Readers' Favorite

June 1, 2012

June Books for Your TBR Pile

Here are some of the June's new releases in ebook, hardcover, and paperback.

Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle (Kiwi Series #4) by Vickie Johnstone
June 2012

Follow the continuing adventures of Kiwi in the fourth book in the series which also includes Kiwi in Cat City, Kiwi and the Missing Magic, and Kiwi and the Living Nightmare.

Add Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle to your Goodreads shelf.

Clean Break by David Klein
paperback & ebook
June 5, 2012 from Crown Publishing Group

A riveting tale of psychological suspense about a woman who finds herself
in an impossible situation 

Lured by the hope of a better life for herself and her son, Celeste Vanek must deal with the emotional and physical resistance of her compulsive gambler husband when she asks for a divorce. Though she hopes she is on the verge of making a clean break, her husband demands his family back, and things get violent. Jake Atwood, who witnesses the shocking scene between Celeste and her husband, struggles with his own emotional and ethical issues while attempting to help Celeste escape her marriage. At the same time, Jake is involved with Sara, a married and childless police detective who has a private agenda to pursue when a crime is committed that links all of these characters together and changes their lives forever. With heart-pounding suspense and brilliant psychological insight, CLEAN BREAK will leave readers breathless.

Add Clean Break to your Goodreads shelf.

Little Night by Luanne Rice
Hardcover, ebook & audio
June 5, 2012 from Pamela Dorman Books

An emotionally gripping family drama from beloved New York Times bestseller Luanne Rice 

Clare Burke’s life took a devastating turn when she tried to protect her sister, Anne, from an abusive and controlling husband and ended up serving prison time for assault. The verdict largely hinged on Anne’s defense of her spouse—all lies—and the sisters have been estranged ever since. Nearly twenty years later, Clare is living a quiet life in Manhattan as an urban birder and nature blogger, when her niece, Grit, turns up on her doorstep.

The two long for a relationship with each other, but they’ll have to dig deep into their family’s difficult past in order to build one. Together they face the wounds inflicted by Anne and find in their new connection a place of healing. When Clare begins to suspect her sister might be in New York, she and her niece hold out hope for a long-awaited reunion with her.

Add Little Night to your Goodreads shelf.

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier
Hardcover & ebook
June 5, 2012 from Crown Publishing Group

Before there were blogs, there were journals. And in them we’d write as we really were, not as we wanted to appear. But there comes a day when journals outlive us. And with them, our secrets.

Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth's journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew.

The complicated portrait of Elizabeth—her troubled upbringing, and her route to marriage and motherhood—makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage. 

The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was, and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional, and the legacy she herself would want to leave behind. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn’t know about her friend, including where she was really going on the day she died.

Set in the anxious summer after the September 11th attacks, this story of two women—their friendship, their marriages, private ambitions and fears—considers the aspects of ourselves we show and those we conceal, and the repercussions of our choices.

Add The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. to your Goodreads shelf.
Glass Block by D. Kai Wilson-Viola
June 15, 2012

When Big Brother fell out of popularity in the early part of the 21st century it was replaced with ever more ‘realistic’ reality TV shows, till the need for this was replaced with a need for fantasy. In an attempt to resurrect the old format some die hard fans filmed themselves locked in with a recently released murderer. The person to get out got the money from the stream sales at the end. Needless to say they were slaughtered.

Word of this spread on the internet and a ‘sanctioned’ version by the UCPS (United coalition of Prison Services) was established. Brought in from Darkness, one of the cities providing most of the prisoners, most of which he’d been responsible for collaring, Elliot Peters is forced into a nightmare world where the walls are made of glass and people vote as to whether you survive.

Add Glass Block to your Goodreads shelf.

A World Apart (The Elencheran Chronicles) by David M. Brown
ebook & paperback
June 16, 2012

Demetrius makes his first mistake when he lets his best friend Halcyon marry Eleyna, the love of his life, without saying a word. On the day of the wedding, he walks away from the Elencheran town of Dove's Meadow and joins the army.

He makes his second mistake when the pirate Black Iris tricks him into letting dozens of men, women and children die in a fire. Demetrius is imprisoned in grief and disgrace.

