Readers' Favorite

November 17, 2012

Great Spy Novel: The Amateur

The Amateur by Robert Littell
audio book, Narrated by Scott Brick
Published: November 2003 by New Millennium
ISBN13: 9781590075135
Source: Georgia Digital Library
Listened: October 2012
Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon

I love spy novels, but I find it difficult to discover new good espionage books. I think it has something to do with the end of the Cold War. There was just something special Cold War era espionage. There were rules to the game and a code of honor. Maybe it is too historical of a period of time or something so few new books are coming out. And espionage today just doesn't have the intrigue.

So, I can't tell you how thrilled I was with The Amateur. I was just looking around to see what was available in audio book and it popped up. I've never read anything by Robert Littell. It is a great Cold War espionage novel. In the preface (or whatever it was called in this book) says it is based on true events. And I can so see it being true (conspiracy theorists who think the CIA was behind JFK's assassination, will eat this story up).

Oh! I just discovered it was made into a movie. I might have to go look into that. 

Surely I'm not the last person to discover The Amateur. If you are looking for a twisting and turning drama where you're never quite sure who the bad guys are, then pick it up. 

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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November 16, 2012

Friday Fun with Caddy Rowland

Character Guest Post by Gastien Beauchamp

I have to tell you that I am scared. I might be almost eighteen, and I might have been beaten senseless many times by my father growing up, but this is much worse. When I ran from the farm a few weeks ago I thought things would get better. How hard could it be to find a serving job in a restaurant? Even a job cleaning slop in the kitchen would be fine. I figured all I needed was enough money for one bowl of soup a day and a humble room. The rest of the wages would be spent on painting supplies.

You see, I left because I want to become an artist; perhaps the greatest artist to ever live. I know I have no formal training in anything except how to be a farmer. Still, I was full of optimism when I left home. I believed that once I found a job there would be plenty of artists around to teach me the basics. I can draw like nobody’s business, and I have done some watercolor. I just need to learn how to use oils.

The problem is I haven’t found a job. Believe me, I have banged on the door of every café and restaurant around. No one is hiring’ I guess I’m a few months late. All of the jobs for slop cleaners have been taken for the season by students at the art school. Serving jobs require experience. I have even tried other businesses, but no one will hire me. There is absolutely nothing until spring, and I can’t go back home. My father has promised to kill me if I ever come back again.

This city is heartless. My father used to tell me that, but I didn’t believe him. Now I do. In fact, the best thing that has happened to me so far is having someone unknowingly empty the contents of their chamber pot on my head as I walked underneath their window. That’s not saying much.

Sure, I’m hiding out in Notre Dame at night, so I’ve avoided sleeping in the alleys. Unfortunately, it’s just a question of time before I am discovered there. Once that happens I will be on the streets. I’ve seen the tramps in the back alleys digging in trash bins for food. I’ve witnessed a man getting stabbed for his coat. And my good looks? They aren’t going to be an asset when I have to face the men in those alleys.

Right now I sell charcoal drawings for a few centimes. Most days I earn enough to eat a bowl of soup. However, once I’m completely homeless it won’t take long before my looks are gone. In fact, I’ll look and smell so awful that no one will come near enough for me to sell them a drawing! What will I do then? I am already hungry; soon I’ll be sleeping on the cold ground. I don’t know how I’ll survive when it gets below freezing.

Still, I believe in my dream. I have known since I was a small child that I have no choice but to paint. It’s as if some force chose me for it. There has to be a way to not only survive these mean streets of Paris, but to eventually have my own studio. I don’t care if peasants never own property, there just has to be a way! It doesn’t matter what it takes; I’m going to make my dream come true. I will let absolutely nothing stop me.

Still, I have to tell you, I am scared. Very scared.

