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Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

October 27, 2012

Simply Beautiful: The Watchmaker's Daughter

The Watchmaker's Daughter by Sonia Taitz
paperback, 256 pages
Published: October 2012 by McWitty Press
ISBN13: 9780975561881
Source: Lucinda Literary
Read: October 2012
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

I wasn't sure if I would like reading a memoir. I'm not big on celebrity gossip or knowing what is going on in everyone's lives. I'm a private person and tend to respect that privacy for others. But I loved the Sonia's writing when I read In the King's Arms (see my review). And I've read so many books set during WWII, but most of them stop at V-Day. So I was curious about what life was like for survivors of the Holocaust and the generation that came after them.

Again, I was left breathless by Sonia's writing - there's a simplistic beauty to it. There is nothing super flowery about the words she chose or in the sentences she constructed. Yet, when taken all together, Sonia has weaved a simple, but beautiful, tale of an immigrant family. It is a reflection of the life she lived - no need to put on airs.

While I reading The Watchmaker's Daughter, I wondered what makes people write memoirs (or read them for that matter). My life is pretty boring, who would want to read about it? Then for those who have something shocking or traumatic in their life that would make the story "exciting", who would want to write about it for the world to read? As Sonia says in the closing pages, she wrote The Watchmaker's Daughter to honor her parents, the lives they lived, the love they shared. They lived a simple life fulfilling the American Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Reading The Watchmaker's Daughter was like getting a look at the story behind a Norman Rockwell painting.

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. A free book was obtained from the source mentioned above in order to provide an honest and free review.

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October 26, 2012

Friday Fun with J. B. Lynn

These 10 questions originally came from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture" hosted by Bernard Pivot.

They're better known as the questions that James Lipton asks every guest at the end of "Inside the Actor's Studio" show.

Today, author JB Lynn has asked them of her character Godzilla (aka God) a talking anole lizard with a big attitude.

JB: What is your favorite word?

God: You’re right.

JB: That’s two words.

God: Ooooh, I didn’t know the moronic biped could count that high.

JB: If that’s how you’re going to be… What is your least favorite word?

God: Freeze-dried. As in, I hate freeze-dried crickets.

JB: Like you haven’t told me that a thousand times before.

God: But that first time, you brought me freeze-dried crickets after I TOLD you I needed the live ones.

JB: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? And I swear, this interview is over if you say crickets.

God: Wheel of Fortune

JB: You suck at Wheel of Fortune.

God: Everyone’s a critic. Being right turns me on.

JB: Now THAT I believe.

God: Oh, and planning how to kill people. That turns me on too.

JB: What turns you off?

God: Moronic bipeds. Dogs with horrible grammar. Hitmen who feed the dog and not me.

JB: What is your favorite curse word?

God: I don’t curse.

JB: Yes, you do.

God: No. I most certainly do not.

JB: (sighs heavily) What sound or noise do you love?

God: The theme music to Wheel of Fortune.

JB: I figured you were going to say the sound of your own voice.

God: I’m not going to even bother to respond to that.

JB: What sound or noise do you hate?

God: Your incessant prattling.

JB: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

God: I have a profession?

JB: You’re a pet.

God: I am not.

JB: Your housed, fed, and entertained by me. What else would you call it?

God: Brilliance.

JB: (sighs heavily again) What profession would you not like to do?

God: Dog groomer. Dog walker. Veterinarian. Any job that would bring me into contact with those four-legged, grammatically-challenged beasts.

JB: Yeah, right. Like I don’t know you’ve got a soft spot for Doomsday.

God: Blasphemy!

JB: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

God: That’s a conundrum wrapped in an enigma.

JB: Which means?

God: You figure it out.

To learn more about God, or author JB Lynn, please visit:

For links to purchase their books, please visit:

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads.

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October 25, 2012

Watch Now: Amazing Grace as Christ Walks By

Find Amazing Grace as Christ Walks By by Carol Cline at Goodreads, IndieBound, and Amazon.

Tips on Thursday: Book Apps (guest post)

Publishing Books as Apps

There are a lot of perks for being a writer in the digital age, you can easily ask or find help for your character development, you can find blogs of published writers to get some advice and insight, and you can even publish your book for different eReaders and devices. Devices like the Kindle and Nook have changed the publishing world, but so have smartphones and tablets. Writers can now get their books published for different eReaders, or they can even have them published as apps that can be bought on smartphones or tablets. This has changed the mindset that you need to have a contract with a publisher in order to even have your work looked at. Now you can easily get your book or novel published. There are a few different ways you can go about publishing your book for different devices.