But he can atone. The Black Iris is dead. The Ivory Rose has risen to the top of the pirates and is leading brutal raids on the coast. If Demetrius can capture and kill her, he'll win his pardon.

And then Demetrius discovers the Ivory Rose is Eleyna. He must decide which will be his third mistake: Losing his last chance at a pardon, or destroying the one woman he's ever loved.

Previous books in The Elencheran Chronicles includes Fezariu's Epiphany.
Add A World Apart to your Goodreads shelf. 

Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes
June 19, 2012 from St. Martin's Press

Anita Hughes' Monarch Beach is an absorbing debut novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and lifewhat it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again.

When Amanda Blick, a young mother and kindhearted San Francisco heiress, finds her gorgeous French chef husband wrapped around his sous-chef, she knows she must flee her life in order to rebuild it. The opportunity falls into her lap when her (very lovable) mother suggests Amanda and her young son, Max, spend the summer with her at the St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. With the waves right outside her windows and nothing more to worry about than finding the next relaxing thing to do, Amanda should be having the time of her life—and escaping the drama. But instead, she finds herself faced with a kind, older divorcee who showers her with attention… and she discovers that the road to healing is never simple. This is the sometimes funny, sometimes bitter, but always moving story about the mistakes and discoveries a woman makes when her perfect world is turned upside down. 

Add Monarch Beach to your Goodreads shelf.

All information and cover images are courtesy of

Your Turn: What book are you most looking forward to coming out this month (doesn't have to be one on this list)? Would you like a monthly round-up of new releases feature on my blog?

If you have a book coming out in July and would like it included in this new feature please fill out the form here.
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May 31, 2012

Tips on Thursday: BlogTalkRadio

Many bloggers are looking for ways to expand their blogs and better connect with not only their readers, but connect readers with authors. One way that bloggers are doing this is through BlogTalkRadio. I've listened to a few shows, scheduled many more for authors who I've worked with and think it's a great idea. Unfortunately, it is not something I've found time to explore myself so I have asked my friend, author, and fellow blogger Coral Russell of Alchemy of Scrawl to share some tips for getting started with BlogTalkRadio. Please give a warm Girl Who Reads welcome to Coral.
Image representing Blog Talk Radio as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase

BlogTalkRadio - You have something to say! 

I've been fortunate to go through many different 'career' moves. I've enjoyed all of them to one extent or another. Teaching English to students whose first language is not English was one of them. I started in Korea, but, and this seems to be a pattern, it took me another ten years to become a real teacher in the US.

The Internet provides tons of resources for students and teachers. My list of resources was long and overwhelming to the point where I couldn't find anything. So I made a website and listed them. Then I stumbled on BlogTalkRadio and thought the idea of having an English teaching show would be fun.

The program setup was very easy. And then, I did nothing. I forgot about it really because I had no idea where to start.

Life happens and I ended up moving to be closer with family. I taught online for about six months but I didn't need to get a regular teaching job. I turned to fiction writing because that was something I'd always wanted to do. Enter right time, right place.

The eBook was revolutionizing the publishing industry and freeing up authors to find their audience no matter the size while book blogging and the need for it exploded. People started following my show. Only I didn't have a show. I figured I needed to start one so I asked Indie authors if I could interview them. They were shy at first but then the idea took off.

BlogTalkRadio is free to set up and you should start with a free show to make sure this is something you are happy spending time doing. If you're international or not, you will call in on a long-distance US line. Skype and Planet Talk are two viable alternatives and a connection from as far away as India has worked.

Premium has its perks. BlogTalkRadio will do some advertising for you which has increased the show rating. They have a BTR University that gives invaluable information if you want to expand the reach of your show.

Join their Affiliate program to earn some money from your shows.

Offer interviews for links to your show.

Most authors are happy to promote their show and you will see the difference in total 'Listens' to the show.

As with all things these days, social media counts. If you don't have a growing social media presence, build one.

Have fun! It comes across in the show.

Used Linkedin to promote your show.

Use SEO to make sure your show is being seen by your target audience. Oh yeah, decide who your target audience is.

And goof ups will happen!

I had to take my teenager to the Doctor. I figured I would go ahead and call-in and do the show from the waiting room but I forgot to write down my ID number. I called the author to explain and found out he was very sick too and wouldn't be able to make it.