About the Author:

Caddy Rowland grew up in the Midwest with a stack of books that almost reached the ceiling before she was five. Books, along with her vivid imagination, have always been her closest friends. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, who was her high school sweetheart. They are owned by two parrots. Yes, they can talk, and yes, they can bite! Melanie, the African Grey has such an extensive vocabulary that Caddy sometimes thinks Melly is preparing to become an author. After over 20 twenty years in advertising sales, Caddy decided to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an author in 2011. There are four books planned for the Gastien series, and many other books in her head. Now, if only she can learn to type 2000 words a minute... Her goal as an author is to make readers laugh, cry, think, and become intimately connected with her main characters. To her, a good main character stays in the mind long after the story has been read. They should become as real in the mind as the person next door.
Connect with the Author:

Gastien's Facebook Page

About the Book:

When young Gastien Beauchamp flees the farm for Paris, the late nineteenth century bohemian era is in full swing. Color has always called to him, beseeching him to capture it on canvas and show people a new way of seeing things. His father belittled his dream of being an artist and tried to beat him into giving it up. The dream wouldn’t die, but Gastien would have had he not left.

He also yearns to become a great lover. After the years of anguish he has endured at the hand of his father, it would be heaven to feel pleasure instead of pain.

However, the city of Paris has a ruthless agenda. Unless a man has money and connections, Paris unfeelingly crushes dreams and destroys souls. With neither of the required assets, Gastien faces living in alleys, digging in trash bins for food, and sleeping where a man is often killed for his threadbare blanket.

Left with nothing but his dreams, Gastien clings to the hope that the impossible is possible. He pushes on, regardless of the cost.
Find Gastien Part 1: The Cost of the Dream at Goodreads and 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.

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November 14, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Jennifer Loiske

I’ve always been a loner and a bit of a tomboy. When I was a child kids like me were called ‘key-children’ as our parents worked late and our first priority was always to remember to carry a key to our houses around our necks. I didn’t have many friends, as I preferred walking alone in the woods and spending time with my German shepherd, to the company of my classmates. I’ve always found my peace before the clear forest ponds and the wind whispering softly on my ear where my eyes can often catch a wild fox or a hawk enjoying the freedom that nature has offered them. So no wonder that, when at age 6, I discovered the magical world of libraries I practically gulped down every available children’s audio book over and over again and let myself drown in the adventurous world of Tarzan, The Jungle Book and Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, which really rocked my world. The forest, animals and head-spinning adventures started to mix within my mind and when I finally learned how to write I was a lost cause. I wrote everywhere and all the time and yet it never occurred to me that one day I could be earning my living by writing stories.

As the years went by an idea of a novel series started to whirl in my mind. A series that could be both fantasy and educational. And the more I thought about it the more ‘alive’ it appeared to me and in 2003 I became so obsessed with the story that I had no other option but to start writing it. The first book of my Shape Shifter series, IMMINENCE, was about to be born. I spent almost three years sketching the storyline for the six books in that series. I read every available book about wolves in Finnish and in English and spent hour after hour on the internet hungry to learn everything about wolves and in the end I could have written a fantasy book about wolves as well, I had so much material about them. However, I settled to put bits and pieces about them into the story so every detail about wolves in IMMINENCE and the following sequels are true.

Anyway, life changes and during my sketching process something terrible happened. My younger daughter suffered a brain fever and was very near to dying. She never fully recovered and as a result of the brain fever she developed very severe epilepsy. My heart was breaking for her and the pain was so raw that I needed to put it into my story. I started to re-sketch.

I wanted to add epilepsy to my story. And I wanted to spread epilepsy awareness. The more I learned about epilepsy the more I wanted to share the knowledge and help others. So I decided to give most of my hopefully-soon-to-become royalties to the charity and the new storyline mixed shape shifting, wolves and epilepsy. I wanted to help readers to understand better this disorder that was so new to myself, too, and I also wanted to give hope for the ones that have epilepsy in their life so… ta-daa a heroine with severe epilepsy was created. I meant this series to be a Young Adult series, and it’s categorized as YA too, but I receive emails from around the world from readers of all ages (15+) and especially adults saying they are loving IMMINENCE.

I think I’ve made all the possible mistakes along my writing carrier but after six very long years IMMINENCE was finally published in spring 2012. I could easily fill a couple of pages to explain all the ups and downs on the road but one thing is sure; after I decided to go indie, I’m never going back to anything else (I’d like to say that these are my final words but don’t blame me if Penguin or Harper Collins come knocking on my door and I eat my words). SEDUCTION, the second part of my Shape Shifter series is also available on Amazon and B&N and the third part, CHANGE, will be published in spring 2013.