One way you can publish your book is as a standalone app. There are a lot of children's books that have been marketed as apps. Books like Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat or the Bernstein Bears are very popular because they are able to engage children to actively read and learn. Whether you have a children's book or a book for older audiences, you want to keep the reader entertained every step of the way. Book Apps normally let the reader interact with the story whether is clicking on a link to a website, watching a clip, playing a game, or even looking at a map. Having a book app lets you be extremely creative and lets your readers get more involved with the story. If you have a mystery novel, you can give the reader the opportunity to investigate the scene of the crime on their own, or have interviews with characters from the book. Book apps can be a way to give the reader more insight into your world. The book "Harry Potter Film Wizardry" was a big hit as a print book, but even more so as an app. The app has images and videos from behind the scenes of all eight of the films, along with different animations. Developing your book as an app gives you the freedom to make it compatible with different operating systems like iOS, Android, or even Blackberry.

Another way is to have your books published to iBooks on iTunes. When you are setting up your account with iBookstore, you will have the choice of having a Free Books Account or a Paid Books Account, which determines whether your book will be a free book or a paid book. If at the moment you don't plan on selling your book for a profit, but might in the future, Apple suggests opening a Paid Books Account because you can't change your account type later on. Apple also has an app, iBooks Author, which helps you format and create your digital book and then send it straight to iBooks. However, if you don't want to work directly with iBooks, there are some websites that have been approved by the iBookstore. Some of these separate sites let you publish your book as an eBook and can even help you print a physical copy of your book. While there are a lot of iPhone and iPad users who have access to the iBookstore, there are also people on different operating systems that aren't able to download the iBookstore app. In the Android Market, the closest thing to iBooks is Aldiko. Aldiko also has opportunities for people to work with them or get the content published.

Another way to get your books out to the masses is with's Kindle Direct Publishing. Using the Kindle Direct Publishing, you will be able to determine the price of your book, languages it is available in, format, and much more. The Kindle Direct Publishing site has plenty of information to help you get your book ready for publishing as well as step by step guides on how to publish it and even market it. What makes Kindle Direct Publishing so appealing is the fact that your book can be read on not only Kindle devices, but devices that have the Kindle app. So, you can publish your book through Kindle and it won't matter if the reader has an iPhone, iPad, a T-Mobile Android tablet, or an HTC phone from Sprint. One of Amazon's partners,, can also help you publish your book to Kindle, and even a print version.

There are plenty of apps on the market, to help you create and publish your book whether you are an iOS or an Android user. These apps let you publish your book whether you are an iOS or an Android user. These apps let you publish your book or novel to different bookstore apps in each app market. However, if you prefer to go more towards the traditional route and publish your book with an actual publishing company, it is possible they will be able to help you get your book published as a standalone app, print, or as an eBook for Kindle or Nook. There are so many different options for authors now days. Do you research for different rules and regulations for each site, publisher, and app market before publishing your book. This can help you protect you and your content.

About the author:
Whitney Adams is a freelance writer for Whitney's articles tend to delve into the more technical and complex problems that society struggles with when it comes to technology. She loves breaking those problems down and offering clear, bite-sized solutions for the average user. When she's not online or surfing Pinterest, Whitney and her camera enjoy taking walks around her quaint home town and exploring the antique markets. 

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads.

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October 24, 2012

Now Showing: Way Out of Line

Find Way Out of Line by Trish Jackson at Goodreads, IndieBound, and Amazon.

Watch more trailers here

Writer Wednesday: N. K. Smith

I recently had to take a personality profile test for my day job. It’s called The Color Code. I’m not sure if any of you have heard of this test, but if you like personality tests, you might enjoy getting insight into who you are, and just as important, who the people around you are. Turns out, like 35% of the population, I’m blue.

What does that mean? It means my prime motivator is intimacy. What’s significant about this (to me) is what this means for my writing. When I look back at the novels I’ve written or the short stories I’ve produced, or even the tales in my head that haven’t made it onto the screen or paper yet, I realize intimacy is what I generally write about.

Having gotten the results of the personality test, I’ve thought about the characters I’ve written. Many of my main characters are driven to connect somehow, in some way. If you take my novel Ghosts of Our Pasts, there’s an array of characters all seeking some form of connection to another person. Not all of would be coded as “blue” for their primary colors. There are a few characters who are driven by power and few by peace and some by fun, but ultimately I think I created characters who want intimacy on a basic level because it’s a central focus in my life.

Now, just like in Ghosts of Our Pasts, I’m not always actively searching for this grand idea of intimacy with other people. In fact, I would say that I practice selective intimacy, similar to the lead character Will, who has isolated himself so much that his own twin brother has to beg him to share a meal with his family.

I’m not so far gone as Will, but I seek to maintain intimacy with a few people, rather have a million friends I share myself with.

The premise of the Color Code is that these motivators are innate; you’re born with them. In my novel My Only, I would say the lead character, Adam, is motivated by intimacy (namely, his desire to have a real connection with someone special), whereas his twin brother, Aaron, is motivated by fun. Aaron does what he wants, when he wants, and for the most part doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about it. When the new girl, Olivia, who’s motivated by peace, shows up, both brothers go for her. The interesting thing to watch is how their prime motivators (intimacy and fun) influence and affect how they approach her.