BTR was acting funny and kicked me off my own show. Luckily the author was a good speaker and kept right on talking. I had to go back and listen to the interview later!

I've accidentally hung up during a show.

My phone was dead. I mean really dead. So dead it took ten minutes to get even a little bit of a charge so I was very late calling in.

When interviewing famous people write down your questions. I pride myself on being off-the-cuff and felt like I'd been doing this long enough to handle it. I was wrong. I forgot to ask the one burning question I had on my mind because I was too nervous and excited during the interview.

If a person doesn't show up or is late. Cook! I turn my show into a cooking show or do some other equally mundane thing. A lot of times international callers will have a harder time phoning in on time and even if they plan to be early, the service they're trying to use makes them late.

Did I mention have fun? We all have something we're burning to say and BlogTalkRadio is an easy way to get started for free. Who knows, you may be the next Dr. Phil.

Be sure to check out the Book Bloggers' Collaborative BlogTalkRadio show on Fridays. Also visit Alchemy of Scrawl at its new home.

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May 30, 2012

Totally Consumed by Broken

Broken by Susan J. Bigelow
Published January 2011 by Candlemark & Gleam
ISBN13: 9781936460014
Read May 2012
Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon

I was so totally consumed from the start with this story that I did not notice a glob of ketchup falling in my lap. I was reading while eating lunch, which I do often, but never have I dropped food on me and not noticed. I think had the table next to me not starting laughing I wouldn't have noticed until I walked out of the restaurant. I sure hope they weren't laughing at me - it was a big glob of ketchup though.

I had been hearing about the books from Candlemark & Gleam from a twitter chat I participate in. The books would be mentioned, but not titles. I knew they published books that were a little off from mainstream, but I was intrigued. I also thought it was odd that they never approached me to review. I started talking to Kate via email and finally convince her that I really wanted to try some of their books. 

She was right about them not really be the kind of books I would have picked out for myself (well at least Broken as I haven't read the other one yet). Broken is about superheros (kind of like the television show Heros). The setting is post-apocalpytic type society in the US. I've read a few other books set during this time. I think I enjoy this time period the best for my sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction type novels. I think Broken is the first book I've read that has the ruling government in Australia though.
Cover of "The Incredibles [UMD for PSP]"
Cover of The Incredibles [UMD for PSP]

Like I said this story really captivated my attention and had me attention totally consumed. I had to know what happened and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I had a little chuckle every time they mentioned  Sky Ranger's cape. I kept hearing Edna from the Incredibles saying "NO CAPES!" (if you don't know what I'm talking about here is a clip on Youtube).

I wonder if there will be more books about these heros. At times, it seemed that the author was attempting to make a social statement, but never fully did. If there are more books planned then I could see that it was just a primer to the issues that will be taken on in the continuing story. Otherwise, it felt like the author wanted to comment on a social issue, but didn't really want to take a stand or fully explore the implications. One of the reasons I like reading books set post-apocalyptic is because of the ability to ask what ifs and the discussion that can come out of exploring the impact of our own moral and societal decisions.

Outside of that complaint, I really enjoyed the book. It was not something I normally would have chosen for myself, but that's why I love reviewing books - I definitely have expanded my reading horizons since I started this blog. So if you are thinking from the description that the story maybe a little too off the deep end for your realistic reading taste, take the leap. It's summer, try something different. You might just like it; I did.

Your Turn: This is my first time reading a book about superheros (at least as an adult). Are superheros just for kid books or do you like them in your adult reading, too?

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May 29, 2012

Want more: Lowcountry Punch

Lowcountry Punch by Boo Walker
Published October 2011
Read May 2011
Goodreads, Amazon

I really enjoyed Lowcountry Punch. Typically southern fiction is not my thing, but it is modern day crime story so it really worked for me. I also liked that I knew of the places (some I've been to) that were mentioned in the book.

The whole time I was reading it, I thought this book would make a great television show. In the opening pages, I got a bit of Miami Vice vibe. T. A. Reddick is a DEA undercover agent and the story is told from his point of view. I really liked his character. It is well-rounded. Though he's federal agent, he is all hard and edgy. He has a softer side that you see when he talks about music and art. And boy, does he have women trouble. I think the women trouble is more why I thought it would make great television than the crime he is solving. Can you imagine being in a relationship (or trying to start a relationship) with an undercover agent?

