her, she is exiled to London to live with an aunt that she barely knows. On the way to London, the transport ship that she is on is torpedoed and she arrives at her aunt's with none of her beautiful clothes. Her aunt's huge home is now being used by the military as a hospital and she isn't at all happy about the rules that she is forced to follow. On a whim, she decides to help a young evacuee return to London to find his mom.

What should have been a one-day trip, ends up taking weeks and once she gets to London, it's not the beautiful and extravagant London that she remembers. Will Lucy grow up and accept life like it is during these war years or will she continue to yearn for her extravagant and pampered lifestyle from earlier? Her decision affects not only her but other people in her world who have come to know the real Lucy and why she acts the way that she does.

This is a lovely book about the changes being brought about by war and about finding happiness no matter what you have to leave behind.

Buy The Way to London at Amazon

About the Author:

Critically acclaimed author of historical and paranormal romance, Alix Rickloff’s family tree includes a knight who fought during the Wars of the Roses (his brass rubbing hangs in her dining room), and a soldier who sided with Charles I during the English Civil War (hence the family's hasty emigration to America).

Her previous novels include the Bligh Family series (Kensington), the Heirs of Kilronan trilogy (Pocket), and, as Alexa Egan, the Imnada Brotherhood series (Pocket). Her latest historical, SECRETS OF NANREATH HALL (William Morrow), is set to release in August 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 her on Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter.


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 19, 2017

Necrospect: Chronicles of the Wizard-Detective by J. B. Markes

by MK French

Isabel Ives is an apprentice at the Academy Magus, a school for all kinds of magic and is a city unto itself. The Archseer was murdered, but is more focused on her own difficulties in the beginning, because using magic will kill her slowly. She looks for Gustobald Pitch, the necromancer on campus, who is occupied with discovering who murdered the Archseer. She is drawn into his search without really meaning to be, putting her academic future into jeopardy.

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

Necrospect
April 2017; 978-1544139029;
ebook, print (248 pages); horror, dark fantasy
I was more drawn into the characters and the atmosphere than the mystery, so I didn't do a good job of guessing who the killer was.

I liked Isabel, even in her sulky moments, though she certainly had good reason to snap at her friends. She's dying, is caught up in the prejudice and anger directed at Gustobald, and is disillusioned with the superiors at the Academy. We meet her just as her entire world has been upended, whereas Gustobald has his eclectic behavior more or less as a shield. He is rude and difficult to like most of the time, but like Isabel is interested in the search for truth and justice.

The concept of a wizard detective is a great one to play with, and we certainly get the feel of their investigation as they search the crime scenes for clues, follow up on leads, and magically look for evidence. That never gets old, and the dramatic finale was fun to read.

Buy Necrospect: Chronicles of the Wizard-Detective 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 18, 2017

Review: If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

by Susan Roberts


I received a copy of this book from the publisher and didn't realize that it was a YA book until I read the blurb.  My first thought was to put it down -- I don't read YA.  Then I decided to try the first 50 pages - after all a lot of my adult friends read YA - just to see what it was like.  After that, I read another 50 and then kept turning pages until I got to the end and I realized that I had been disliking a genre of books that I'd never even tried to read.  I've decided that it's time to expand my horizons and try some different genres.

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

If There's No Tomorrow
September 2017; Harlequin Teen; 978-0373212224
ebook, audio, print (384 pages); YA, peer pressure
Lena is ready to start her senior year in high school. She has several great girlfriends to hang around with and they tell each other everything. Lena isn't much of a party girl - she'd prefer to stay home on the weekend and read. She has a major crush on the boy next door and even though she has known Sebastian for almost her whole life, he still treats her like a kid sister so she keeps her crush a secret.

One night at a party, Lena makes a life-altering decision that will change her future and those of her friends in ways that can never be made right again. After that, Lena quits looking ahead to tomorrow...she doesn't want to go back to school or finish her college applications and she doesn't know if she can live with herself in the future.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

This is a well-told coming of age story about a problem that happens every day when a bad decision is made but it's more than that -- it's about a mistake that anyone could make at any time in their lives - not just during their teen years - and a story of how to deal with the guilt after a bad decision.