In my first erotic novel, the forthcoming Hollywood Lies (June 2013 release), the backdrop of the film industry sets the stage for out these characters search for meaningful relationships and connection. It’s great fun to think about how the environment, the situation, and the person you’re after can contribute to how your primary motivator manifests into behavior. Again, not all of the characters would be considered motivated by intimacy; some just want to be left alone, but still seek out that basic human connection that can feed our souls.

So what’s more important in life? Intimacy, Fun, Power, or Peace? That is a very personal question on a lot of levels and the answer (at least for me) is that it depends on the person and the situation. Just because a profile test told me I want intimacy more than anything, doesn’t mean I don’t make decisions based on a want or need of the other three. I think that’s important to note when crafting characters you’d meet in real-life. They might have a central motivating factor, but they are heavily influenced by environment, culture, and other people.

I love personality tests because it gives me insights on myself and those around me, but taking this one made me realize the importance it has on creating characters. I’ve enjoyed thinking about those characters I’ve created in the past, and I’m excited to apply this unique way of thinking to those characters I’m crafting now and in the future. (And don’t get me started on Myers-Briggs or the Harrison assessment!)

Come visit me:


Twitter: @NKSmithwrites


About the Author:

Based in the American Midwest, N.K. Smith is the author of six novels including the Old Wounds series, Ghosts of Our Pasts, and My Only, and is a Technical Writer for a Fortune 100 company. She is a mother of two who finds the time to write very early in the morning when the rest of the world is still fast asleep.

An avid lover of history, art, music, books, and people, she is interested in telling stories that speak to the human condition.

Ghost of Our Pasts at Amazon and IndieBound
My Only at Amazon 

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads. Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.

October 23, 2012

Excerpt: The 7th Woman by Frédérique Molay

There's no rest for Paris's top criminal investigation division, La Crim'. Who is preying on women in the French capital? How can he kill again and again without leaving any clues? A serial killer is taking pleasure in a macabre ritual that leaves the police on tenterhooks. Chief of Police Nico Sirsky—a super cop with a modern-day real life, including an ex-wife, a teenage son and a budding love story—races against the clock to solve the murders as they get closer and closer to his inner circle. Will he resist the pressure? The story grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the last page, leading you behind the scenes with the French police and into the coroner’s office. It has the suspense of Seven, with CSI-like details. You will never experience Paris the same way again!
Published: September 2012 by Le French Book
Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Praise for The 7th Woman:

Winner of France's prestigious Prix du Quai des Orfèvres prize for best crime fiction, named Best Crime Fiction Novel of the Year, and already an international bestseller with over 150,000 copies sold.

"Frédérique Molay is the French Michael Connelly" – Jean Miot, former head of Agence France Presse (AFP)

"A taut and terror-filled thriller with a lightning-quick, sinister plot." – Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author

"Ratcheting tension won't let you put the book down." – Cara Black, bestselling author of Paris mysteries


Excerpt of The 7th Woman by Frédérique Molay
(© 2012 Anne Trager for the English translation, first published in French as La 7e Femme, world copyright © 2006 Librairie Arthème Fayard)




It felt like lightning had struck him. He couldn’t breathe. His mouth was dry, and his throat tight. He was free-falling. She was wildly attractive: about thirty-five, five and half feet tall, slender, with short auburn hair and brown eyes highlighted by plain eyeglasses. Her voice was soft and steady. She had a keen, friendly and reassuring look in her eyes, and a smile illuminated her face—a magnificent smile. He stared at her intensely, like a pimply teenager entranced by a Playboy cover girl.

“So, you’re Mr. Sirsky, is that correct?” she asked. She was sitting behind her desk, her fingers absently playing with a pen.

He nodded.

“Nico Sirsky. Is your first name Nico?” she continued in a voice that was so memorable, it would be distinguished from all others from that moment on.
“Yes. It’s not a nickname.”

“When were you born?”

“January 11, thirty-eight years ago.”

“What do you do?”

“I’m divorced.”

What a strange answer, but it was the first one that came to mind when he looked at her. He had married too young—when he was twenty-two—and had a child. He was single again and not particularly interested in women, except for an occasional roll in the hay. No woman had ever had this effect on him. He had thought these feelings were the stuff of novels and movies.

“Mr. Sirsky?” the young woman insisted.

He looked at her hands. No wedding ring.

“Mr. Sirsky!”

“What would you like to know?” he asked, suddenly sheepish.

“Your profession would be enough.”

What an ass he was being.

“Chief of police.”

“And more specifically?”

“Head of the Paris Criminal Investigation Division.”

“Would that be the brigade criminelle at 36 Quai des Orfèvres?”

“That’s right, La Crim’.”

“I suppose it’s a stressful job.”