That does not mean the story is focused more on his relationships. On the contrary. The drug case is front and center. Boo does a great job of interweaving the characters so that the web of interconnected relationship is not blatant but also not ridiculous.

Boo crafts a well-written crime thriller, but it is his characters that really steel the show. You're going to want more, too. Thankfully the ending is left open enough that perhaps Boo will let us revisit Charlestion and T. A. Reddicks wild adventures in crime and love.

While crime novels are not typically the genre one thinks of as a beach read, Lowcountry Punch would make a great book to read while lounging on the beach or by the pool. I want more of T. A. and his stories of music, women, and crime in the hot and humid lowcountry and so will you.

Your turn: What's your favorite crime novel or southern fiction? Do you think a crime novel can make a good "beach read"?
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May 28, 2012

Vlog #15: Summer Reading


The Line Between Here and Gone by Andrea Kane
Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
The man she loved is gone forever. The child she lives for could be next. Each day is a struggle for Amanda Gleason's newborn son as he battles a rare immune deficiency. Justin's best chance for a cure lies with his father, who was brutally murdered before Amanda even realized she carried his child. Or was he? One emailed photo changes everything, planting a seed of doubt that Amanda latches on to for dear life: a recent photo of a man who looks exactly like Paul. Could Justin's father be alive? The mother in her is desperate to find out. But tracking down a ghost when every second counts is not for amateurs. Forensic Instincts is the one team up for the challenge. A behaviorist. A former navy SEAL. A techno-wizard. An intuitive. A retired FBI agent. A human-scent-evidence dog. Together, they achieve the impossible, pushing ethical and legal boundaries whenever the ends justify the means. The manhunt is on for the elusive father. Yet the further FI digs into his past, the more questions are raised about whether the man Amanda fell in love with ever really existed at all. Dark secrets. Carefully crafted lies. From the Congressional halls of Washington, D.C., to exclusive Hamptons manors, there are ruthless people who would stop at nothing to make Forensic Instincts forget about the man  Amanda desperately needs to find.  Little do they realize that once Forensic Instincts takes the case, nothing will stop them from uncovering the shocking truth that transcends The Line Between Here and Gone."Andrea Kane sets new standards for suspense."-Lisa Gardner  "Kane kicks off Forensic Instincts, her new series about a team of maverick investigators, with this fascinating story with sharply drawn characters, fast-paced dialogue, dark and dangerous minds-brilliant methodology and the types of cases. From
Sex, Life & Hannah (Vol. 2) by Dorota Skrzypek
Goodreads, Amazon
Shake, rattle, and roll! But don’t skip a word because you’ll be hanging on to each one as you crack open this roller coaster ride.

The SLH Spring Season is the continuation of Hannah’s fall from perfect twenty-something grace. As she heads toward every new ray of light, she seems to fall into a black hole—which is enough to make anyone a little jaded. Hannah’s run-in with The Ex is more about icing her nose than melting her heart; she seems to be making all the wrong decisions about all the right men; and Mr. Smyth turns out to be the tall, dark, sophisticated older man she thought he was…with just one problem. The unexpected twists would drive any woman to the opposite side of “nice girl”, which is exactly what happens to Hannah. But it doesn’t mean a bad girl can’t have some fun along the way. From

 Monarch Beach by Anita Hughes
Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
Anita Hughes' Monarch Beach is an absorbing debut novel about one woman’s journey back to happiness after an affair splinters her perfect marriage and lifewhat it means to be loved, betrayed and to love again.