Buy If There's No Tomorrow at Amazon

About the Author

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in West Virginia. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write. She shares her home with her husband, his K-9 partner named Diesel and her hyper Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent her time writing short stories, therefore explaining her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes Young Adult Contemporary, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and Romance. She writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J.Lynn.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press) the Lux Series (Entangled Teen) and the upcoming YA Don’t Look Back (2014) and untitled YA (Fall 2014) from Disney/Hyperion. She is also published with Harlequin Teen and HarperCollins.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Also available at Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble


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.


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 17, 2017

Don't Miss This Book: The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall

Both MK French and I (Donna) read The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall, which hits shelves on Tuesday. We thought you might like to get both of our perspectives so here is a double review.




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


Review by MK French

The Best Kind of People
September 2017; Ballantine Books
9780399182211; ebook, audio, print (448 pages)
women's fiction
The Woodbury had a charmed life in Avalon Hills. George was a respected teacher at the prep school his daughter Sadie attended, and was celebrated as a hero when a gunman had tried to enter the school. Joan was a hard working ER nurse. Their son Andrew was a lawyer in New York City. It all came to a crashing halt when George was arrested for sexual misconduct and then held in jail without bail until the trial. The entire town became polarized, and his own family wasn't sure of his innocence.

The story is very emotionally gripping, dealing more with the fallout for the rest of the family. We see very little of George, so he's more a cipher in the story. I suppose we're meant to come to our own conclusions about his guilt or innocence, as the town decries the accusers, call the family horrible names, or emotionally supports the rest of the Woodburys.

We don't really hear much about the preparations for the trial, even peripherally, and much of Andrew's story thread feels off somehow. He seems to teeter between extremes, which is certainly a valid response to stress, but I couldn't connect with him at all.

More attention seems to be paid to Sadie and Joan, and their struggle to deal with the accusations, the treatment from reporters and others in the community, as well as each others' emotions. How they cope and what they feel is so finely drawn, the epilogue fizzles in comparison.

Overall, this is a gripping, engaging read, and I raced through it as fast as I could.


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.

Review by Donna Huber

I did not want to put this book down. The Best Kind of People deals with the difficult, complex issue of sexual assault. The actual case against George Woodbury is mostly in the background. Instead, the book focuses on the family.

How would you react if the person you love, raised children with, and are looking forward to spending retirement with was suddenly arrested for sexual misconduct? That is what wife Joan is trying to figure out. What if the man who saved you and the rest of school from a crazed gunman was suddenly accused by your classmates as a sexual predator? That is what daughter Sadie is dealing with.

George Woodbury is a popular and prominent member of the Avalon Hills community. He teaches at the local private school where girls from a class skip trip have accused him of being inappropriate. The town is naturally divided between supporting Teacher of the Year and the girls. To bring this closer to home, Joan's sister Clara is on the side of the girls while son Andrew, at least initially, is on George's side.

I felt divided throughout the novel on whether George did it or if the girls are lying. What I was sure of is that I felt bad for Joan and Sadie as they had to deal with the fallout of the accusations. Whittall did a great job of creating sympathetic characters.

The story is subtly multi-layered. The subplots with Sadie almost feel like foils to what might have happened on the ski trip. First, there is the attraction she develops to an older man after misinterpreting his interest in her. And then there is the party with the "townies". She gets so drunk that she can't remember what happened. Yet, while there is evidence of her having sex she doesn't cry rape.

Andrew, while a member of the immediate family, I felt was more of a peripheral character. His subplots seem to bit disconnected from the main plot. I wondered if there was something I was missing, or if the author was just trying to give more life to the character. When his father is first arrested Andrew is staunchly in his corner even though there is a suggestion of a strained relationship between them. Is their strained relationship because Andrew is gay? Then there is the revelation that Andrew had a relationship with his gym teacher while a student at the private school. And finally his rocky relationship with current boyfriend Jared. It felt like Andrew felt the most removed of the fallout from George's arrest, though it may have brought to light his issues. He and Clara are neck and neck on the character I lest cared for.

As it is mentioned several times in the book, this issue isn't black and white. I thought Whittall did a great job exploring the complexities of the issue and not shying away from the gray areas.

Overall this is a great, thought-provoking book. If you are in a book club, definitely put it on your schedule. I hate calling books timely, but this is definitely a topic that needs to be talked about today.

Buy The Best Kind of People  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, 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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