About the Author:

Jennifer Loiske was born in 1972. She lives in Finland in Naantali, which is a small sunny town on the southwest coast. She is a pre-school teacher by profession but she stayed at home when her youngest daughter suffered brain fever, which developed severe epilepsy in 2004. She is a workaholic Teen/Young Adult author, who loves dark fantasy, teen movies, chips and candies and warm sunny days. She’s also very keen on charity work and a big part of her royalties goes to the charity; mainly to help families with epileptic children but also to the epilepsy units in the hospitals.

Connect with the Author:

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.

November 13, 2012

500th Post: A Cover Reveal

I'm so excited about today's cover reveal. I loved the first two books in the series and can't wait for the third book. When E. van Lowe emailed about participating I definitely said yes. I think this series is great YA paranormal romance. You can read my reviews of Boyfriend from Hell and Earth Angel and, without further ado, I present the cover for Heaven Sent:

What Does It All Mean?

Readers who devoured Boyfriend From Hell and Earth Angel will be captivated by the third book in the Falling Angels Saga.

As summer break for Glendale Union high begins, heartsick Megan awaits Guy's return while struggling to control her emerging abilities. Love is in the air, but can the new loves in Megan, Maudrina, Suze and Aunt' Jaz's life be trusted? Nothing is what it seems. Meanwhile, the Satanists are set to hatch their most diabolical scheme ever, and if it comes to pass, Satan may finally win out.

Megan has precious little time to unravel the cryptic message hidden in the riddle she received at the end of Earth Angel. If she doesn’t, the life of someone most dear to her will be lost forever, and Megan may yet find herself living in HELL.

“The third book in E. Van Lowe’s Falling Angels Saga is his most thrilling yet.”

November 12, 2012

Meet the Author: D. Kai Wilson-Viola

I never know how to open these things up, so I just thought I'd start with 'hello' and take it from there.

Today is my birthday. I am thirty-four, and that means, I've been writing for thirty years. No, seriously.

I thought I'd give you a day in my life, but typically, I couldn't release it without committee editing, so instead, I thought I'd introduce you to Elliot.

Happy birthday, fourth wall

He leads me into a quiet room off to one side. I can hear weeping in one of the other rooms, as the door snaps open and then shut again. I catch a glimpse of a woman, hands bloody, sobbing with them stretched out on the table before her, the steel chill against the bright red blood.

"Stop looking, you know what happened anyway," he snaps at me, pulling me a little bit faster. He's furious, but there's no way for me to work out why. No contextual cues. And I'm not jacked in, and yet….I think I know something. But, I'm vague, glassy - waiting to be filled up again with knowledge.

The room opens, sparse, blue, with a glass wall. It's as I expected. I've been here before.

"Sit," he said, pointing to a smart desk. His shirt sleeves are rolled up, revealing taunt, scarred arms, and I look over at the chair he's pointing to.

"No, sorry, don't like the tech," I say automatically. He pulls out a null sheet and extravagantly, as if putting down a picnic blanket, spreads it over the table with a small, sardonic flick. His left wrist is leading his right, as if one isn't as fast. I tilt my head, and I see overlays. Dates, times. When his hand was replaced.

"Sit," he says again. His eyes are ice against my own gaze, the blue stark and clear against his skin.

"Sir," I say, snapping him a salute. He doesn't rise to the bait. I look around. On the walls, like luminol tattoos are all of the interrogations that will be here, past and present. Dizzying, I try to read a few before giving in.

"So, here's what I know. You're not a clone," I incline my head. "You're not a cop," I incline my head, more hesitantly this time, "in fact, you're not anything in the judicial system," My head incline is more like raising my chin again. Straightening my back, I pull down the edges of the skirt I am regretting wearing. He sits down across from me, chair turned 180 degrees, leaning on the edge of the back.

"I know you, but I don't know why," he said, softer.

"Me? I'm Kai. I'm nobody," I say.

"That's a lie," he replies mildly. "Let's start with the easy stuff. Name?"

"Kai. D Kai Wilson-Viola," I reply.


I bite my lip. "Sabrann Curach and Lady Fayth C Reeves,"

"You live?"

"In a house."

"Most people do," Detective Peters says.

"Skip that one for now please?"

He frowns and moves to the next question.

"So what did you do on Sunday the eleventh?"

"Well," I say, looking at the table, trying not to think of the woman in the other room, wondering what news she'd had that made her cry. Wondering whose blood it was.

