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December 16, 2017

Review: The Juliet by Laura Ellen Scott

by MK French

The Juliet is a large emerald that had been stolen from an Egyptian tomb. It made its way to the United States, until its rumored final local location in Death Valley. Many people have tried to hunt it down throughout the years, and there are stories that it's cursed. Despite that, people constantly try to hunt down its whereabouts, no matter the cost.

December 15, 2017

Review: An Angel's Alternative by Rick Brindle

by Donna Huber

As I have mentioned a few times, I have a backlog of review books because in the early days of reviewing accepted way more than I could read. I also have a backlog of emails and while going through them I found a few ebooks that the author sent with their request. An Angel's Alternative is one ebook I found hidden in my mound of unread emails so I decided to give it a chance.

December 14, 2017

Review: A Hundred Small Lessons by Ashley Hay

by Susan Roberts

This is an excellent book about love in the past and the present. It's about a house and the way memories seem to be part of the house to be felt by future families who live within its walls.

December 13, 2017

Review: The Red Grouse Tales by Leslie W. P. Garland

by MK French

This is a collection of four novellas told at the Red Grouse Inn, so they're all written in a conversational style of one person telling another the story. This is a nested story-within-a-story and sometimes -within-another-story format, which can make it really difficult to get into. Some of the punctuation felt odd as a result, but I'm not sure if some of the oddity of it is because the author is using British English and I'm more used to American English. The four stories are separate yet do somewhat refer back to other stories in the collection; the theme of rumors, judgment, good vs evil and the choices that people make run throughout all of them.

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

The Red Grouse Tales
December 2015; ebook (385 pages); fantasy
"The Little Dog" especially seems to take its time winding up to a point, and it doesn't quite feel as though we get good explanations for why the other foresters feel off about Stan. His actions are never explained, and the dog of the title remains a mystery as well. There is definitely a supernatural feel to it, a little bit of the otherworldly laid over the reality we know.

That sense continues through the other stories of the collection, though in "The Crow" it seems more creepy and demonic. The nested storytelling is more convoluted in this tale, which made it harder for me to approach the events or feel any kind of emotional connection. There's far less of that in the final two stories, "The White Hart" and "The Golden Tup." It's far easier for me to understand the stories and the interweaving of conversation and existential discussions. Both of these stories have a heartbreaking element to it, though "The White Hart" feels more hopeful and possibly would have been a more uplifting way to conclude the collection.

Buy The Red Grouse Tales 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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December 12, 2017

Review: The Road to Bittersweet by Donna Everhart

by Susan Roberts

Once all the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and you want to relax and read, The Road to Bittersweet is the book that I suggest you read.  It will be available from Amazon on December 26 so if you pre-order it, the book will be there right after the busy holiday.

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

The Road to Bittersweet
December 2017; Kensington; 978-1496709493
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); family life
"...it was like all we'd been doing was traveling down a road towards this bittersweet ending. Nothing could change what we'd been through."

These are thoughts from Wallis Ann Stamper, the 14-year-old main character in The Road to Bittersweet. And what a road she and her family had been down. Living in a rural area in the Appalachian mountains in 1940 with her parents, sister Lacy and baby brother, they lived a hardscrabble life but always had food on the table and love within the family as well as their love of singing. Until the night that the Tuckasegee river overflowed its banks and forced them out of the house that had been in their family for generations.

The family's flight during the flood was one of the scariest things that I've read in a long time.

Wallis Ann survives the flood and starts looking for her family. Miles away from her home, she learns a lot about herself and the world that she had never been part of. The family gets reunited at the site of their home but they continue to struggle as they try to re-build. As the family tries to survive, they have to leave their mountain home and go out into the world where family loyalties are tested and decisions are made that cause horrible repercussions to them all.

Wallis Ann is a fantastic main character. She is strong and can work like a man but she still has the feelings of a young girl. We see the land and the family problems through her watchful eyes and we see her change from innocence to wisdom about life and her family. This is a wonderful novel and I think it will be one of the most read books this winter. The is the second fantastic book by this author and if you haven't read her first book The Education of Dixie Dupree, you need to read it too.