“True enough. But no more than yours, I guess.”

She smiled. She was incredible.

“So, who sent you to see me—your brother-in-law, Dr. Perrin, right?” she continued.

His sister had insisted. She behaved like his mother.

“What exactly is wrong?”

“Not much.”

“Please, Mr. Sirsky, let me be the judge of that.”

“I’ve had a stomachache for about three months.”

“Have you already seen a doctor?”


“What does the pain feel like?”

“Burning,” he said with a sigh. “And some cramps.”

It was out of character for him to admit any kind of weakness.

“Are you more anxious or tired than usual?”

He frowned. His work was weighing on him. He was waking up in the middle of the night, haunted by visions of bloody bodies. It was impossible for him to share the anxiety that assailed him. Who could he confide in? His colleagues? From time to time they did spend an evening together, joking about corpses to chase away the ghosts. But nothing could keep a cop grounded better than going home to a family and reconnecting with day-to-day life. Routine cares allowed you to put priorities in perspective and forget the day’s sordid experiences. That is why he hired married men with children. Eighty percent of his staff met these criteria. They needed this balance to withstand the pressure of the cases they worked at the brigade criminelle. He alone did not respect the rule he required the others to follow.

“Mr. Sirsky, you haven’t answered my question,” the young woman said, annoyed.

He put on a mulish look that made her understand that she wouldn’t get any more out of him, and she changed the subject.

“Does anything calm the pain?”

“I tried eating, but that doesn’t change a thing.”

“Get undressed, and lie down on the table.”

“Uh, totally undressed?”

“You can keep your underwear on.”

He got up and obeyed. His tall and muscular build, blue eyes and blond hair impressed women, but here he was a little uncomfortable. She approached him and put her hands on his flat stomach to examine him. He shivered. Erotic images raced through his mind.

“Is something wrong?” she asked.

“Medical examiners are the only doctors I know, and you can be sure that they haven’t left me wanting to be treated by any others,” he responded, hoping she would believe him.

“I understand. However, some situations require that you see a specialist without delay. What do you feel when I press here?”

He didn’t take his eyes off her. He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss her. Damn it. What was happening to him?

“Mr. Sirsky, if you don’t help me out here, we won’t get anywhere.”

“Oh, sorry. What were you saying?”

“Where does it hurt?”

He put a finger on the middle of his abdomen, brushing the woman’s hands. She palpated and then had him sit on the edge of the table to take his blood pressure. She returned to her desk when she had finished. He would have preferred that she stay near him.
“Get dressed, Mr. Sirsky. You are going to need some tests.”

“What kind of tests?”

“One of them will be an endoscopy. The doctor will put an optical instrument down your throat to explore your digestive tract. The walls of your stomach and your duodenum will appear on a screen.”

“Is that really necessary?”

“Absolutely. We need to determine the exact causes of your symptoms. It could be an ulcer. We can’t treat you until we have a precise diagnosis. An endoscopic examination is not very pleasant, but it doesn’t last long.”

“Do you think it’s serious?”

“There are several types of digestive ulcers. In your case, I think it is probably a duodenal ulcer, which is generally benign. Although it’s usually caused by bacteria, stress and fatigue can make the symptoms feel worse. But we need to be sure. What do you do other than work?”

He thought for a while.

“Run and play squash. And shoot, of course.”

“You should slow down. Everyone deserves some rest.”

“You sound like my sister.”

“She gives good advice. Here’s a prescription. Once you’ve had the endoscopy, make another appointment with my secretary.”

“You’re not going to do it?”

“A doctor in the department will do it.”

He put his obstinate look on again.

“Is something wrong, Mr. Sirsky?”

“Listen, I’d like you to do it. Would that be possible?”

She looked at him calmly and understood that he would not give up if she did not accept his request.


She took out her appointment book and turned the ink-blackened pages.

“You look overbooked, and I’m adding to it,” he said.

“Don’t worry, we’ll find a time. We have to do it quickly. Wednesday morning at eight. Will that work for you?”

“Of course. I’m not going to push my luck.”

She stood and accompanied him to the door. There, her handshake was both caring and firm. He was sorry to leave. One final time, he read the nameplate affixed to the office door: “Dr. Caroline Dalry, professor of medicine, gastroenterologist, former Paris Hospitals chief resident.”

Once he was outside Saint Antoine Hospital, the sounds of the city enveloped him, and he continued daydreaming about her delicate hands touching his stomach. Then a dull upper-abdominal pain brought him back to reality.

His cell phone vibrated on his hip. It was Commander Kriven, the head of one of the brigade criminelle’s twelve squads.

“We’ve got a customer,” he announced in a deep voice. “It’s an unusual murder. You should come.”

“Who’s the victim?”

“Marie-Hélène Jory, thirty-six, white, assistant professor of history at the Sorbonne. Killed in her home, Place de la Contrescarpe in the Latin Quarter. Homicide with sexual overtones. The scene is particularly, well, shocking.”
“Who found her?”