When Amanda Blick, a young mother and kindhearted San Francisco heiress, finds her gorgeous French chef husband wrapped around his sous-chef, she knows she must flee her life in order to rebuild it. The opportunity falls into her lap when her (very lovable) mother suggests Amanda and her young son, Max, spend the summer with her at the St. Regis Resort in Laguna Beach. With the waves right outside her windows and nothing more to worry about than finding the next relaxing thing to do, Amanda should be having the time of her life—and escaping the drama. But instead, she finds herself faced with a kind, older divorcee who showers her with attention… and she discovers that the road to healing is never simple. This is the sometimes funny, sometimes bitter, but always moving story about the mistakes and discoveries a woman makes when her perfect world is turned upside down. From

Lowcountry Punch by Boo Walker
Goodreads, Amazon
After the worst Christmas Eve of his life, DEA Agent T.A. Reddick leaves Miami for the magical city of Charleston, South Carolina, hoping a return to his roots will heal a broken heart and the guilt of killing a friend. The sleepy and sultry town of Charleston is filled with echoes of the Old South: genteel playboys, society debutantes, and quiet cobblestone streets. But as Reddick will soon discover, there's danger lurking under her charming veneer. When a movie star's death shines a national spotlight on Charleston's underground cocaine trade, he must go undercover to find the main supplier and shut him down. As a hurricane bears down on the port city and the DEA gets ready to spring its trap, Reddick must contend with more than he ever could have imagined.

Brash and bold, TA Reddick is a hero you won’t soon forget. Lowcountry Punch is an action-packed novel that will have you on your knees begging for more. From

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon 
See Review HERE 
Juggling the demands of her yarn shop and single-handedly raising a teenage daughter has made Georgia Walker grateful for her Friday Night Knitting Club. Her friends are happy to escape their lives too, even for just a few hours. But when Georgia's ex suddenly reappears, demanding a role in their daughter's life, her whole world is shattered.

Luckily, Georgia's friends are there, sharing their own tales of intimacy, heartbreak, and miracle making. And when the unthinkable happens, these women will discover that what they've created isn't just a knitting club: it's a sisterhood. From


Hellenic Immortal by Gene Doucette
Goodreads, Amazon
“Very occasionally, I will pop up in the historical record. Most of the time I’m not at all easy to spot, because most of the time I’m just a guy who does a thing and then disappears again into the background behind someone-or-other who’s busy doing something much more important. But there are a couple of rare occasions when I get a starring role.”

--Adam the Immortal

An oracle has predicted the sojourner’s end, which is a problem for Adam insofar as he has never encountered an oracular prediction that didn’t come true . . . and he is the sojourner. To survive, he’s going to have to figure out what a beautiful ex-government analyst, an eco-terrorist, a rogue FBI agent, and the world’s oldest religious cult all want with him, and fast.

And all he wanted when he came to Vegas was to forget about a girl. And maybe have a drink or two.

“I am probably not the best source when it comes to who invented what. For a long time I thought I invented the wheel.”

--Adam the Immortal

The second book in the Immortal series, Hellenic Immortal follows the continuing adventures of Adam, a sixty-thousand-year-old man with a wry sense of humor, a flair for storytelling, and a knack for staying alive. Hellenic Immortal is a clever blend of history, mythology, sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, mystery and romance. A little something, in other words, for every reader. From
 Up Next

Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard
Goodreads, IndieBound, Powell's Books, Amazon
Professor Gabriel Emerson, a specialist in Dante and the art of seduction, believes he has already earned his exile to the lower circles of hell. Since redemption is impossible, there is no reason to refrain from indulging in a life of pleasurable sin, using his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm as a means to gratify his every whim. But when he meets Julia Mitchell, a brilliant, lovely, and innocent grad student with the achingly familiar eyes of an angel, all of his cynical convictions are challenged. Her mysterious allure and the havoc she wreaks on his self-satisfied existence cause him to lash out at her, while her quiet beauty and innate goodness consistently undermine his control, tempting him beyond measure.

Despite surviving a traumatic childhood, nothing has shaken Julia’s faith that redemption is possible for everyone—everyone but her. Her unworthiness torments her, since the only man she will ever love has managed to forget her very existence, failing to even recognize her when they reconnect. Too naive to see that Gabriel’s hostility is a mask for his increasing obsession with her, Julia forces him to come to grips with his past while she continues to unwittingly torment his senses. His fascination grows into a dangerous preoccupation, for Julia is forbidden fruit . . .

Will Gabriel survive the inferno, or will he succumb to the flames?

May's host for Mailbox Monday is Martha's Bookshelf. It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Book Journey.

Today is the last day to enter to win I Couldn't Love You More by Jillian Medoff. Enter here.
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