It's her husband's. His case is Elliot's ninth. That's the voice of my Muse. I push it back for now.

"I got up, had breakfast, got ready to go out,"


"Coffee meet for a project called the Nanowrimo,"

"I'm sorry, the what?" he says. His face is perplexed, creased.

"National Novel Writer's month,"

"You're a writer?" His voice reverberates slightly tinny in the room and I incline my head again. He's quick, isn't he?

"And then?"

"I came home and wrote some more."

He scribbles something, then says, "I have reason to believe that a serious crime was committed today," I swallow hard. "So what about the last 24 hours?"

"Packed my kids off to school," he ticks something, "Saw my partner off to work," again his hand moves on the list, "opened some mail."


"Went to the pub, for a write in." I said. He stopped, tilting his head.

"Seriously?" His eyebrows are up.


"No other work?"

"Nope. Editing is quiet, the chatrooms are busy, I'm writing a lot," I'm less repentant now, my chin rising.

"Will I have read anything of yours?"

"Very much doubt it," I respond, before continuing, "but you might before Christmas. I've got a couple of short stories up under my pen names,"

He nods, and continues to write on the clipboard.

Finally, he looks back at me and says, "Well, that will be all then," before gesturing to the door.

"If I may ask, what was the crime?"

"You may ask, but I'm not telling you. You can work it out when you get here in the next book," Dammit…

"And Happy Birthday," he adds, just as I pull the handle and close the door behind me.

D Kai Wilson-Viola spends a lot of time with Elliot, and the merry band of detectives in that station, so it's no wonder he recognised her. Her first book, Glass Block is due out imminently, while her other pen names have short stories out.

She's midway (nearly) thought her 10th Nanowrimo, and Monday the 12th of November (when this was posted) was her birthday.

You can find her at - or where she loves to hang out and talk books.
 Find Glass Block at Goodreads

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.

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It's Monday! I Might Read


Check out "Blogging - a Lonely Hobby?" my monthly post at The Indie Exchange.

I started a new feature yesterday - The Sunday Sale Page - to highlight free and discounted books. The sales are going on all week. If you are an author who would like their book included email me with the Title, Buy Link, and Coupon Code (if applicable). If it's a discount, please indicate the percentage.

You will see not much reading got done this week, which is killing me because the books are really good. But I've taken on a few clients for GWR Publicity and they are keeping me busy. I've started a Facebook Group for bloggers interested in working with my authors. I would love to have you join.

Currently, I'm working on general publicity with Terri Morgan, author of Playing the Genetic Lottery (learn more here). If you would like to review the book or host Terri on your blog, please let me know.

I'm also organizing a new middle grades tour for Jeff Gunhus, author of Jack Templar Monster Hunter. You can learn more about the book and sign up for the tour here.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It can be a stressful time for a writer, but also a super productive time as there is a lot of encouragement and activities. To limit the stress and to include bloggers, The IndieExchange is hosting NaNoTIEMo. Each week there is a check-in and mini-challenge, plus a book giveaway.

A couple of Christmas themed blog hops are coming up if you are interested:

All Pets Want for Christmas hosted by Vickie Johnstone and David Brown on Dec. 8
Meet the Family Holiday Hop hosted by Terri Giuliano Long Dec. 10 -13


Before Robert Littell vaulted onto the bestseller lists with The Company, The Amateur, which has been long out of print, established him as a contemporary master of the espionage thriller. In this sleek and murderous novel, Charlie Heller is an ace cryptographer for the CIA, a quiet man in a quiet back-office job. But when his fiancée is murdered by terrorists and the Agency decides not to pursue her killers, Heller takes matters into his own hands. The fact that he is an amateur makes him all the more dangerous. Mind-blowing in its intelligence, pulse-pounding in its suspense, The Amateur is a stunner. From

Find The Amateur at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.


Tucker Lee Anderson’s boss needs him to check out a story over on the beachside. Not earth- shattering, it’s more of a follow up to the Ed Ventara case, he says. When Anderson, a staff reporter for a local Southern newspaper hears this, a red light goes off in his head. But wait, wasn’t Ventura the serial killer convicted of killing five children, even though they only found four bodies a few years back? Following the discovery of a child’s skeleton, what at first appears to be a straightforward case of suspected murder is anything but, when Anderson finds himself not only investigating the case, but also dabbling in ancestral research.