“Someone named Paul Terrade, her partner.”

“He wasn’t working?”

“He was, but the university was worried when she didn’t show up for her class at one this afternoon. A secretary called his office, and he went home to see why she wasn’t at work.”

“Breaking and entering?”

“No signs.”

Nico looked at his watch, which showed four thirty. It had been about two hours since the body was discovered. It was a miracle of sorts. Some evidence might still be intact, unless a lot of people had gone in and out of the apartment.
“I’ll be right there.”

“You don’t really have a choice in the matter.”

Squad commanders were under orders to request his presence or his deputy’s presence whenever they thought the situation was serious enough.

“And ask Dominique Kreiss to join us,” Nico added. “Her input could be interesting.”

She was a criminal psychologist with the Regional Police Department, recently hired for a brand new profiling unit. She wasn’t there to take over the investigation, but to provide detectives with her psychological expertise. Considering what Kriven had described, it seemed fitting that she go to the scene. Analyzing sexually related murders was Ms. Kreiss’ specialization.

“Can’t we call in the old bearded shrink?” Kriven grumbled. “That brunette’s cute little ass distracts me!”

“Get your mind out of the gutter, would you Kriven?”

“Impossible with the body she’s got.”

“I’m hanging up now. I don’t want to hear any more of that crap. See you in a few.”

The Latin Quarter reminded him of his childhood. His grandparents had a shop on Rue Mouffetard. He recalled the days he spent playing with the kids of other shop owners on the street, not far from the Saint Ménard Church. That kind of neighborhood conviviality was long gone now.

These days, the Place de la Contrescarpe was a tourist haunt because of its cafés. As Nico approached, he saw that the café customers were gawking at the building, where an unmarked police cruiser, its lights flashing, was blocking the entrance. A man was slumped over the Renault’s backseat. Two police officers were guarding the car. You could tell by their determined look that they had no intention of letting the guy get away. David Kriven stepped out of the building to meet Sirsky.

“We’re lucky, Chief,” he said. “The precinct officer had the good sense to evacuate everyone before he contacted us. It’s all clean.”

He meant that no other police units had been able to tread on the crime scene before being told that the case was outside their jurisdiction. Too often, evidence was ruined by the time La Crim’ was called in. Sometimes the body had already been removed. Those were not easy investigations. Yes, things were improving, but there was still a long way to go. To get the job done right, they really needed an efficient cop, which they had today.
“Where is this prodigious one?” Nico asked.

“On the third floor, standing in front of the apartment door. He’s monitoring who’s going in and out.”

The two men walked up the stairs slowly. Nico studied the walls and each step to soak up the atmosphere. Then he held out his hand to the young officer, gratifying him with a warm smile.

“I showed up at three. I discovered the body and immediately knew that this wasn’t an ordinary case.”

“Why is that?” Nico asked.

“The woman, uh, well, at least what’s been done to her. It’s disgusting. I’ll be honest. I couldn’t even stay near her. It’s enough to upset any man.”

“Don’t be fooled,” Nico said. “We all wind up being affected. Anyone who says otherwise is just showing off.”

The officer nodded and let them through. Nico took the usual precautions. He didn’t touch anything and did nothing that would destroy any evidence. David Kriven did the same, with the same attention.

Each of the division’s squads had six members. The third member—there was an established order based on experience and the role each member played—was the one responsible for the procedural aspects. Pierre Vidal had waited for Chief Sirsky before he started his work of collecting and sealing the evidence. He usually worked alone. For this one, he would do his job under the watchful eyes of Kriven and Sirsky.

The three detectives entered the living room. The victim lay on a thick cream-colored carpet.

“Shit. No,” Nico let slip, despite himself.

He squatted near the body and said nothing more. What could he say? The epitome of horror was spread out in front of him. Did man’s perversity have no limits? He couldn’t hold back a retch. He looked at his colleagues, all of whom were pale.

“See if Dominique Kreiss is here,” he ordered.

David Kriven looked away from the body, and Chief Sirsky told the officers to step out momentarily, perhaps to give them a break

“Go on. Now,” Nico commanded.

Commander Kriven and Captain Vidal left the apartment, relieved.