Warning: Be sure to clear your calendar before you start reading The Road to Bittersweet because once you start, you won't want to put it down until you finish. Trust me, there were no meals cooked or cleaning done at my house once I opened this book.

Buy The Road to Bittersweet at Amazon

This is Donna Everhart's second book.   I highly recommend her first book - The Education of Dixie Dupree (Amazon).

The Education of Dixie Dupree

The Education of Dixie Dupree
In Donna Everhart's debut novel, we meet 11-year-old Dixie Dupree in 1969. Dixie lives in Alabama with her parents and her older brother. Her home life is very unstable - her dad drinks too much and her mom is very unhappy in Alabama and longs to return to her home in New Hampshire. In order to try to make sense of her life, Dixie keeps a diary and it becomes the only place that she can share her deepest thoughts and questions about her life and her family without worrying about her mother's anger and punishment. She also copes with her life by telling lies and her family has learned not to believe much that she tells them. So when a situation occurs that really needs to be shared with her mother, she keeps it to herself because she knows that no one will believe her.

This novel covers several very difficult subjects to read about but they are subjects that need to be addressed and discussed.

This is a remarkable book told by an 11-year-old girl who is trying to figure out her family and her life. Dixie is a character that I won't forget.



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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December 11, 2017

Review: The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso #MondayBlogs

by MK French

Magic is such a rare trait in the kingdom of Revarra that practitioners are usually found as children and conscripted right away into military uses for the state. Zaira did manage to escape their attention by hiding in the slums, but it doesn't help keep her out of trouble. In the middle of an outpouring of Zaira's fire magic, she is caught by Amalia Cornaro, heir to The Countess. Amalia was supposed to be a scholar and part of the Council of Nine when old enough to succeed her mother, not a Falconer in charge of a mage. Once the jess was in place, however, there was no escaping the fact that she had to help control Zaira's power, even if she desperately wanted to evade that control. In addition, international tensions are brewing, and Amalia is involved due to her birth and her friendships.

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

The Tethered Mage
October 2017; Orbit; 978-0316466875
audio, ebook, print (480 pages); fantasy
The Tethered Mage is a fascinating read, and I love the concept of magic as it is introduced here. It is dangerous if uncontrolled, especially the powerful and rare kinds. Those that can create magical artifacts aren't considered as dangerous as Zaira, but the applications of their work could be. This is all introduced in a fluid and natural manner; by introducing Amalia into the Falconers, the reader learns about the politics involved in finding those with the mage sign, as well as the implications to "regular" politics now that Amalia has a mage in her control. Whether Amalia actually does or not is irrelevant, it's the perception of it, which clearly mirrors the politics in every era and fantasy realm.

The vague rumblings of war and discontent within the empire are revealed a bit at a time, and Zaira provides a lot of color commentary to Amalia's general and somewhat willful naivete regarding the politics she is expected to navigate. They actually wind up working together after a point, and Amalia is able to use the information she learns from Zaira well.

Amalia's romance of sorts with the lieutenant is at once in character and out of place. She wants to be her own person and not subject to her mother's planning or the responsibilities of her rank, and she is still a teenager. At the same time, I don't get a sense of what really draws her to the lieutenant in a romantic sense. It seems more a basis for friendship than romance as it starts, as well as her own fascination with his history and rank within the Falconers. The character development is excellent, and I love the world created here. I am looking forward to reading the sequel to this when it comes out in April 2018!

Buy The Tethered Mage 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.

December 10, 2017

2 In Person Author Events

by Susan Roberts

I love going to author events and meeting my favorite authors. It's a chance to get to know them better, ask questions, show your support AND have your books signed. The authors that I enjoy meeting are usually at indie bookstores so it's also a chance to visit new bookstores and to buy a few new books. Really, who can visit a bookstore without at least one purchase? I was lucky enough to have two author events close to me during a week in November and was able to attend them both.

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