This laid-back divorced dad’s ordinary life soon takes a turn when in the process, he soon discovers family ties that bind him to both the present and the past—but what does this have to do with the child? Set in the Central Florida community of Brevard County, Beneath the Dune features an interesting cast of characters, and what Anderson uncovers is bound to shock a few upper class residents to the core. Steeped in suspense and blended with humor, the book has all the ingredients necessary for the making of mystery that is sure to hold you in its grip to the very end. From
 Find Beneath the Dune at Goodreads, IndieBound, Amazon.

Clinical psychologist Tony Hill has had a good run. He and police detective Carol Jordan have put away scores of dangerous criminals and have a clearance rate that colleagues envy or resent. But there is one serial killer who has shaped and defined their careers, a person whose evil surpasses all others: Jacko Vance, an ex-celebrity and sociopath whose brilliance and utter lack of remorse have never left Tony’s mind in the ten years Vance has been locked up. Now Jacko has broken out of prison and, with a mind even more twisted and cunning than before, he is focused on wreaking revenge on Tony and Carol for the years he has spent in prison. They don’t know when Jacko will strike, or where. All they know is that he will cause them to feel fear like they’ve never known. From
Find The Retribution 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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November 11, 2012

Sunday Sales #1

I have a new feature! Each week, I will be listing books that are free or discounted, including coupon codes. If you haven't used Smashwords before, you can download an ebook in just about any format.


Zoe Guire just talked to an elephant. Well, technically speaking, the elephant spoke to her, but either way it was weird and, as a rule, Zoe doesn't do weird. Except the thing is, when Zoe goes along on her mom's business trip to India, things get very weird, very quickly. Soon after she arrives, Zoe finds herself tagging alongside a kid named Zak, lost in a crazy city, with no money and no way home.

And those are the least of Zoe's troubles. Because if she's to believe the scary-looking snake charmer guy sitting in the corner, she and Zak have been chosen -- chosen to protect some kind of mythical animal called the Ghost Leopard from who knows what.
Now, the further they get into the mountains, the more crazily impossible things get. Carpets fly and statues talk and if either Zoe or Zak want to make it back to their parents, or the sixth grade, or anything even close to normal, they're going to have to make some new friends, learn some new tricks, and listen, really listen to that talking elephant. Because if they don't, nothing will ever be the same again. From

Get 25% OFF the paperback through at Createspace, use coupon code CQ3XXT28 (Good through Dec. 31)

A Chinese satellite is on crash course with Earth.
It contains enough plutonium to irradiate a large city.
And that's the good news...

In the tradition of Tom Clancy, Michael Crichton, and Robert Ludlum, comes a new hero.

Michael Chase is a twenty-six year old backpacker, a recent college grad, an amateur. He flew to Hong Kong to find his missing father. Four hours later, he's running for his life. The Chinese Secret Police want him dead. The Conspiracy wants him dead. And the one person who he thinks is on his side, may want him dead too. If Michael is going to live, he'll need to find a hidden piece of Nazi technology lost since World War II. And he'll have to do it before anyone else. Because if he doesn't, a little plutonium is going to be the least of his problems. From
Get 25% OFF the paperback at Createspace, use coupon code J5B45PUZ (Good through Dec. 31) 

It was time. After penning ten popular sword-and-sorcery novels, Brandon Alexander Davis was ready to move on. Ready to stop hiding in his fictional world. Ready to start living a real life. There was just one problem: as he plotted the noble death of Serilda D'Lar, his fictional creation appeared in his study, complete with sword, skimpy leather outfit, indomitable will--and a quest. Was she nothing more than a crazy fan, or had Brandon finally cracked? This warrior woman whom he knew so well, so strong yet vulnerable, was both fantasy and reality. She was an invitation to rediscover all he once knew--that life is an incredible, magical journey and, for love, any man can be a hero. From

Get the ebook FREE at Smashwords with coupon code: QE36V (Valid Nov. 11 - 17)

A short holiday story. 2772 Words.

A sad and lonely little girl discovers a way to make all her dreams of home and family come true.
Get the ebook FREE at Smashwords using coupon code: YU35C (Valid Nov. 11 - 17)