Chief Sirsky stayed near the young woman without moving and little by little noted the abuse she had been subjected to. The torture had been intense, the kind to make you lose your mind before you die. He thought about the probable unfolding of the murder and the killer’s profile. He presumed that it was a lone man. He felt it. He knew it. Every emotion left him, which always happened at a crime scene. His work required him to stay focused, even in the most gruesome cases. But now his stomach began burning again. He touched his abdomen. He was letting this get to him, and he would have to calm down. How could he not react to this level of atrocity? Suddenly, Dr. Dalry’s face came to him. She was smiling and holding out her hand, so gentle. She touched his cheek. He wanted to kiss her so much. He got nearer and nearer…

The apartment door opened, and steps rang out in the hallway. David Kriven was leading the squad in. The psychologist followed. She was small, thirty-two years old, with bright, mischievous green eyes. Dominique Kreiss squatted next to Chief Sirsky. The professional in her took in the crime scene without blinking. She looked unaffected by the repugnant vision and the smell of death. Dominique Kreiss had a degree in clinical criminology and was a specialist in sexual assault. She wanted to fit right into the mainly male team of detectives working at 36 Quai des Orfèvres. If for no other reason than that, she never showed any weakness in front of her colleagues.

“Any level-headed person would take off running with one look at this scene,” Nico said to the psychologist.

Their eyes met. Nico had built strong walls, and it was not easy to guess his weaknesses. But for the first time, Dominique Kreiss perceived a slight discomfort in the chief’s eyes.

“Nothing seems to have been moved,” Nico said. “Everything is in order. It was not a burglary. I bet we will not find a single fingerprint. The work is meticulous and organized, and it is not some passing folly. There was no break-in, so the victim either knew the murderer or trusted him and let him in.”

“How high on the risk scale was this for the criminal?” Dominique asked.

“Pretty high. The Place de la Contrescarpe is very busy. Killing someone in her home without attracting attention, taking the time to clean up and leaving as if nothing happened requires a lot of control. This bastard works like a professional.”

About the Author:

Writing has always been a passion for Frédérique Molay, author of the international bestseller The 7th Woman. She graduated from France’s prestigious Science Po and began her career in politics and the French administration. She worked as Chief of Staff for the Deputy Mayor of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and then was elected to the local government in Saône-et-Loire. Meanwhile, she spent her nights pursing a passion for writing she had nourished since she wrote her first novel at the age of eleven. After The 7th Woman took France by storm, Frédérique Molay dedicated her life to writing and raising her three children. She has five books to her name, with three in the Chief Inspector Nico Sirsky series. A fourth is on the way.

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Le French Book has gone all out again. For the launch of The 7th Woman by Frédérique Molay, they are doing a huge giveaway and giving everyone a final chance at sweepstakes to win a trip to France and fine French wine. Go check it out and maybe you’ll be the one to win. You’ll pick up this great book and free gifts:

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. Featured Books is a free announcement feature and all information is provided by the author/publisher/publicist unless otherwise noted.
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Eye Opening: The Slave Across the Street

The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores
audiobook, Narrated by Renee Raudman
Published: January 2010 by Christian Audio
ISBN13: 9781596448773
Listened: October 2012
Source: Digital Library
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

The subtitle for this book reads "The True Story of How an American Teen Survived the World of Human Trafficking". If you have followed my blog for every long you know that I have read several fictional tales of human trafficking. This is the first time I'm read a true account. It is also the first time I've read a memoir. 

I was afraid that it would be a really emotional story to listen to. It was shocking and eye opening, but I didn't have the emotional response I thought I would. The account is not full of horrific details. Actually the retelling of Theresa's story is only a small portion of the book.

Only a few chapters are devoted to what happened to Theresa. The rest of the book deals with why she decided to tell her story, her brother's point of view of what was happening, a doctor speaks as well as there are a couple of chapters to teachers, parents, law enforcement, and health care professionals on spotting the signs of sexual exploitation and helping the victim.

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and it was apt time to be listening to this story. I was aghast at the security guard and teachers who turned a blind eye to what was happening to Theresa. Even if they did not know the extent (the sexual exploitation) there was definitely evidence of bullying. 

Probably the most shocking part of her story was that she was not stolen from her home and it was high school boys (though the ring leader was older, but maybe college age?) who were blackmailing her. 

If you have a child in your life - parent, teacher, live in a neighborhood with kids- you need to read this book. And then have a frank discussion with the kids. From the description of Theresa's personality, it could very well had been me. She had no idea that accepting a ride from a classmate would end in rape and blackmail. It was the 1980s and rape victims were viewed differently than they are today (for the most part). The saddest part of the story was that Theresa was more afraid of disappointing her parents than enduring the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that occurred for 2 years at the hands of a mafia-like gang.

Get this book, open your eyes, and perhaps a life will be saved.

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.
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October 22, 2012

Meet the Author: Zoe Brooks

I suppose the most interesting thing about me is my connection with the Czech Republic, where I now have a house and where I do most of my writing.

My second paid job (there were lots of unpaid jobs before, but we won't mention them) was running the Puppet Centre in London. It was a brilliant job: organizing training, performances, national and international festivals and exhibitions and working with puppeteers across the UK. Anyone who has visited Prague will have seen the many shops selling hand-carved puppets and the puppet theatres. In 1968 with the Soviet repression of the Prague Spring a number of the Czech puppeteers fled their country and made their way to swinging London and fifteen years later were still there.

Although I gave up my job when my son was born, work wouldn't give up on me. I kept being offered freelance work, including the opportunity to organise an exhibition of television and film puppets for the Liverpool Festival of Comedy. I wrote to all my contacts (this was the 1980's when you still wrote letters) and asked if they would loan a puppet or two. One day the phone rang and a soft low woman's voice with a Czech accent said she had a puppet from a children's series of Czech folktales, which she had made, but she wasn't sure if I would want it. It turned out she lived very near me, so I went over to have a look.

Little did I know as I climbed the rusty cast-iron staircase to the top of a large old house overlooking Blackheath that my life was about to change. The door opened and I was invited in. I sat in the sitting room waiting. On the table near me a tree branch was hung with painted eggs, in the bookcase was an eclectic collection of fairytales, Jungian psychology, film and Czech and English literature, a music score sat open on a grand piano. The puppeteer returned with a large grandpa fox puppet. Not sure if I'd want it - of course I did. The puppeteer grinned and offered me some tea. Soon we were drinking and talking. It was the first of hundreds of mugs of tea we have shared.

Krumlov in autumn
When the Berlin Wall fell, I went with my friend to Prague. It was one of the most incredible experiences I have had in my life. I was left alone to wander the still wintry streets for five days, as my friend renewed acquaintances and visited long unseen relatives. The joy of freedom hung in the air like the incense, but it was mixed with a grief for those who had not survived to share it. I wandered without a map, soaking it all in, loving the architecture and the history, loving the smiles on people's faces. When I got back, much to my friend's delight I wrote a long poem for voices called Fool's Paradise.

After a year or so my friend moved back and I continued to visit her. I can't explain why, but I felt at home in the Czech Republic and still do. I have always loved fairytales and the Czechs do too. Not Disney twee, but tales rooted in the dark places of the forest. When my friend moved to Cesky Krumlov in South Bohemia, I followed and discovered the forests and mountains of the books I had loved as a child. Back in the United Kingdom I was now working in community regeneration. helping the most disadvantaged in society. It was emotionally and spiritually demanding work and I needed the trips to central Europe to renew my strength. My friend urged me to start writing again, but I could not. As I was visiting three times a year, I decided I would buy somewhere in the hope that it could be a writer's retreat and my lovely husband agreed.

Olsina Lake
I bought an old run-down farmhouse on the edge of a small village near the border of the Sumava National Park. It's only seven miles to Cesky Krumlov and only fifteen minutes walk to the nearest forest. At first I didn't write anything more than a few short poems. I was focusing on restoring the house and making it habitable, meanwhile my job in England was getting more and more demanding. Then came a crisis: suddenly all my layers of thick skin had been peeled off by the emotional pressure of my work and I was left with no protection. My employers decided that they would wind-up the company. That stage of my life was over.

Encouraged by my husband and friend I decided I would try my hand at writing a novel. This time after two months the house delivered on its promise. Four books have followed, all of them written in my Czech hideaway. The house still isn't fully restored and is pretty basic, but I love it. The furniture may be second-hand, but there are books everywhere and the walls are covered by folk art and my Czech friend's prints. People ask "Aren't you homesick?" and the answer is "I have two homes." In three weeks time I will be going home to the Czech Republic to write the last book in The Healer's Shadow trilogy.

* My note: I spend a week in the Czech Republic in 2010. It is such a picturesque place. I can definitely understand Zoe's love for the place.

About the Author:

Zoe Brooks is a British writer and poet, who spends half her life in a partly restored old farmhouse in the Czech Republic, where she writes all her novels and poetry. Zoe aims to write popular books, which have complex characters and themes that get under the reader's skin.

Zoe was a successful published poet in her teens and twenties, (featuring in the Grandchildren of Albion anthology). In May 2012 she published her long poem for voices Fool's Paradise as an ebook on Amazon. Girl In The Glass - the first novel in a trilogy about the woman and healer Anya was published on Amazon in March 2012. Mother of Wolves is her second novel.

She has a liking for books in which reality and fantasy meet. Her favourite books include Master and Margarita (Bulgakov), One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Marquez), Good Omens (Pratchett and Gaiman), Jane Eyre, Bull From The Sea (Renault), and Woman Who Waited (Makine).

Connect with Zoe:
Amazon author page

The views, beliefs, and opinions expressed by guest post authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views, beliefs, or opinions of Girl Who Reads.

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On Vacation

I'm on vacation this week. No, I'm not going to an exciting exotic locale. I'm actually not going anywhere. I'm staying home to deep clean my house before closing it up for winter. I know... I live an exciting life! I still wanted to get you an update on what is entertaining me when I take a break from all the scrubbing.


BlogFlash Halloweed 2012 is coming up. You can get all the details here.

The Bunny's Review is hosting a fundraiser for the House Rabbit Society. All you need to do is make a donation to HRS and then you get to choose an ebook as a thank you gift. For more info, check out Books for Bunnies.

Are you following the Millicent Marie Tour with Karen Pokras Toz? Make sure you check the schedule each day for that day's stop. *author has paid for a publicity package from GWR Publicity.

Though busy cleaning, I did find time on Saturday to post a new review. In case you missed it, you can read my review of Broken Harbor by Tana French here.

Kid Who Reads also had a new review this weekend. She reviewed the third book in the Blacklight Chronicles - Shadow Mage by John Forrester.


Paperback copy of The Recruit by Monica McCarty - LAST WEEK TO ENTER
$100 Paypal Cash - LAST WEEK TO ENTER
Keurig Vue V700 - LAST WEEK TO ENTER
Millicent Marie swag & $20 Amazon Gift Card - 9 DAYS LEFT 

While more and more people each day become aware of the dangerous world of human trafficking, many people in the U.S. believe this is something that happens to foreign women men and children not something that happens to their own children and neighbors.

They couldn't be more wrong.

In this powerful true story. Theresa Flores shares how her life as an All American, 15-years-old teenager was enslaved into the dangerous world of sex trafficking-all while living at home with unsuspecting parents in an upper-middle class suburb of Detroit. Her story peels the cover off of this horrific criminal activity and gives dedicated activists as well as casual bystanders a glimpse into the underbelly of human trafficking

Even more importantly, Theres's story and expertise as a counselor and licensed social worker help identify red flags that could prevent her plight from becoming the fate of an unsuspecting teenager. She discusses how she healed the wounds of sexual servitude and offers advice to parents and professionals through prevention tips, education and significant information on human trafficking in modern day America.

With insights and perspectives from a doctor, a friend and her own brother, Theresa's memoir provides a well-rounded portrait of the dark world of human trafficking and serves as a reminder of the most important clement to overcoming slavery: hope. From
Find The Slave Across the Street at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.


Tara and Sky are as different as two sisters can be.

Sky, obedient and cautious, has worked hard to build her dream life: In her ideal job as a lawyer and married to handsome Troy, they live with their beautiful three-year-old daughter, Rachel, in a house on the beach.

Rebellious and impetuous, her younger sister,Tara, devotes herself to her music, falls in love with the unsuitable but irresistible Aaron, becomes pregnant, and embarks on a rollercoaster of a life as a musician.

But when tragedy besets Sky her life is turned upside down. Meanwhile, to Tara's astonishment, instead of facing a future destined to be foolhardy and risky, Tara suddenly finds herself on the brink of. With this reversal of fortune, everything changes between the two sisters. 

Sky is at a loss until Tara offers her to help her start over and move home. And so begins a road trip where tensions between the two sisters erupt, loyalties are tested and long hidden secrets revealed. From
 Find A Gift for My Sister at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.

The Watchmaker's Daughter tells the story of a child of two refugees: a watchmaker who saved lives within Dachau prison, and his wife, a gifted concert pianist about to make her debut when the Nazis seized power. In this memoir, Sonia Taitz is born into a world in which the Holocaust is discussed constantly by her insular concentration camp-surviving parents. This legacy, combined with Sonia's passion and intelligence, leads the author to forge an adventurous life in which she seeks to heal both her parents and herself through travel, achievement, and a daring love affair. Ironically, it is her marriage to a non-Jew that brings her parents the peace and fulfillment they would never have imagined possible. Sonia manages to combine her own independence with a tender dutifulness, honoring her parents' legacy while forging a new family of her own. From
Find The Watchmaker's Daughter at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.


When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel. From
Find 13 Little Blue Envelopes at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.

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October 21, 2012

Now Playing: Demon's Desire

Find Demon's Desire by Atoya Morris at Goodreads and Amazon

Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links. Book Trailers are a free feature. All videos are provided by the author who has granted Girl Who Reads permission to feature them on this blog.

Kid Who Reads: Shadow Mage

Shadow Mage (Blacklight Chronicles #3) by John Forrester
paperback, 286 pages
Published September 2012 by Amber Muse
ISBN13: 978-0984825950
Read October 2012
Source: author
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

What was your favorite thing about the Shadow Mage?

When they met the socerer.

What do you think about the cover?

The cover looks great.

Who would like this book?

 I think kids age 10 -13 boy or girls. You have to the read the books in order, if you don't you will be lost. You can read my aunt's reviews of Fire Mage and Sun Mage.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 is I hate it and 5 is the best book ever) how do you rate this book?

I give it a 4. It is a great book because it is fantasy and I really like fantasy books.

Anything else?

It is interesting fantasy. There's a LOT of action. I looked forward to reading it each day. It was really good.

A free book was obtained from the source mentioned above in order to provide an honest and free review. Girl Who Reads is an advertising affiliate with Amazon and IndieBound; a small fee is earned when purchases are made using the above links.

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